By Tim Cherry, Belvoir EagleSeptember 12, 2011
Fort Belvoir Garrison command and officials from Fairfax County rode the maiden voyage of the Eagle Express, Fairfax Connector's 335 bus route that is a direct travel connection from Franconia-Springfield Metro Station to Belvoir.
"We're really excited about this bus service and the great things it's going to do for our fort," said Col. John Strycula, Fort Belvoir garrison commander, speaking to Belvoir and Fairfax County representatives inside the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital after the maiden voyage Aug 31.
The route runs during rush hours in the morning and afternoon and cost the regional express fare prices of $3.65 with a SmarTrip card or $3.85 with cash.
Passengers need to have a government-issued photo ID to ride this bus onto the military base.
The Eagle Express began operations Tuesday.
The bus, which enters Belvoir through Telegraph Gate, stops at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital; John Kingman Road; Jackson Loop; 12th Street and Gorgas Road near the commissary.
The new, fuel-efficient Fairfax Connector vehicle fits 39 seated and 36 standees for a total of 75 passengers.
Strycula said the Eagle Express route will provide incoming BRAC personnel and existing personnel a viable, efficient, commuting option to the installation.
He said the bus will also give people living in Belvoir a commuting option to the Metro.
Currently, there no park-and-ride locations near the bus's stops. People who live in Belvoir will have to walk or get a ride to a stop to access the bus.
The Eagle Express adds to the list of transportation alternatives offered by Belvoir and Fairfax County in response to the net increase of 3,400 personnel from BRAC.
The garrison command encourages personnel to use alternate viable forms of commuting to work such as biking, car and van pools.
There has also been significant road reconstruction to support the increase in traffic. Strycula stressed patience as roadwork nears completion and he encouraged people to rideshare to work when feasible.
"We're trying to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles on post," Strycula said.
Two months of planning went into getting the Eagle Express up and running.
Laura Miller, Fairfax County BRAC coordinator, said the installation was extremely helpful in expediting the permits and security clearance for the bus and drivers.
"We couldn't have done it without the help of Fort Belvoir," Miller said.
The Eagle Express is one several changes to the Fairfax County Connector transit service.
Route and schedule changes include modifications to routes 159, 171 and 305; elimination of Route 307 (see new Route 371); increased service to Route 310; implementation of new Route 371; and renumbering Route 380D as Route 395.
Routes 331 and 332 have been restructured and renumbered to 333 and 334 and will carry passengers from the Franconia-Springfield VRE and Metro stations, respectively. The routes, which will be weekday all day services starting Sept. 6, will stop at the Defense Logistics Agency near Kingman Gate.
Miller said Fairfax County and Belvoir representatives have been out at Metro and VRE stations to help commuters make the best decision when picking their route to work.
Belvoir personnel interested in learning more about suitable commuting options and the government subsidy programs that can help pay for commuting cost are encouraged to attend the Sept. 13 commuter fair in the community center.
Information on Belvoir's commuting options is available at www.belvoir.army.mil/rideshare/
Information on Fairfax's County's bus service is available at www.fairfaxconnector.com.