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Name for Route 1 bus rapid transit service unveiled

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay and other officials unveil a new name and logo for an upcoming rapid bus transit service for Route 1 (staff photo by David Taube)

Fairfax County has a new name for the dedicated bus service it is planning for Richmond Highway: The One.

Transit officials revealed the name today (Friday) at a branding event for the bus rapid transit (BRT) service, which will operate starting in 2030 using new lanes separated by a grass median.

Projected to serve an estimated 15,000 passengers per day, the bus service is also envisioned as an interim step before a possible three-mile extension of Metrorail’s Yellow Line to Hybla Valley.

“It’s not just your ordinary bus,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said at the event, held outside the Gerry Hyland Government Center in Mount Vernon.

Running from the Huntington Metro station to Fort Belvoir, the finished service will be the largest BRT in the state, according to Northern Virginia Transportation Authority CEO Monica Backmon.

A separate Virginia Department of Transportation project to widen the highway is also in the works.

Combined, the Route 1 widening and BRT infrastructure will require over $1 billion in funding. Once the buses are in service, the county will take on most of the costs with some assistance from the Commonwealth, Fairfax County Department of Transportation Director Tom Biesiadny told FFXnow.

VDOT’s widening project is currently pegged at $415 million, with construction slated to start in 2025. It will expand three miles of highway from four to six lanes and create separated paths on both sides of the road for cyclists and pedestrians.

According to its project page, the BRT is estimated to cost some $730 million with funding coming from local, state, federal and private sources. That includes $250 million from the NVTA.

The project is part of the county’s larger effort to boost the Route 1 corridor under the Embark Richmond Highway plan approved on March 20, 2018. County leaders say an express bus service will make the corridor safer, revitalize the area, and give commuters more options.

Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk said these types of projects have typically been connected with the northern and western parts of the county, but this one serves an area where it’s more needed.

The county settled on “The One” as the name for the BRT after teens and young adults in one focus group in November 2019 were drawn to the name, Fairfax County Department of Transportation spokesperson Robin Geiger said.

Mount Vernon District Supervisor Daniel Storck noted that the name carries a range of associations, from sports to marriage.

“We have spent a lot of time trying to make sure we got the right name,” he said. “This branding name is the one I think we needed to have.”

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