Monday, June 27, 2011

Train-Bus Connection for Roanoke-Lynchburg Ready Soon

Smart Way Connector, the much-anticipated shuttle-bus service between Roanoke and Lynchburg, debuts July 19, further enhancing transportation options in southwest and central Virginia while providing an affordable option to catch Amtrak trains to Washington, D.C., and beyond.

The 16-seat Smart Way Connector shuttle will operate twice daily from Roanoke to Lynchburg, with a stop in Bedford, timed to connect with Amtrak service. The shuttle bus also connects the New River Valley with stops in Salem, Christiansburg and Blacksburg on Fridays and weekends.

On other days NRV travelers can use existing 57-seat Smart Way bus service to travel to Roanoke with the opportunity to transfer to the Smart Way Connector.

One-way fares are $4. Free parking is available at park-and-ride lots and the Roanoke Civic Center Lot C, where the shuttle departs. Schedules are synched to meet arriving and departing trains in Lynchburg. With this new service, passengers can travel from Blacksburg to Lynchburg on one bus system, opening new options for rail travel while helping to boost tourism, business and educational ties between the communities.

“The Smart Way Connector is as symbolic as it is convenient,” says Roanoke Mayor David Bowers. “First, this is an important first step in demonstrating to Amtrak the demand for passenger rail service to Roanoke. And as communities in our region work more closely together across geographic boundaries, it’s the first time people can travel via public transportation for any reason from any bus stop to, from and within the three regions.”

The service is a result of $256,000 in grant funding from the Federal Transit Administration and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, and a $150,000 grant from the General Assembly secured by state Sen. John Edwards.

The Smart Way Connector departs from the Roanoke Civic Center Mondays-Thursdays at 5:50 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 5:45 a.m. and 7:20 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 8 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. It departs Virginia Tech Fridays at 4:35 a.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 6:40 a.m.

Smart Way Connector stops are:
  • Blacksburg (Virginia Tech Squires Student Center)
  • Christiansburg (Exit 118A park and ride)
  • Salem (Exit 140 park and ride)
  • Roanoke Civic Center
  • Bedford Welcome Center
  • Lynchburg Amtrak train station
For additional schedule details, call (540) 982-2222 or visit http://www.smartwaybus.com/.

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