Virginia Breeze bus

The Virginia Department of Public Rail and Transport launched a federally subsidized bus service serving I-81 college towns and Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. on Dec. 1, 2017.

Just in time for the holiday breaks, Northern Virginia students enrolled at Virginia Tech, JMU, VMI and Washington and Lee University now have a new way to get home.

Virginia Breeze, a new intercity bus service along the Interstate 66 and Interstate 81 corridors, launched Dec. 1 through a partnership between Megabus, a private bus service, and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

The new, federally-subsidized bus line is intended to improve transportation options for rural Virginians and decrease traffic on congested I-81 and I-66. It also serves to bridge the gap between these communities and the national bus network, according to a DRPT press release.

The Virginia Breeze improves mobility choices for underserved communities by offering an alternative to driving along the congested Interstate 81 and 66 corridors, which need travel options,” said DRPT Director Jennifer Mitchell said in a press release. “Intercity bus travel gets people out of cars and where they want to go affordably, comfortably and reliably.”

The buses are operated by Dillion’s, a Coach USA company, which also runs Megabus. Each 55-seat bus will have free Wi-Fi, power outlets, restrooms and air conditioning.

The buses originate daily from both Blacksburg, the home of Virginia Tech, and Union Station in Washington, D.C.

From Virginia Tech, the Virginia Breeze bus leaves the Squires Student Center at 8 a.m. daily and arrives at Dulles (curb 2E) at 1:30 p.m. and Union Station at 2:30 p.m. The return trip leaves Union Station at 9:30 a.m. daily and pulls up to Squires at 3:40 p.m. The one-way fare between Virginia Tech and Dulles or D.C. is about $50.

From JMU, the bus departs from the Godwin Transit Center at 11:15 a.m. daily and arrives at Dulles Airport at 1:30 p.m. and Union Station at 2:30 p.m. On the return trip from Union Station (leaving at 9:30 a.m.), the bus pulls up to Dulles at 10:35 a.m. and arrives in Harrisonburg at 12:40 p.m. Fares to and from JMU start at about $15.

From Lexington, home of VMI and Washington and Lee, the bus leaves from a Food Lion at Stonewall Square shopping center, near I-81, at 9:45 a.m. daily and arrives at Dulles or Union Station at 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., respectively. On the return trip, the bus arrives in Lexington at 2 p.m. Fares to and from Lexington start are about $50.

The bus also stops in Christiansburg, Staunton, Front Royal and Arlington along the way.

There are plans to add more stops and expand the service if the Virginia Breeze proves to be popular, according to a Virginia Tech press release.

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