by Keara Mehlert, Business Development Manager, Arlington Transportation Partners
This year, 3 different types of transit service either opened or expanded in Arlington County, offering new ways for residents, employees and visitors to get around.
The Silver Line, which opened at the end of July, has provided an important connection between the Tysons Corner/Reston area and Arlington, DC and Maryland. The ART 43 bus route opened this past March, and offers express bus service during rush hour between Courthouse, Rosslyn and Crystal City. Finally, Capital Bikeshare continues to grow in Arlington and around the DC region, offering more stations and bikes for users seeking a fast and convenient one-way trip option.
As mentioned in recent news, the Silver Line has already seen significant ridership within the 2.5 months since opening to the public. The new Metrorail service is already at 60% of the projected ridership for the end of the first year, with an average of 15,000 riders boarding each weekday throughout the 5 new stations. While the majority of riders have come from the Orange Line, Metro says about 6,000 new riders have started using the Metrorail system due to the new line.
A recent blog post from PlanItMetro looks at recent ridership data to show where Silver Line riders are actually headed. While a little over half of riders head into DC, nearly 37% of riders stay in Virginia, particularly Arlington. In fact, Ballston is the 3rd most popular destination station for Silver Line riders, after the Farragut West and McPherson Square stations. According to PlanItMetro’s diagram, between 1,300 and 3,300 Silver Line riders are traveling to stations in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor each day. Metro projects ridership to increase over the next year, as new residential communities in the Tysons area open up and businesses continue to flock to more urban office markets.
While the Silver Line has many benefits for those who work or live in Arlington, the Blue Line between Rosslyn and Crystal City has seen a reduction in trains due to capacity restraints in the tunnel under the Potomac River. The ART 43 was introduced as an alternative for Blue Line riders, with buses serving a limited number of stops every 10 minutes between Crystal City, Rosslyn and Courthouse during the morning and afternoon rush hours. The route also gives riders a 1-seat ride option, instead of having to switch Metrorail lines at Rosslyn.
According to Steve Yaffe, ART’s Transit Operations Manager, the ART 43 has seen ridership steadily increase since opening, with nearly 300 riders per day taking advantage of the service. In addition, ART has seen numerous requests for more frequent and expanded service on the 43 route.
Capital Bikeshare continues to grow in popularity throughout the DC Metro region with 337 total stations in the system and over 26,000 annual members.
In the past year, Arlington has grown to 74 total stations and over 500 bikes, with an increased presence in the Columbia Pike area as well as new stations in Crystal City, Rosslyn and Ballston. According to Arlington County’s FY2014 Summary Report on Capital Bikeshare, the number of annual members in Arlington increased 31% from the previous year, and the number of trips that started in the County increased 24%. These trips accounted for nearly 379,000 miles traveled on Capital Bikeshare in the past year – clearly an important transportation option for residents, employees and visitors in Arlington! Arlington recently released plans for expansion of Capital Bikeshare within the County for the next 6 years, with a total of 137 stations by 2021.
These transportation options are an important part of Arlington County’s transportation network and will continue to grow as more residents, jobs and tourism flow into the County. Whether you are an employer or property manager, encouraging the use of nearby transportation options can make it easier for your employees and tenants to get to work, home and other destinations.
Free Services From Arlington Transportation Partners
If you’re looking for updated maps of the Silver Line, new bus routes for ART 43 or just need some additional information on Capital Bikeshare – Arlington Transportation Partners can help! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll deliver free maps to your business, residence or property. It’s free. Seriously.
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Capital Bikeshare Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/kittner.com