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The Virginia Breeze continues to exceed expectations

Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation

As many people hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday, Virginians are taking advantage of the state’s inner-city bus service in record numbers.

In less than a year of service, a new line along I-81 from Bristol to D.C. is already exceeding expectations.

Virginia has had a bus line from Blacksburg to D.C. since 2017; providing service along I-81 to places like Lexington, Staunton and Harrisonburg.

“Really from day one we were very, very encouraged and quite frankly overwhelmed with the success of the service and it’s just continued to grow since then,” says Jennifer DeBruhl is director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. She says since 2020, when they added more lines connecting southside Virginia through Richmond, demand for the bus services - called the Virginia Breeze - has continued to grow.

“Like last weekend and then this week where you have peak travel around holiday periods, we’re able to add more buses to meet the demand," DeBruhl says. "So, we’ve run as many as 12 buses on The Valley Flyer route in one direction on one day just to meet the demand.”  

According to the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, more than 130,000 passengers have used the service since they began in 2017. One-way tickets range from $15 to $60.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Mallory Noe-Payne is a Radio IQ reporter based in Richmond.