In November, a record-breaking 7,837 people rode on the Virginia Breeze, a 19% increase over November 2022.  -  Photo: Virginia Breeze

In November, a record-breaking 7,837 people rode on the Virginia Breeze, a 19% increase over November 2022.

Photo: Virginia Breeze

The Virginia Breeze intercity bus service continued its strong growth in 2023, with all four of its routes setting all-time record ridership this fall.

In November, a record-breaking 7,837 people rode on the Virginia Breeze, a 19% increase over November 2022.

Virginia Breeze Ridership on the Upswing

The Virginia Breeze, which is managed by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and funded through the Federal Transit Administration’s Intercity Bus Program, is a vital intercity bus service connecting communities across the Commonwealth to larger cities and other major forms of transportation. It operates four routes with service every day of the year: the Valley Flyer (Blacksburg-Washington), the Piedmont Express (Danville-Washington), the Capital Connector (Martinsville-Richmond-Washington), and the Highlands Rhythm (Bristol-Washington).

“It is inspiring to see the soaring demand for the Virginia Breeze, which for six years has connected people across the Commonwealth and beyond,” said DRPT Director Jennifer DeBruhl. “The Breeze continues to set ridership records thanks to its customers who recognize its valuable role in providing transportation in rural and underserved areas.”

Noteworthy achievements in individual route ridership include:

  • Valley Flyer: The busiest Virginia Breeze route along Interstate 81 in western Virginia achieved an all-time high of 3,975 riders in November 2023, reflecting a 17% increase over November 2022.
  • Piedmont Express: The Piedmont Express recorded record-breaking ridership with 907 passengers in November 2023, marking a 10% increase over November 2022.
  • Capital Connector: The Capital Connector set a record with 891 riders in November 2023, a 27% rise over November 2022.
  • Highlands Rhythm: Another route along Interstate 81, the Highlands Rhythm achieved its highest ridership in October 2023 with 2,368 passengers, a 25% increase over October 2022.

Virginia Breeze Continuing to Grow

Between January and November of this year, 53,138 people rode the Virginia Breeze. To accommodate the growing demand, DRPT adds more buses to the routes at no additional cost to riders. In November, DRPT added a record 48 additional buses.

DRPT is currently studying the creation of an east-west Virginia Breeze route that would connect the Staunton/Harrisonburg area and Virginia Beach area along the Interstate 64 corridor. The fifth route would fill a transportation gap between the two regions.

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