Issue 3, 2020

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Issue 3, 2020
Image: Daniel, Fredericksburg Line conductor 
RIDE is an award-winning magazine designed to provide service and community updates. In line with other VRE COVID-19 mitigation efforts, this issue of RIDE will be electronic-only. 

Letter from Acting CEO Rich Dalton


Virginia Passenger Rail Authority

A new legal entity, with the power to transform rail travel in the commonwealth, quietly came into existence on July 1. The new Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) will, once fully operational, own, manage and expand rail infrastructure for the public good and benefit of businesses across the region. Established by the General Assembly earlier this year, the VPRA will function much like Virginia’s Commercial Space Flight, Port and Airport authorities, which operate under the auspices of the Commonwealth Transportation Board.


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Enhanced Cleaning
We've always employed stringent cleaning procedures that exceed recommendations for public transportation. However, with the increased need to ensure a superior clean, we've added additional layers to our routine including a midday process and a powerful yet not-harmful disinfectant spray. 
Step-Up Suspension 
Amtrak is working to manage social distancing onboard their trains. Since VRE passengers utilizing the Amtrak Step-Up trains are not pre-booked, the Step-Up program is temporarily suspended. The duration of this suspension is unknown at this time. 
ridership Trends
Our Train Utilization webpage lists average ridership versus the maximum capacity to support social distancing. This page aids in determining which trains offer the greatest amount of distancing. 
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Union Station Expansion Public Hearing
In coordination with Amtrak, the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation is proposing to expand and modernize Washington Union Station to support rail service needs, facilitate intermodal transportation, and more. A telephonic public hearing will be held on July 14, 2020 from 11am to 1pm and 6pm to 8pm. Attendees can call: (866) 478-3399. 
VDOT's Virginia Commuter Survey
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), working with the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), is conducting a statewide survey to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on commuting behavior. The results will help the state identify opportunities and improvements during and after the pandemic.