WOODBRIDGE, VA – High tolls on I-66 have made national news, but hundreds of savvy commuters know how to get a faster trip without having to pay a toll. They use transit or rideshare!
Single occupant vehicles are now allowed to use I-66 Inside the Beltway during rush hours but only if they pay a toll. The toll cost varies based on traffic volume, and when the toll lanes opened in early December the high costs astonished many drivers.
The good news is that Prince William County area commuters can reap the benefits of the new toll lanes without the hassle and expense of driving solo! And as an added bonus, those who share their commute can relax or get some work done before arriving at the office!
Those who live in Gainesville and Manassas have direct OmniRide bus routes serving Washington, D.C.; the Pentagon; and the Tysons Corner Metro Station. The newest of those routes is the Gainesville to Pentagon OmniRide service, which started in December 2016 thanks to full funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission. Ridership on the route is growing steadily and now averages 250 passengers daily, but there’s still room for more!
Another option to avoid the I-66 tolls is to join a carpool or vanpool. Any vehicle with at least two occupants travels for free in the HOT lanes during rush hours. So how do people find someone to rideshare with? They use OmniMatch, a free ride-matching service! Simply fill out some basic information about your commute and OmniMatch will submit it into a regional database and then contact you with a list of carpools or vanpools that fit your needs.
There surely will be greater demand for transit and ridesharing alternatives as work begins to add toll lanes on I-66 Outside the Beltway. That’s why NVTC will use toll revenues to fund more bus services, promote more ridesharing, and build new commuter parking lots in the coming years. Three new lots already are planned to be built between Haymarket and Manassas – amenities that will make it easier for people to leave their vehicles behind and share their ride with others.
So the next time you hear someone talking about high tolls, remember that there are alternatives! For more information about transit and ridesharing, visit PRTCtransit.org or call (703) 730-6664.
PRTC provides commuter and local bus services as well as ridesharing services in Prince William County, the City of Manassas and the City of Manassas Park. PRTC also co-sponsors the Virginia Railway Express in partnership with the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.