The Potomac & Rappahannock Transportation Commission is celebrating its 30th anniversary. And in honor of our anniversary, we thought that we would pause a moment to celebrate and to take a look back at PRTC's achievements and milestones to see how far we've traveled on our 30-year journey.
More Info will be posted soon...be sure to check back!
To celebrate our milestone anniversary of 30 years of service to the community, PRTC will host a family-friendly event at the Transit Center. The event will begin at 11:30AM with a brief commemorative ceremony -- federal, state and local stakeholders and partners will be invited. The community event will open at noon and the highlight will be a showcase of youth talent within the community and will also include:
- A variety of family-friendly entertainment such as a photo booth, jugglers, face painting, balloon artistry, hands-on insect exhibit – including an appearance by Ronald McDonald
- A firehouse will bring equipment for the children to explore
- K-9 demonstration by State Police
- PWC Sherriff’s Office Ident-A-Kid program will provide a free photo ID
- Variety of food trucks
- Tours of the facility and display of PRTC’s services
- Bus excursions on an OmniRide commuter bus to visit nearby VRE station or quick spin on an OmniLink local bus
Check back soon to learn more about the planned activities.
Youth Talent Showcase - "Prince William Show Us Your Talent"
The highlight of our community celebration will be a local youth talent showcase. What better way to celebrate 30 years of service to the community than by showcasing the next generation of riders. Youth dance troops, chorales, martial arts studios, cheer groups, acting troops…all are welcomed to “show us your talent”…on stage…in front of a live audience!!
Know a talented youth group? To be part of this milestone event, submit the enclosed registration packet by September 21, 2016.
Submit questions and registration packets to 30th@OmniRide.com or call 703-580-6127.
In appreciation for the support of the community at large, PRTC would also like to take this opportunity to give back to those in need within our service area. Get a voucher for free ice cream (while supplies last) when you help us to Stuff-A-Bus with needed items by donating personal toiletry or non-perishable food items. The donated items will be distributed to ACTS and SERVE, two local organizations that provide, food, shelter and other important services to families in need. It’s a win – win!
A Look at PRTC Through the Years
The Early Years
The inaugural meeting of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission was called to order on August 6, 1986, at the Log Cabin Restaurant in Stafford County. At that time, the primary goal of the agency was to establish commuter rail service, or the Virginia Railway Express. In 1990, PRTC assumed responsibility for operating the COMMUTERIDE commuter bus service and ridematching program for car and vanpoolers from Prince William County. By the fall of 1990, PRTC's average daily ridership exceeded 2,500.
The early 1990s were filled with planning for the Virginia Railway Express and the local bus service that would later be named OmniLink. In June 1992, the first VRE trains rolled down the tracks, providing service to 16 stations. By 1995, PRTC had feeder bus service on four routes serving the VRE stations. OmniLink local buses began operating in the spring of 1995 along three corridors, expanding travel options for many area residents. At the time, OmniLink was considered a unique “flex-route” system, allowing buses to serve locations up to ¾ mile off the standard route. By fall of 1995, OmniLink expanded service, starting two more routes to serve Manassas and Manassas Park.
In late 1997, the agency moved to the current Transit Center; for the first time, administrative, operational and mechanical functions were under the same roof. The garage and bus yard provided ample space to maintain and store PRTC's fleet of 77 buses, with room for growth. New services were established in the late 1990s - Cross County Connector and Prince William Metro Direct - and OmniRide services were expanded in response to increased demand during Mixing Bowl construction. Meanwhile, OmniLink switched to a more convenient, automated scheduling system for reserving off-route trips.
PRTC Grows Up
In 2000, OmniLink ridership nearly doubled when the service extended its hours of operation. Meanwhile, PRTC's overall average daily ridership surpassed 5,000. The year 2000 was also a milestone year for VRE, with ridership hitting 10,000 average daily riders.
In 2000 and 2001, PRTC began the modernization of its fleet with the arrival of 13 new OmniRide buses and 16 OmniLink buses, providing a more comfortable ride for passengers. In just a few short years, PRTC went from having one of the oldest bus fleets in Virginia to having a fleet with an average age of just four years old.
Continuing to steadily grow, in December of 2002, OmniRide surpassed a calendar-year record by carrying more than 1 million passengers. In 2003, PRTC's overall average daily ridership surpassed 7,500, fueled in part by the addition of Saturday OmniLink service along three routes.
A sixth OmniLink route began operation along the Route 1 corridor in 2005, and PRTC introduced OmniRide service to Rosslyn and Ballston in 2006. In 2007, bicycle racks were installed on all local and Metro Direct buses - a convenience for passengers wanting to ride their bikes on both ends of their trip. VRE began making improvements to Crossroads Yard and dedicated new parking garages at the Manassas Station and Burke Centre in 2007 and 2008.
PRTC began accepting SmarTrip cards in 2008 - a simple electronic form of payment that has benefited numerous regional transit providers and their customers. In 2009, PRTC began operating Tysons Express, a direct service between Woodbridge and Tysons Corner funded by Virginia Megaprojects to help mitigate traffic during HOT lane construction. The agency also updated its image in 2009 with a new set of bold, easy-to-read bus-stop signs to replace the faded ones that had been on the streets for more than 10 years.
In February 2010, PRTC and VRE welcomed a new member - Spotsylvania County. Between 2005 and 2010, VRE purchased 71 Gallery-style rail cars; the last of 20 new locomotives is expected to be delivered this month as well. Recently, VRE set a ridership record on July 12, 2016, with 23,309 trips. VRE carried 4.4 million passengers in FY2016 (which ended June 30, 2016), an annual daily ridership of 17,666 riders.
Looking to the Future
Currently, PRTC's fleet is comprised of more than 160 buses. In FY 2016 PRTC buses carried a total of 2.8 million passengers, with an average daily ridership of 11,212. Real-time passenger information will be available in the near future and plans are underway for a new facility on the western side of Prince William County. A new route from Gainesville to the Pentagon is anticipated to begin service later this year.
VRE will continue to work with its board and state officials to try to bring service to the Gainesville/Haymarket area. In addition, VRE will be expanding parking and seating as funds become available.
PRTC has come a long way in 30 years and anticipates bigger and better changes for the future to meet the needs of our growing community. Here's to 30 years of “Moving Forward for the Community!”
See Our History in Pictures
Browse through our photo
gallery at some memorable images over the past
Special thanks to all of our sponsors!