Tysons, VA

Updated at 3:30 p.m. —  Routes 630, 640 and 650 will also not operate a full Sunday service today, the county announced this afternoon.

Fairfax Connector is continuing to cut its bus service today (Thursday) due to worker strikes, impacting commuters in the Tysons area.

The strike today came after negotiations for a contract extension didn’t pan out, along with a strike at a Metro garage in Lorton. Strikes are taking place until 5 p.m. today in Herndon, Newington and Fairfax.

In an announcement yesterday (Wednesday), Fairfax County said that Fairfax Connector routes will operate on a Sunday service today.

This morning (Thursday), the county said that five routes that were set to operate on a Sunday schedule won’t run today, including routes 423 and 721 in the Tysons area, and that several routes — 505, 983, 981, RIBS 2 and RIBS 4 — will not operate full Sunday service today.

That leaves Fairfax Connector with about one-third of its bus routes still in service today.

More from the county’s transportation department:

The contract between Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1764, the union representing the bus drivers and mechanics, and Transdev, Fairfax County’s contracted bus operator, expired on Nov. 30, 2019.

As a result of the job action, Transdev does not expect all drivers represented by ATU Local 1764 to report for work on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, and bus service will be operated by a limited number of available personnel. The decision was made to operate a Sunday schedule instead of a weekday schedule because that is believed to be the maximum level of reliable bus service that can be provided under the current circumstances.

Fairfax County officials are urging commuters to find other forms of transportation today.

People can contact Fairfax Connector customer service at 703-339-7200 for updates on service impacts, sign up for text or email alerts and follow Fairfax Connector on Twitter and Facebook.

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Thanksgiving is tomorrow (Thursday). For people in the Tysons area, some government facilities will be closed and public transit options will be operating on modified schedules.

Here’s a list of public services that will be affected by Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

County-wide

  • Fairfax County government offices will be closed Thanksgiving and Friday.
  • Public libraries run by Fairfax County will be closed Thanksgiving and Friday.
  • Fairfax County Public Schools are on break from today (Wednesday, Nov. 27) to Friday.
  • The Metrobus and Metrorail will run on holiday schedules for Thanksgiving and resume typical service on Friday.
  • The Fairfax Connector will operate Sunday service on Thanksgiving Day and holiday weekday service on Friday.
  • United States Postal Service offices will be closed on Thanksgiving.

Vienna

  • The Vienna Community Center will be open on Friday (Nov. 29) from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.
  • The Town of Vienna’s government offices will be closed Thanksgiving and Friday.

McLean

Falls Church

  • The City of Falls Church’s government offices and buildings, the community center and the Mary Riley Styles Public Library will be closed Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
  • Falls Church Community Center will be closed Thanksgiving and open from 8:30 a.m.-11 p.m. on Friday.

Speaking of closed offices, Tysons Reporter will be on a break as well on Thursday and Friday.

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strike against the contractor of Metrobus could affect service by the Fairfax Connector.

The union that represents Fairfax Connector drivers indicated that a strike is possible amid an ongoing labor dispute with Transdev, the operations contractor of the Fairfax Connector service.

The county has recently warned that ongoing negotiations for a new labor agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1764 could result in service delays. 

Here’s more from the county:

The Fairfax Connector operations contractor, Transdev, is currently negotiating a new labor agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1764, which represents Fairfax Connector drivers and mechanics. Even though Fairfax County is not a party to any labor negotiations between Transdev and labor unions, Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) has encouraged negotiations in good faith with the goal of completing a new contract prior to the expiration of the current one on Nov. 30, 2019.  

FCDOT strives to provide effective communications and excellent customer service to our customers. We understand that you depend on us to take you where you need to go with reliable service. If the current negotiations are not successful and labor action occurs, FCDOT will communicate with passengers about service impacts and travel alternatives. 

The county offers updated about Fairfax Connector service online. Residents can also sign up for email service alerts through the county’s BusTracker.

This story was written by Fatimah Waseem 

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Fairfax County is looking to scrutinize Fairfax Connector routes for riders around the Tysons area starting next year.

The county plans to start looking at five-year route optimization next year for riders in the Vienna and Merrifield areas next year, FCDOT officials told the Board of Supervisors during the Transportation Committee meeting today (Tuesday).

Then, the county would turn to Tysons, McLean and Falls Church areas in 2021.

Currently, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is seeking the public’s input on proposed service changes to routes in Herndon and Reston.

FCDOT is looking at Fairfax Connector routes because overall ridership is below targetted levels, according to the presentation. Additionally, shifting demographics and job opportunities have changed travel patterns.

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(Updated at 1 p.m.) Independence Day is coming up on Thursday (July 4). Check this list in case you are planning to visit government facilities around Fairfax County later this week — they might be closed.

County-wide

All county government offices, circuit courts and Fairfax County libraries will be closed on Thursday and Friday.

The I-66 Transfer Station (4618 West Ox Road) and the I-95 Landfill Complex (9850 Furnace Road) will be closed on Thursday. Residents with private collection will need to contact their haulers.

Vienna

Town of Vienna offices will be closed on Thursday, and refuse collection will take place on Friday.

The Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE) will have reduced hours on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The gym will not be open.

Falls Church

The Mary Riley Styles Public Library will be closed on Thursday and Friday.

The Community Center (223 Little Falls Street) will be closed on Thursday but open regular hours on Friday.

City Hall will be closed on Thursday and Friday.

McLean

The McLean Community Center will be closed on Thursday and Friday.

Other Closures

Metro trains and buses and the Fairfax Connector will be operating on a Saturday schedule on July 4. Large coolers and bicycles will not be allowed on the Metro trains after 2 p.m. Metro stations will be open from 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m.

The Department of Motor Vehicles will be closed on Thursday and Friday.

Speaking of closed offices, Tysons Reporter will be on a break as well on Thursday and Friday.

Photo by Warren Tobias on Unsplash

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Bus riders in the Tysons area can expect to see blue and white Fastran buses on some Fairfax Connector routes starting today (June 3).

The buses are meant to help riders impacted by the summer shutdown of several Metro stations during the summer.

The Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services and Fairfax County Department of Transportation teamed up to bring Fastran buses to a few Fairfax Connector routes, as the Fairfax Connector offers more service on two express routes from the Springfield area to the Pentagon.

The Fastran buses will cover these Fairfax Connector routes:

“Fastran buses do not have route numbers and destinations listed outside of the buses,” according to Fairfax County. “The Fastran buses will stop at each bus stop on affected routes to make sure passengers know to board. When boarding, please look for a sign inside the bus to verify your route.”

Riders won’t be able to check real-time arrival information for the Fastran buses, since the buses do not have the technology. Fairfax County urges riders to get to their bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus’ scheduled arrival time, which can be found via the static schedule information on BusTracker and by texting 41-411.

Metro recently closed several stations on the Blue and Yellow lines south of Ronald Reagan National Airport for platform reconstruction that will last until September.

Fairfax County is deploying the Fastran buses through September.

Let us know below if the Metro shutdown will affect you during the summer.

Photo via UCM of Alexandria/Facebook

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Metro recently closed several stations on the Blue and Yellow lines south of Ronald Reagan National Airport for platform reconstruction that will last until September.

The temporary shutdown is a part of Metro’s plan to reconstruct its 20 outdoor concrete platforms.

Ahead of the closures, Metro got the word out about Metrobuses, free shuttles and other bus options — like the Fairfax Connector — for affected riders. (The 494 Fairfax Connector runs from Lorton to Tysons, passing through Springfield.)

Tysons Partnership has information about carpools and vanpools, which travel for free in express lanes.

From social media and news reports, the transition has caused commuting headaches for some people — from getting stuck in traffic to bus drivers getting lost to stranded riders.  Others have reported few or no issues with alternative transportation.

Let us know below if the Metro shutdown will affect you during the summer.

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Updated at 5:05 p.m. — Tysons Reporter interviewed FCDOT Director Tom Biesiadny, who provided more information about the driver shortage and advice for bus riders.

The Fairfax Connector currently doesn’t have enough bus drivers.

A service operation alert on the Fairfax Connector BusTracker website today (May 7) says that the shortage is affecting the entire bus system. The alert says:

The Fairfax Connector bus operations contractor is experiencing a shortage of bus drivers which is impacting service delivery. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate our passengers’ patience as the contractor is working diligently to recruit drivers and add staffing, when possible, to minimize further impacts.

Tom Biesiadny, the director of Fairfax County’s transportation department, told Tysons Reporter that work is underway with MV Transportation, the current bus system’s operator, on the shortage.

“We are working with the contractor to make sure we have the staff that is needed to operate the bus system on a daily basis,” he said.

In addition to the contractor hiring more drivers — something that Biesiadny said has always been a challenge in the area, FCDOT is working to figure out which routes will be least impacted by missed or delayed buses.

“What we’re trying to do is to ensure that if there are trips that are going to be missed that we make sure that it’s not affecting the same route all of the time,” he said.

He said that the driver shortage varies day by day, with Fridays tending to be more problematic. “This is a relatively recent problem to the extent it is affecting all of our trips,” he said.

The shortages began about a week after the announcement that Fairfax County awarded a five-year contract to Transdev North America to operate the Fairfax Connector starting July 1.

Biesiadny said that the contractor switch may be one of the causes behind the shortage.

“Anytime you’re transitioning from one contractor to another contractor there are uncertainties in the workforce,” he said. “I wouldn’t discount that. I wouldn’t say that’s the entire reason.”

Some people took to Twitter to share delayed buses — or ones that never showed up at all — have caused transportation headaches.

One person noted that the same driver shortage alert popped up earlier this month on Friday, May 3.

The reader who tipped Tysons Reporter off about the shortage also expressed concern for people using alternative transportation in the Tysons-area tomorrow (May 8) — the same day that some Uber and Lyft drivers plan to strike.

Biesiadny stressed the importance of planning trips and using resources like Twitter, Facebook, BusTracker, texting stop IDs to 414-11 and the customer service number as a way for people to find out the bus schedules.

“We’re trying to reach out to passengers but also we also want passengers to reach out to us,” he said.

Photo via Facebook

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Morning Notes

Free Rides to Tysons — The new Fairfax Connector Route 467, which runs from Tysons to Vienna to Dunn Loring, is now operating and is free for the month of April. [Twitter]

Law Firm Finishes Move to The Boro — “Womble Bond Dickinson is excited to announce that it has completed its move to the new Boro Tower effective April 1… [The law firm] will occupy the entire 15th floor of the Boro Tower, consisting of approximately 24,000 square feet of office space.” [CityBizList]

New Falls Church Ice Cream Shop — “Falls Church just got a little sweeter with the opening of Kiln & Custard at Lincoln at Tinner Hill, 455 South Maple Avenue. The business will celebrate its grand opening Sunday, April 7 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.” [Patch]

Vienna Named ‘Tree City’ Again — “Vienna has been certified as a ‘Tree City USA’ by the Arbor Day Foundation for the 18th time, and will host a special event on Friday, April 26 at 5 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center.” [InsideNova]

Mamma Mia! in McLean — “Langley High School concludes its 2018-2019 theater season with an international hit sensation: Mamma Mia!. It will play on April 25-27 at 7 p.m., April 28 at 2 p.m. and May 2-4 at 7 p.m. and May 5 at 2 p.m., 2019 at Saxon Stage Theater at Langley High School.” [McLean Connection]

Falls Church Van Break-ins — “Falls Church Police are seeking two suspects for breaking into the same van three times. Video from the latest break-in shows one suspect inside the van.” [Patch]

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Morning Notes

VDOT: Slow Down, Beware of Slick Spots — “[VDOT] crews worked overnight to treat roads and will continue to do so today, as needed. If you can delay travel until the sun comes up, great. If not, please assume that all surfaces are icy. Your commute *will* take longer today. Reduce speeds, no heavy braking, and use your headlights!” [Twitter]

Fairfax County Government Open on Time — “Fairfax County Government offices are open on Wednesday, Jan. 30, however employees have been granted unscheduled leave. Employees are reminded that they should notify their supervisor if they elect to use unscheduled leave. Emergency service personnel should report as scheduled.” [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Fairfax Connector Running Extra Service — “To accommodate passengers who are reporting to work later than usual this morning due to inclement weather, Fairfax Connector will operate extra service on the following routes today: 394, 395, 599, 698, 699.” [Twitter]

Wind and Wind Chill Warnings — Fairfax County is under a Wind Advisory through 6 p.m. tonight; wind gusts of up to 50 mph could result in downed trees and power lines. A Wind Chill Advisory will go into effect at 9 p.m., as whipping winds and falling temperatures cause wind chills to dip to -5 to -10 degrees. [Weather.gov, Weather.gov]

Prison Sentence for Fraudster — “A woman was sentenced in Alexandria federal court to 15 years in prison for defrauding over 50 victims out of more than $5.4 million. Among the victims was a 71-year-old McLean woman with cancer.” [Patch]

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