VRE working to make cars and platforms pandemic safe
As the national capital region enters phase one of reopening and the Virginia Railway Express’ (VRE) ridership begins a slow but steady ascent, the commuter rail service is taking additional precautions to ensure the health and safety of its passengers and train crews. VRE is working to make social distancing on its platforms and trains as simple as possible, providing hand sanitizer, and promoting VRE Mobile as an alternative to ticket vending machines.
Throughout June, VRE will install platform decals to support social distancing. Onboard graphics will indicate where passengers should sit and stand in railcars. Decals will guide riders to window seats in every other row to ensure proper distancing.
Hand sanitizer dispensers will soon be available on trains and at stations. Passengers will find them on platforms, in station waiting rooms, and near the priority seating on trains. VRE will continue to remind riders of the importance of good hand hygiene through social media and signage on trains and at stations. Face coverings remain mandatory under the Governor’s recent executive order.
While ticket vending machines at VRE stations are cleaned twice daily, the VRE Mobile app is an ideal option for riders who prefer not to use the machines. VRE Mobile, which supports SmartBenefits, makes it easy to purchase, validate and display tickets on a smartphone. Individual assistance setting up a VRE Mobile account is available.
VRE will continue its enhanced cleaning protocols. Since March, VRE trains have been cleaned and disinfected after both morning and evening service.
As ridership grows, VRE can lengthen and add trains to maintain social distancing. The rail system currently is operating a reduced-service “S” schedule with four trains running northbound in the morning and southbound in the evening on both the Fredericksburg and Manassas lines. VRE is able to operate a total of 32 daily trains.
“The safety of our riders remains VRE’s top priority,” said Acting CEO Rich Dalton. “The precautions we are taking are designed to protect the health of our riders. We look forward to welcoming back riders in the safest and healthiest way possible.”
The 12th largest commuter rail service in the U.S., VRE is a transportation partnership of the Northern Virginia and the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commissions. VRE’s mission is to provide safe, cost effective, accessible, reliable, convenient, and customer responsive commuter-oriented passenger rail service. The 4.5 million rides the railroad provides annually remove some 100 million vehicle miles from Northern Virginia’s interstates. Learn more at www.vre.org.