The New River Valley is losing the Megabus service on January 10, 2018. Megabus currently connects Washington, DC to Christiansburg to Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee. This locally popular service provided two north-bound and two south-bound trips daily. While ridership met expectations for our region, ridership was not high enough in Washington or Tennessee.
As the Megabus service comes to a close, new opportunities for connections to points north are available. If you do not enjoy driving your own personal vehicle on I-81, take the train or take the bus! In October 2017, passenger rail service returned to Roanoke and a new bus service, the Virginia Breeze, began in December 2017. While neither provides the direct DC shuttle offered by Megabus, both options provide an alternative to traveling long distances on the interstate system.
A New River connection (via Smart Way bus) to the Amtrak service in Roanoke is available Monday – Friday at 5:40 am and Saturday – Sunday at 7:45 am. Travelers can expect to arrive in Charlottesville in about two-and-a-half hours or DC in five hours. A recent article in the Roanoke Times indicated that ridership has averaged about 92 boardings each day through the end of November. The ridership target is 38,000 boardings/alightings for the first twelve months of service – equating to 52 boardings and 52 alightings (50/50 split scenario) for a total of 104 passengers daily. If ridership continues at this level the service will well exceed initial targets.
The Virginia Breeze is a new intercity bus service connecting Blacksburg and Christiansburg to several stops in the Shenandoah Valley, Northern Virginia, and DC. The service departs the Squires Student Center in Blacksburg at 8:00 am and the Falling Branch Park & Ride in Christiansburg at 8:25 am. Travelers can expect to arrive in Staunton in two-and-a-half hours and DC in six-and-a-half hours. While it is too soon to tell how the new service is performing, the later start time might make this service more appealing for some. The Virginia Breeze also provides a stop at the Dulles International Airport.
Both Amtrak and the Virginia Breeze create new travel options for the New River Valley. Learn more about the Amtrak service here: www.roanoke.com/news/local/roanoke/a-guide-to-using-amtrak-in-roanoke/article_b86eb15c-bb3f-11e7-86d3-27b4ed318797.html. Learn more about the Virginia Breeze here: catchthevabreeze.com/
For further information, please contact Elijah Sharp ([email protected]), 540-639-9313, ext. 210.