VRE's Plan B
When rail traffic stops unexpectedly, we have one plan B and that B stands for Buses.
When rail traffic stops unexpectedly, we have one plan B and that B stands for Buses. Unfortunately, buses are not always easy to get and the lead time to ask area transit services for any of their extra buses is about three hours. The simple reality is that we are a rail system and we do not run buses, we get buses from companies that aren't using them and during a rush hour buses simply may not be available.
When things are delayed on the railroad, we are very limited with what we can do. We can't turn our trains around and we can't take them off of the rails to go a different route. Logistically, it is impossible for us to have equipment stationed at various stations (buses or trains) waiting just in case something happens somewhere. One, we don't have the equipment, two, we don't have the storage, and three, we do not have the money. It simply is not a reality.
When things go wrong trains just sit. We work hard to correct whatever the problem happens to be and we do try to get buses if we can. Eventually trains will begin running again and we will eventually get you home. However, we do not always initially know how long service is going to be affected because there are several other authorities involved who make decisions and VRE has to defer to those decisions.
So now you know our plan B. We highly recommend that you as a rider also come up with your own plan B, one that works best for you.
We strongly encourage all of our passengers to look at a variety of different transit methods to see what might work best for them, should our trains be severely delayed. Is there a local or regional bus service, such as Fairfax Connector or OMNI, that could be helpful in the event of an emergency? Are there fellow passengers that you see in the parking lots every day with whom you could carpool with? Do you know where slug lines form near your home? Is there a group of “passenger pals” who you ride and chat with during every commute and with whom you could exchange contact information to ensure that getting home at night isn't a solo adventure? If we open up the Metro Option (riders can show their VRE tickets to Metro station personnel and ride Metro trains at no charge) can you ride it to an end point and then have someone pick you up? No matter what you decide will best work for your circumstances, the important thing is to put some serious thought in to it, do some research, and have a plan so that if something goes awry on the rails, you're prepared.
Our goal at VRE is to always provide the best and safest service we can possibly provide. But some things do remain out of our control, and while it doesn't happen very often, there are occasions when unforeseen circumstances simply don't allow us to have our trains run as well as we wish.