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Afton Express halfway to reaching rider goal

Afton Express
Afton Express(wvir)
Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 2:21 PM EDT
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AFTON, Va. (WVIR) - After a month in service, the Afton Express is halfway to its goal of 40 riders a day. Free rides on the shuttle service ends September 30, but commuters say the convenience will outweigh the cost.

Logan Reed is one of the riders who counts on the early-morning bus from Waynesboro into Charlottesville.

“We use it a few days a week, and we’ve really loved it. We love the convenience of having WiFi on it,” Reed said.

“We started with just a few riders the first day, and it appears that the riders who choose that as their commuting option that they stay with it, they really appreciate it, and enjoy the commute,” Transit Manager at Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission Nancy Gourley said.

Commuters say the bus is easier, cheaper and more fun than driving themselves.

“Right now, we’re a one-car family and so the bus provides a flexibility for us that we wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Kelly Reed said. “It’s really fun for us. We get to sit and talk and relax all the way to work.”

“We both drive SUVs, so when it comes to gas in those monsters this is definitely better than putting gas in a vehicle,” Betty Bowmen said.

Brad Slocum rides the Afton Express three to four times a week.

“It’s really cutting down on my gas budget, which is great and I feel a lot better about not putting out so many carbon emissions on my daily commute,” Slocum said.

Beginning October 1, there will be a charge to ride the bus: $3 per ride, or 10 rides for $25.

“I already bought two passes, which should get me through the next month and going after that,” Slocum said.

“We’d still be saving money for sure with gas and everything,” Logan Reed said.

Another bonus is one of the bus drivers, James Landes.

“James is an excellent driver. He definitely pays attention, it gives us the opportunity to rest instead of us having to drive. It’s like having a chauffeur,” Bowmen said.

The feeling is mutual.

“They’re a good group of people, they are. They’re really nice,” Landes said.

The planning district says it is looking at the bus schedule to see if it can better accommodate riders who work long shifts at UVA Medical Center.

Schedule changes may take place in November.

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