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Metro could solve BRAC concerns with new bus lines

Wednesday - 7/6/2011, 4:02am  ET

Metro bus (WTOP Photo/Kristi King)
Metro could use empty buses that are returning to garages for express bus service to Mark Center in Alexandria and to Fort Belvoir. (WTOP Photo/Kristi King)

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- If the predicted impacts of the military's Base Realignment and Closure Process materialize -- especially the traffic concerns -- many commuters will be left wondering how to get around.

With just a month to go before the process is supposed to start at the Mark Center in Alexandria and Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, the answer could be coming into focus.

At a board meeting Thursday, Metro will propose creating new bus lines that will run frequent express service to both of the affected locations.

One line would run from Pentagon to the Mark Center and another would run from Franconia-Springfield to Fort Belvoir.

Metro would be reimbursed for some of the extra service, and could actually make use of empty buses that are returning to garages or routes -- a process known as deadheading.

From a Metro report concerning the Mark Center bus service:

"Providing this service helps Metro meet the goal of using every resource wisely. This new service allows Metro to convert a number of deadhead trips into revenue trips averaging at least 25 passengers per trip. This program also will fill more of the available seats on existing services in this area."

According to the latest figures, more than 20,000 employees will work at Fort Belvoir where there is no immediate access to mass transportation. Historic Route 1 is already heavily congested, and many are worried nearby roads will be crippled.

Many say a nightmare also is coming to Interstate 395 in Alexandria. More than 6,000 government workers will leave Crystal City and head to the Mark Center, where there is no mass transportation.

These two new bus routes could provide a much needed alternative to driving to the new facilities.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)