A Metrobus idles near the future site of a garage in Lorton, Va.
Metro has broken ground on a new bus garage in Fairfax County that will replace a World War II-era facility in Old Town Alexandria.
Plans for the new garage and maintenance facility in Lorton represent Metro's attempt to transition fully into the 21st century: it will hold up to 160 hybrid electric buses that'll carry 20,000 daily riders. Those buses cannot fit in the old facility, still standing on Royal Street in Old Town Alexandria, built in 1945.
Metro general manager Richard Sarles was among the public officials who lifted a ceremonial shovel and tossed dirt.
"They will be much more environmentally friendly and, frankly for the customers who use buses out of Royal Street, they will finally see new buses," Sarles says. "We have not been able to accommodate new buses out of that facility because of height limitations."
In the words of the Federal Transit Administration's Peter Rogoff, a bus garage is "not the sexiest investment," but is important nonetheless to improving the reliability of the transit authority's bus fleet. The buses at the old garage are least 13 years old.
The new facility in Fairfax County is expected to take 20 months to complete.