Starting February 13, Afton Express riders will have new options for their commutes. The expanded schedule includes a new stop in Charlottesville, expanded access to existing stops, later service, and new options for traveling from Charlottesville back to the Shenandoah Valley.
The new schedule is designed with 12-hour hospital shift workers in mind. Many of these workers are not currently served by the existing schedule, as the bus does not pick up and drop off late enough in the evening for those starting or ending their shifts at 7:00 pm. In the morning, there will be a new loop back on Trip 2 that will provide service to overnight workers getting off work and heading back to Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro. In the evening, there will be a fifth trip that will depart Waynesboro at 6:00 pm to get employees to work by 6:45 pm, and will then circle back to pick up workers getting off at 7:00 pm.
While this schedule was inspired by hospital employees, we hope the later evening service will make the service more accessible to any commuters who work later shifts. These additional times may also provide connections with Greyhound and Amtrak routes that arrive early in the morning, and depart late in the evening.
The morning departure times from Staunton, Fishersville and Waynesboro remain unchanged, but two additional departures from the Staunton Mall stop have been added. Previously, the Staunton Mall stop was only served by two of the four morning trips. Now all trips will serve the Staunton stop.
In the afternoon, Trip 2 times have been shifted about 15-20 minutes earlier to better accommodate passengers who get off work at 3:30 pm. We are hopeful this change will significantly reduce the amount of time these commuters need to wait for a return bus.
In addition to the later service, a new stop has been added in Charlottesville. Riders will now be able to get on and off at The Omni Hotel at Ridge McIntire Rd. This stop is located near the Courthouse and serves the Downtown Mall.
Overall, we are pleased to be able to expand service to reach new groups of riders while still providing reliable service to our existing riders. We are receptive to rider feedback and will continue to explore ways we can improve the schedule with future changes.
The new schedule is available on the Afton Express website at https://www.britebus.org/afton-express-expansion-schedule-released/.