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Martz change raises concerns
Commuter bus schedules changing in the Fredericksburg area

 Commuters wait to board the bus at the Staffordborough Boulevard lot off State Route 610 in North Stafford.
SUZANNE CARR ROSSI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 6/29/2009

By KELLY HANNON

Mary Ann Emely, 61, has perfected her commute.

Emely boards the 6:50 a.m. Martz Virginia commuter bus at the Staffordborough Boulevard commuter lot.

She disembarks at 8 a.m. at the intersection of 15th and K streets in Washington.

In the evening, she rides buses home that depart between 5 and 7 p.m. Flexibility is important to her, since she is a supervisor at a nonprofit association.

The bus is direct. There is no transferring to Metro once she's in the city, and no long drives. "The bus was the most convenient solution because the commuter lot is closer to my home than the train station," Emely said.

Then Martz Virginia announced it was eliminating two morning bus runs, including Emely's preferred 6:50 a.m. one.

This week will be the last time Martz's DC 9 and DC 12 buses run in the morning. The buses made the later morning pick-ups, collecting passengers in North Stafford at 6:50 and 7:10, and slightly earlier at lots on Courthouse Road and State Route 3 in Spotsylvania County and U.S. 17 in Stafford.

The change stunned several dozen commuters who had built their lives around the later pickups.

"I'm a contractor for the government and I cannot be to work until 8 o'clock in the morning. My building does not open until then," said Vicki Dotson, 49, of Stafford, who works in the Foggy Bottom area of Washington. She drove by herself for 21 years until she switched employers and lost a parking space. She has been riding Martz for two years.

"I don't know what I'm going to do. Last resort is to take the earlier bus and stand outside my building for 40 minutes," she said

Earlier buses are more popular, and consequently more crowded, said Tony Bell, 47, of Stafford. "It's not enough space to hold all these people," Bell said, gesturing to people waiting in line for the DC 9 bus on a Tuesday morning.

Martz Virginia/National Coach Trailways regional general manager David Snyder could not be reached for comment. But a message to riders posted on the company Web site, martzgroupva .com, said the routes were dropped for economic and ridership reasons.


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Searching for a new carpool, vanpool, bus or train?

GWRideConnect is a free ride-matching service for Fredericksburg-area residents. Go to gwride connect.org to view carpool and vanpool vacancies, or call 540/373-POOL.

GWRideConnect keeps a database of travel options to a variety of work destinations.

If a bus schedule no longer works for area residents, they may consider a vanpool, said Diana Utz, GWRideConnect director. The service lists more than 400 vanpools in its directory.