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Let's Talk!

The next VRE online forum will start on Wednesday, October 1st at 12:00pm. Click on the "ASK" Button below to submit a question.


 
There are currently 44 questions waiting to be answered.

VRE Management:
Welcome again to the monthly on-line forum. We appreciate you filling out the Master Agreement Survey this morning. The results of this determines the amount each member jurisdiction pays into VRE based on where riders say they live.
As we head into the fall, please note we are planning ahead for leaf oil season. We are also getting plans ready for the winter months. We always work to minimize various disruptions to our customers.
We see there is a long queue so on to the questions!



YO from Quantico asks:
9/25/14, I believe train 309 the conduct (short with white mustache), who always thinks he's funny, said, "next stop New Carrolton . . ." I guess he thought that was funny, but I don't know where new Carrolton is and thought that I might have gotten on the wrong train for a moment. This guy is always "joking" and annoying passengers. Would you please advise him to just stop it already . . .also, he is alwasys telling people, usually the one's he's identified as tourists, not to eat at [I forget the name] some restaurant in Union Station. Is this part of his job?

VRE Management:
While we always want Conductors to be cordial, thanks for letting us know. We will speak with this Conductor.






AB from Quantico asks:
One day in August I believe the conductor statd over the PA sytem that the "main gate" of Quantico is closed. I saw a lot of people still going towards Fuller, although I started in the other direction, but then circled back to exit on Fuller Road (where the statue is). The gate was not closed. Where does the conductor get such info and is Fuller Street the "main gate?" if such info is given in the future, please identify location by street name to avoid confusion, as some riders, were calling people who were to pick them up to redirct them unnecessarily.

VRE Management:
The information we received was that the main gate was closed completely but traffic was allowed to exit through alternative gates. The main gate did open later in the service window.



LB from Rippon asks:
Could smoking be disallowed at the north end of the L'Enfant Plaza platform or moved to the left of the top of the stairs so other passengers do not have to walk through the cloud of smoke? Thank you.

VRE Management:
We will look into relocating.






from asks:
When will vre enforce parking at Leland?

VRE Management:
Parking is enforced by Stafford County Police. If you experience an issue, let us know and we will forward the information to them.



Steve from Burke, VA asks:
I was giving the VRE credit for no longer playing those "Life on the Train" messages, but then I heard one the other evening. PLEASE tell me you are not going to revive those. They are loud, obnoxious, and kind of insulting. Ironically, I've been on extremely quiet Manassas rides when the silence is interrupted by, yes, a "Life on the Train" bit telling people to be quiet. Thanks!

VRE Management:
These are messages played by the Conductors when they feel conditions warrant.



Jennifer from Lorton va asks:
When something may have been lost on a train, how do you find out if something has been turned in? I have had no response using the online list and found

VRE Management:
Please feel free to contact us at (703) 684-1001 to make sure we received your on line request.



Bob from Fredericksburg asks:
Since the trains are much more crowded and are commuter trains not passenger trains would it not be beneficial to you customer base to stop permitting customers that are traveling with an excessive number or exremely large luggage? I mean there is no real storage and the isle is blocked. That is the reason that there are airport buses and limos plus long term parking. If someone cannot afford one of these options they should not be raveling and I travel exensively never using VRE to commute the airport. The trains are crowded enough and additional crowding does not help.

VRE Management:
From time to time, we do have passengers that want to travel on the VRE with large luggage. When they call, we tell them to see the Conductor to make sure they can safely secure their luggage.



Dave from Manassas, VA asks:
How about setting up a FAQ on the "Let's Talk!" page for those questions reappearing month after month? It can certain be updated as new information is found or to report progress.

VRE Management:
We saw this last month and we are currently working on a FAQ that can work with the on-line forum.



Pegleg from woodbridge asks:
PLEASE answer this question and let us know when there will be an extra car added to 300!! We're tired of standing every morning!! Thank you!

VRE Management:
We’re looking at current train consists to determine, if possible, where changes can be implemented to give everyone a seat.



Steve Jones from Burke Centre asks:
When will the new cars show up on train 335 leaving Union Station at 6:10 pm? These old cars are terrible! Also, I am tired of individuals going the wrong way (there is a "one way" sign posted) on lower level of the parking garage to cut the line to exit the structure. Please ask Fairfax Co. to post an officer to keep the peace. If everyone would follow the rules, everyone would be able to exit the parking deck faster!!

VRE Management:
All the legacy cars were removed from the Manassas line as of Monday, September 22. We continue to work with Fairfax County to resolve the circulation in and out of the garage



Bob from Burke asks:
Great job communicating Monday's mess. One issue though was the massive mess of cars attempting to exit the parking lot and structure. Normal commuters and others picking up those from down the line. Over 30 minutes to exit. If the emergency buses were used they would have been caught in that mess also. I saw Fairfax County vehicles but no traffic management. Maybe next time Fairfax County could manage the intersection.

VRE Management:
Thank you, we will continue to work with Fairfax County to improve traffic flow.



Rachael from Falmouth, VA asks:
I'd like to know when you will update your fare system in order for me to use my credit card that has the new security chip embedded? It makes me very concerned having to use my debit card in your machines and I'd like some reassurances about the security of your fare system.

VRE Management:
We have installed software fixes to eliminate the issues with newer credit cards. If your card is still not working, please contact us and we will address the individual cards.



Mark from Burke asks:
Monday night was a good example of why the crew should test the speaker volume in each car daily as part of their regular routine. I was on a middle car on the 5:05 Manassas line from Union Station and could not hear the announcements. Nobody could. In the mornings I ride on the quiet cars , and we can never hear the announcements and these are new trains! Should there ever be an actual emergency people could get get hurt or worse. This is an easy fix that could save lives.

VRE Management:
We will check the speaker volume on Train 331.



Woodford-Commuter from Woodford VA asks:
The -V- Ticket has a good catch to it does it not? (Regarding potential new names)

VRE Management:
Thanks for the suggestion.



Woodford-Commuter from Woodford VA asks:
Government fare subsidies are one of few contributing factors for high fares or fare increases. (I do not want to go into a deep analysis as to why but your thoughts on that premise??)

VRE Management:
Move on.



kevin from fredericksburg asks:
when are we going to get more seating. i'm tired of standing up half way of my trip home. should i just find another way to work and home and forget about the VRE system.

VRE Management:
We do plan to add a new Fredericksburg line train. Implementation date and the operating schedule are yet to be determined.



Ashley from Gainesville, VA asks:
Is there any plan to provide WiFi on the trains?

VRE Management:
As mentioned in last month’s on-line forum. VRE has tested devices with the current cell technology on both lines. There are still significant areas that do not get a signal. We hope to be able to include Wi-Fi with other operational upgrades.



Mo from Haymarket VA asks:
Still waiting for trains to come to the Gainesville/Haymarket area! It's too much of a pain to get to Broad Run, find a parking space, and then suffer through ridiculous delays to get to work in DC, and moving farther out west is the only way this gal will start riding VRE again!

VRE Management:
Date is still to be determined. See our System Plan 2040.

http://www.vre.org/about/strategic/strategic_plan.htm




Sara from Woodbridge VA asks:
Why are there separate containers for newspaper and trash at the Woodbridge station, when I have seen the cleaning staff empty both cans in to the same trash to remove in the mornings?

VRE Management:
The Facilities Custodial crew separates garbage and recycling off site.



William from Lorton VA asks:
Frequently we have no idea which track the VRE will be on at Union Station in the afternoon. Nobody helps us, and we frequently have to rush at the last moment to catch the train because there was no posting and no announcement. Why is MARC so much more efficient at this process over VRE? What can be done to assist this problem. Several passengers have already brought this problem to VRE's attention in the recent past.

VRE Management:


We will work with Amtrak for a final resolution on this issue.






Doug from Haymarket , VA asks:
What plans does VRE have to extend the Manassas line further West to serve the I66 corridor?

VRE Management:


Not at this time. Our System Plan 2040 will address this issue.






Shannon from Woodbridge, VA asks:
What is the status of VRE converting to Smartcards for tickets instead of paper tickets that are currently issued?

VRE Management:
Our Mobile Ticketing will be implemented in the second quarter of 2015. Beyond that, we are working with Metro on their new electronic payments program.




Pam from Fredericksburg asks:
Can you please have the conductor place the step stool at the bottom of the steps at L'Enfant for train 302? People are having a hard time getting off the train without it. Thank you

VRE Management:
If you request a step stool the Conductor will provide one.






John from Manassas asks:
What should be the expected response time to a question submitted by e-mail to gotrains?

VRE Management:
24 hours.






The Dreaded Pedestrian from Manassas Park asks:
VRE really needs to consider putting in some traffic calming devices in their parking lots; and especially the 'kiss and ride' areas. I was less than 2 feet away from being struck by a car yesterday. She was back by the main steps at MP; thinking I had time, I didn't realize she would actually speed up and was only interested in looking up at the 2nd set of steps - she never once looked at the road in front of her...just trying to get out of the lot as FAST as possible. Figure this, every person that 'walks' opens one extra spot in the lot. Drivers should be kind to us!

VRE Management:
We will pass along your comments to the City of Manassas Park.






NoleChick from Rolling Rd asks:
How often are the trestles that the trains traverse inspected?

VRE Management:
In accordance with federal regulations.



David from Fredericksburg asks:
Lately there always seems to be cars parked next to the exit in parking lot G, even though this is not a parking space. They are really becoming a pain. Can anything be done? like maybe have them towed.

VRE Management:
We have put notices on cars that are illegally parked and working with Fredericksburg police.






George from Burke, VA asks:
The LED lights at Crystal City have been off for about a month. Why are they off?? When will they be on again?? The platform is not well lit without the LED lights.

VRE Management:
We will have our Facilities’ Manager look into this.






Ray from Manassas, VA asks:
Does the Metro option during a service disruption like Monday extend to the commuter buses? Some of the buses seem confused whether to take the VRE ticket.

VRE Management:
Metro option does not extend to commuter buses, however in the future this may change.








Paul from Woodbridge, VA asks:
Why don't the conductors enforce the "No Queing" policy? People stand up and block the entrance/exit to ensure they are first in line to get off the train. Others follow, and half the car has people standing up while riding, prior the train even arriving at the station. This creates and uncomfortable position for people trying to sit, with others banging into them standing in the aisle. When train stops, then get up and exit..! Please bring this up, as conductors never say anything, but have to squeeze around people just to do their job.

VRE Management:
We will work with our Conductors on the consistent enforcement of the queuing policy.






Larry from Stafford asks:
There will be alot of Army personnel commuting on Columbus Day this year due to the AUSA Annual Meeting which opens on the 13th - please provide an update as to whether or not you are going to operate and what the schedule will be.

VRE Management:
We will not operate service on Columbus Day.






Lane from Manassas, VA asks:
What are you using to lube the truck center plates on the coaches, butter? I am surprised by some of the squeeks and squeals coming out of the Nippon Sharyo which are less than 10 years old. (Nothing surprises me about the old Pullman Metra cars.)

VRE Management:


No, not butter.






Jay from Lorton, VA asks:
Does VRE plan to build additional shelters and benches at Lorton Stations for the passengers waiting for trains in the inclement weather?

VRE Management:


We do have plans to extend the platform at Lorton which will increase the number of benches and shelters.




Debbie from Broad Run, VA asks:
When the trains are due to depart, I understand the conductors want to be on time, but sometimes it appears that they leave a little early or the split second the clock turns to the departure time we are pulling out. If there are still people in view could you please remind the conductors there are at least 6o seconds in a minute which would still give some people a chance to catch the train. Otherwise its a 30-40 minute wait for the next one. Just a thought.

VRE Management:
We ask our passengers to arrive 10 minutes before departure times with a valid ticket.






Chuck from Centreville, VA asks:
This is more of a suggestion: Recommend that cars in the parking garages (Burke Center, especially)turn on their headlights. Twice last week, I was almost run over by cars with no lights on. Thanks,

VRE Management:
Safety reminder.








Marv from Fredericksburg, Va asks:
What is the latest date on opening the Spotsylvania Station? Thanks/M.

VRE Management:
Projected late Spring 2015.






David from Manassas asks:
As we ride the VRE past Potomac Yard each day, we cant hope but notice the random sets of stairways that have been built down to nowhere. What gives? When asked last year, the answer was talk of a metro stop being added here? But I also notice there is no ADA access ramps, so it cant be for Metro?

VRE Management:
We do not have specifics about this project.






X YZ from Rippon asks:
What is the actual address for the new Spotslvania stop? I called VRE info and the customer service rep did not know.

VRE Management:


9442 Crossroads Parkway Fredericksburg, VA 22408






Al from Fredericksburg, VA asks:
Hi, VRE. FYI, parking at the Fredericksburg City station has gone from worse to even worse still! I think that completing the Spotsylvania train station will work wonders to help this out. Right now, it takes 20 minutes (sometimes more!) to even get out of the parking lots! Are you planning to finish that station soon? Please say yes!!

VRE Management:
Yes. Projected to open late Spring 2015.



Dave from Gainesville, VA asks:
When will the TVM's get split-pay capabilities?

VRE Management:
We plan to install the functionality at the vendor locations first. Then we will look to adding it to the TVMs.



David from Quantico asks:
I took a survey when I got on board and the only time I seen anyone walk by was right when I got on. I got off at CC and noone was there to collect or was there a box by the exit as I was getting off. Was not turning around to leave on seat. Maybe some better clarification as I deal with metrics and know how important the survey is for VRE and us passengers that want more trains and cars. We can not have what we want as as passenger if we do not feel out the survey to give you VRE and ideal of how your customers travel.

VRE Management:
All the surveys are picked up from each train.



from asks:
People should not be asked, nor expected to wait "until the train actually stops" to get off, because Ione may be on the window side of a sleeping or slow moving person who has bags and computer to move, etc. Also, the conductor and other passengers are always passing by, even if one does not get up until the "Now approachin . . ." recording.

VRE Management:
Our queuing policy is: you are allowed to stand after the train departs the station prior to your destination.



Dennis from Manassas Park, VA asks:
Regarding the mysterious Potomac Yards stairs to nowhere, they appear to lead to a jogging or dog-walking trail right along the fence next to the tracks.

VRE Management:
Thank you for the information.



Steve from Spotsy, VA asks:
On Sep. 9, a Manassas train was announced six times after it had already departed. The next train was 311, and the announcements on board were blasting so loud that people were covering their ears. Since then I've heard automated announcements naming the wrong stations, identifying 308 as both 306 and 307, giving the wrong location for the quiet car, and more. None of this was unusual. I've heard all of it before, many times. Please turn off the automated misinformation.

VRE Management:
If you encounter this in the future, please send the specific information to gotrains@vre.org



HeavyG from Manassas asks:
Great job with the service interruptions on the Manassas Line on Monday the buses promptly arrived at Burke to take us to the western stations highlights good preplanning and coordination on VRE's part!

VRE Management:
Thank you.



Dave from Manassas Park asks:
I wanted to thank you all for having the buses ready at Burke on Monday. Commute was extended by only 50 minutes.

VRE Management:
Thank you.



Tim from Nokesville, VA asks:
While I understand the fiasco Monday was not your fault I nonetheless have two questions. One, why, after 20+ years in business, are you no more prepared for a disruption in service like Monday than you were 20 years ago? There was a potential for all trains to be affected and yet you could only get 8 buses? Really what day did you actually expect to get people home? Two, do you have or have you ever considered having a former police officer involved in security who can talk to the local police on their terms when things like this happen and try and get trains moving sooner?

VRE Management:
We were prepared, we had a plan and we executed. We were thankful to our partners at Omni Ride and Fairfax Connector to promptly provide us with buses at the peak of rush hour. If this issue had persisted further into the service window, the bus companies were prepared to send additional buses once they became available.



Paul from Woodbridge asks:
Now I'm more confused on Queuing, since I asked a previous question and Management responded they would ensure conductors enforced queuing. Last comment you said queuing was allowed after a train departs. That means there could always be people standing. What does queuing actually mean on VRE?

VRE Management:
We don't want passengers blocking the doors and aisles preventing others from exiting. Once the train departs, you can stand as long as your stop is next.


VRE Management:
Our time is up. But you can see us at Clifton Day on Sunday, October 12th.
If your question wasn't answered please submit it to gotrains@vre.org.
Go Nats & O's!
See Tracks, Think Train!
Rich, Chris et al.

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