The Coronavirus pandemic and mass teleworking caused I-95 to be empty for several months with easy commutes for those who had to get out. With more people returning to work, the roads are becoming more crowded again. Stafford County is working with its transportation partner, the Virginia Railway Express (VRE), to safely encourage residents to return to mass transit. VRE has taken comprehensive steps to ensure its riders' health and safety and offers a less stressful commute north.
These measures include an enhanced cleaning regimen, installing social-distancing decals and hand-sanitizer dispensers on rail cars and platforms, and a facial covering requirement. To ensure social distancing, decals guide riders to window seats in every other row. Only 45 of 130 seats in any rail car are available to passengers. Currently, no more than 50 percent of those open seats are in use. VRE has a special train utilization web page that helps riders find the train that best matches their social-distance comfort level. The rail system closely monitors ridership and adds and lengthens trains to allow for proper social distancing.
VRE cleans it trains twice a day. Overnight cleanings use acidic electrolyzed water, a potent yet non-irritating disinfectant. The acid produced by electrolyzing the water can be 100 times more powerful than the active ingredient in bleach. Produced on-demand, this environmentally friendly product uses only salt, tap water, and electricity.
VRE has two stations in Stafford County – Brooke and Leland Road, both on the Fredericksburg Line. Stafford invests over $2.4M currently as a VRE to provide options for commuters. The rail service operates on a reduced schedule, with nine trains running northbound weekday mornings and southbound in the evenings. VRE has a mobile app that allows for the contactless purchase and validation of tickets. Learn more at www.vre.org.