One of the topics discussed over the years at the Regional Transit Partnership has been planning for new service in the Staunton area and the Charlottesville area. The Afton Express launched on September 1, 2021 and the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission recently issued an annual report for the first 16 months of service.
“Despite launching the service in the midst of a global pandemic when many commuters were working from home, a small group of dedicated riders showed up and have continued riding ever since,” reads the executive summary of the report. “This group of passengers grows each month.”
In all, 12,261 people used the service from September 2021 to the end of last year. On the western side of the mountain. the most popular pick-up spots are the Waynesboro Park and Ride Lot and the Staunton Mall. On the eastern side, Central Grounds Garage and the UVA West Hospital Complex.
Fares are $3 one way, or $25 for ten rides.
The report also explains how service times were adjusted to reflect an increase in traffic as the pandemic continued to recede last spring. The report also looks ahead to the future with an expansion of service as well as a conversion from start-up funds for a demonstration to recurring funding through the section 5311 formula. Afton Express is part of the BRITE service and the idea is this would become another of their regular routes.
“The expansion will add a third bus into the rotation to increase frequency of service. With additional stop times in Charlottesville and adding a fifth trip in the evening, Afton Express will be able to serve more commuters with schedules outside of the traditional 9:00 am to 5:00 pm work hours.”
Interested in checking out the service? They started a new schedule on Monday. Take a look and let me and others know what you think.
Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the February 14, 2023 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.