Rider Info

Are you a new rider to Virginia Railway Express?


VRE Rider's Guide

Are you a new or returning rider to Virginia Railway Express  The information below is designed to assist you in planning your trip. Read through this information and if you still have questions, please feel free contact our office at 703-684-1001 or email us at

Pick Your Station

First, check out our System Map and pick the stations you wish to travel to and from. If your destination is not directly next to a station, keep in mind that we connect with both metrorail and metrobus at five locations. To look at the amenities offered, click the station name to tell you not only how to get there, but what "extras" are available. 

What Times Do the Trains Run?

  • The latest train schedules were effective as of October 18th, 2021. Please use schedule information reflecting this date.

Since we are a commuter rail system, we run northbound into DC in the morning and southbound in the afternoon and evening. Specific departure times can be found by visiting the schedule page on our website or by emailing to request a pocket schedule to be sent to you.

Be aware that the time on the schedule is time the train will depart the station, be sure to be on the platform with your ticket validated and ready to board prior to the departure time. We suggest that you be on the platform with your ticket validated at least 5 minutes prior to the train’s departure time.

How Do I Buy a Ticket and What will it Cost?

Now that you have chosen your station and you know which ticket type you want, the next step is purchasing the ticket.

The easiest way to determine your fare and purchase a ticket is with VRE Mobile. VRE Mobile accepts credit cards and transit benefits. Here's how to use VRE Mobile:

  1. Download VRE Mobile from iTunes or Google Play, then create an account
  2. Select Fare – choose which line you want to ride, your stations and fare type, and then press “Checkout”
  3. Pay – enter your credit card, debit card and/or SmartBenefits account number (if paying with SmartBenefits, make sure you allocate your funds to VRE Mobile first)
  4. Validate & Show Ticket – before boarding your train, select “My Tickets” from the VRE Mobile menu, choose the ticket you want to use, and tap “Use Ticket” – show this screen when the conductor asks to see your ticket.

EMPLOYER PAGE FOR SMARTBENEFITS - These two pages will help employers walk their employees through the step by step benefits allocation process and how to have those benefits allocated to the VRE mobile app.

1. Allocating SmartBenefits

2. Linking SmartBenefits to VRE Mobile

You may

You may also purchase a paper ticket from one of our platform Ticket Vending Machines using a debit or credit card. Or, you may purchase from one of our vendors with check, cash, Smart Benefits, or a credit/debit card. Keep in mind that tickets are NOT sold on the trains.

How Much Will a Ticket Cost?

To determine the price of your ticket, you must first identify the zones in which your originating and destination stations are located. This zone pairing will determine your fare. There are 8 different ticket options.

Again, find your origination zone and your destination zone to find your fare.

How do I Validate my Paper Ticket?

The ticket vending machines at each platform are also validators. If it is your first time purchasing the ticket (Single Ride, Ten Ride or Seven Day Pass) the Ticket Vending Machine will prompt you to validate for immediate use. If you are boarding, select “yes” and the ticket will print with the validation on the face of the ticket. If you are purchasing the ticket for future use, select “no”. When you are ready to use your ticket insert the end of your ticket with the arrows in the validator and it will time-stamp the ticket.

You MUST validate your ticket for each ride, for example:

  • On a Ten Ride ticket you should validate once in the a.m. and once in the p.m.
  • For 31-Day, Seven-Day or a Day Pass validate once, the TVM will print the expiration date and time in large print on the face of the ticket.
  • If you purchased a Transit Link Card (TLC) or a Monthly ticket you validate it simply by signing it.
  • Single ride tickets and Ten Ride tickets can only be validated approximately 1 hour prior to boarding your train.

If you have an issue validating your ticket, talk to the Conductor PRIOR to boarding your train. Riding without a validated ticket can result in a citation.

It's Time to Ride - What Do I Have to Know?

Be sure to arrive at the station early, so that you have time to park, purchase your ticket (if you need to), and validate your ticket. Riders need to be on the platform and ready to board before the train arrives.

When the train arrives, you simply board and insert your validated ticket in the clip on top of the seat in front of you. A conductor will come by to check it. If you want, let the conductor know this is your first ride. He or she will be sure to help you with any questions or concerns you might have. (For a close look at a platform as well as both upper and lower levels of a railcar, click here to open a full-screen version of our interactive tour).

Prior to each station stop there will be an announcement indicating the station. When you arrive at your destination, be sure to pick up your ticket and all of your belongings. If you do happen to leave something on the train, fill out a lost item report here, and we will contact you when the item has been found.

A Few Things That You Should Keep in Mind

  • Effective immediately, VRE passengers and crew members will no longer be required to wear a mask onboard the train.

    Masks are optional and VRE will continue to support those passengers and crew members who wish to wear a mask.

    We would like to thank everyone for their cooperation while the mask mandate was in effect. 

  • VRE does not operate on weekends.
  • VRE does not operate on Federal Holidays. Amtrak trains may be available for some holidays; see the Amtrak page for more details. Please visit the operations calendar page for detailed information on limited and/or no service dates.
  • Delays do happen. To find out if your train is delayed, sign up for our e-news/text service, Train Talk, to get the latest information about VRE, visit "Train Status" on our website.
  • Have an emergency and need to get home in the middle of the day? Commuter Connections offers a Guaranteed Ride Home Program that will get you home in case of a medical or other emergency for you or your family, or unscheduled overtime.
  • Safety is a priority at VRE. To learn more about VRE's culture of safety, watch the video below:

Contact VRE

If you need more information, please contact us by email at or call us at 703-684-1001.