This past spring, Virginia Public Radio reached out to the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and the CSPDC to develop a feature story on the Afton Express as part of a series about how CARES funds have been used across the Commonwealth.
RadioIQ reporter Mallory Noe-Payne traveled to Fishersville in April to ride the Afton Express, talk to staff, and interview passengers. Paula Melester, a Regional Planner for the CSPDC, joined Mallory on her round-trip ride over the mountain. Along the ride, several passengers shared their personal experiences with the Afton Express and how this service has contributed to the quality of their commute. Their stories are captured in this radio segment.
DRPT’s Director of Rail and Public Transportation, Jennifer DeBruhl is also interviewed. Funding for the Afton Express through FY23 was provided by DRPT through a demonstration grant, partially supported by CARES Act funds. Director DeBruhl says that using these funds to help launch the Afton Express was a “no brainer”, as the service connects workers in the Shenandoah Valley to the Hospital System at the University of Virginia. During the pandemic, the service offered a transportation option for essential workers.
The story aired on Virginia Public Radio on June 21 and was shared on the WVTF/RadioIQ website. You can read or listen to the story here.