The Silver Line’s opening should make it more convenient for Metro riders to get to Dulles, but not by much.
The long-delayed first phase of the line, which opened to riders for the first time on July 26, also changed the calculus for Dulles travelers looking for a good way to get to the airport via public transportation. Though a bus line exists, DC’s Metro riders have often opted to take the Metro to West Falls Church, where Washington Flyer buses operated to and from the airport every 30 minutes on weekdays. That service cost $10 one way or $18 for a round-trip, and required the bus to travel about 17 miles to the airport. Without traffic, that trip takes about 22 minutes.
That service has been renamed, rebranded and moved to the westernmost stop on the Silver Line, Wiehle-Reston East, which is about 7 miles from the airport along the quick Dulles Access Road. The Silver Line Express, the new name for the bus shuttle service, will now complete the journey for travelers for $5 each way. That trip, on new, WiFi-equipped buses, can take as little as 7 minutes, and will depart the airport and the station every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 20 minutes at off-peak times.
But the trip may not make much of a difference for some commuters.
On a hypothetical trip from Metro Center to Dulles leaving at 12:30 p.m. on a weekday, the new Silver Line trip would shave off about 10 minutes from the total trip. These times are approximate and calculated with the help of Google Maps’ built-in timetables:
West Falls Church Station to Dulles
- 12:31 p.m.: Leave Metro Center
- 12:55 p.m.: Arrive West Falls Church
- 1:15 p.m.: Depart West Falls Church via Washington Flyer
- 1:37 p.m.: Arrive Dulles
Wiehle-Reston East to Dulles
- 12:29 p.m.: Leave Metro Center
- 1:13 p.m.: Arrive Wiehle-Reston East
- 1:20 p.m.: Depart Wiehle-Reston East via Silver Line Express
- 1:27 p.m.: Arrive Dulles
While this is a largely hypothetical scenario, it gives an idea of the pros and cons of the new arrangement. It took less time for the DC-based commuter to get to West Falls Church than Wiehle-Reston, but because the new shuttle comes more often to Wiehle-Reston and is much closer to Dulles, the Silver Line Express shaves off a lot of unpredictability and potential waiting around in the route.
But the best scenario of all will be when Phase Two of the Silver Line is completed. Estimated delivery date of those final 11 miles of track? 2018.
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/silver_line_improves_metro_commute_to_dulles_a_little/8791
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