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Merrifield self-driving shuttle’s low ridership linked to glitches, Covid

The autonomous Relay shuttle in Merrifield has had lower-than-expected ridership, and it’s not entirely because of COVID-19 limitations.

Since its launch in October 2020 through February 2022, the vehicle has been out of service half the time, mostly due to technical glitches.

“Primary reasons for partial or no service days are due to hardware and software maintenance issues (57%), systems testing (24%), and inclement weather conditions (19%). Relay cannot operate in moderate to heavy precipitation,” Fairfax County staff said in a budget question-and-answer response released April 14.

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