Yes, that's the plan.
This service replaced the old Washington Flyer coach bus service from West Falls Church to IAD; when they replaced it, they're using the same buses as they use for parking shuttle operations, so I'd imagine the buses will be re-used in that context.
It's not clear what will happen to the 5A bus; WMATA has tried to cut it in the past, and will likely do so again once the Silver Line is operational. I think there's still a case for bus service to Dulles outside of Metrorail operating hours, but that's going to be a heavy lift.
Fairfax Connector does operate two routes to IAD, the 981 and 981; both go from the end of the Silver Line to the airport; the 983 also goes to the Udvar-Hazy Center. https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector ... 15_web.pdf
Fairfax Connector will undoubtedly do a large bus network shift once the new Metro stations open; right now many routes feed into the end of the Silver Line at Wiehle Ave; and those will certainly shift. I would love to see a good bus connection between the main Dulles terminal area and the Udvar-Hazy Center. I know the airport has been reluctant to offer that as they don't want to encourage remote parking at the museum.
I wouldn't be surprised to see the 5A (or the BWI B30 bus, for that matter) announced as one of the routes proposed to be cut as part of the 9 "least productive bus routes" as part of the recently announced FY 2021 budget.
I would! The 5A is certianly not one of the least productive routes. The higher fare and express routing means it recovers far more of its costs than others. I haven't seen any recent data, but as of 2015, the farebox recovery for the 5A was something like 88%.
Also, the implicit deal the last time this came up was that WMATA would keep the 5A at least until the Silver Line opens.
I just stepped off the 5A around an hour ago and there were only about 10 or so people on board. I have never seen it so empty. A good number of them got off at the stop before IAD (Aviation Road? Navigator Road?). We took a really weird route today. We got off of the Dulles Toll Road, drove down Sunrise Valley Drive in Herndon for about 5 miles, and then got back on the toll road before arriving at airport property. Don't know the reasoning of the detour and as to why we didn't stay on the toll road the entire time.
The biggest pain of 5A to me is the amount of people who don't have enough money on their SmartTrip card and then realize they can't get change back so they take the time to add money to their card first. They should really make it card only like they do on Metro Extra lines.
It’s also my understanding that the Silver Line Express bus will be discontinued when Silver Line phase 2 opens next summer.
IIRC, Fairfax county does run buses to Dulles as well from Wiehle (or Vienna, I can’t remember).
It ain't gonna be open next summer. A year from now is being hopeful, but I think more realistically it'll be pushed to 2021 at the earliest. There are too many construction faults and safety issues to be remedied. MWAA is pretending like things are peachy and on schedule, but the WMATA has an extremely lengthy list of very valid concerns. It's setting up for a showdown in which Metro doesn't accept the line when MWAA believes it is ready to be turned over.
But yes, the bus will of course be discontinued whenever phase two is opened.
I am being optimistic. I know it likely won't but mentally I am hoping wishful thinking will help. It's such a hot mess. You think that the second phase would have gone so much smoother than Phase 1 due to the challenges associated with the first phase (construction over the Beltway, tunneling and building through Tysons, etc). I do wonder if the outcome would have been different if WMATA was actually managing the construction of the line.
I have said this before on here, but I really can't see the line being successful past IAD until Loudon develops more. I know, I know that the area is rapidly growing and urbanizing, but it isn't at the point of urbanization IMO to be able to support a high-capacity rapid transit system.
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