The Reston Commuter Bus System is described as an example of a technically and financially sound transportation system being threatened by institutional policies that were originally designed to preserve public transportation. Details of the start of the service are given. The service was started in 1968 and was designed to serve commuters effectively and provide a realistic alternative to driving. By 1972 the service attratcted more than 1,000 people (2,000 daily trips). However, transit ridership in the Washington area was declining and public acquisition was imminent. In 1973, the private carrier that served Reston was taken over by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The WMATA pricing policies and the subsidizing of the Commuter System by Fairfax County are described. In 1975 the Reston Commuter Bus found a private carrier, Colonial Transit, which proposed to provide buses at only 62 percent of WMATA's price. Reston Commuter Bus had to prove to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission (WMATC) that there was a public need for Colonial to provide the service. The arguments for and against this contention are presented. The certificate of public convience and necessity was issued in September 1975. It is noted in conclusion that regulatory procedures can serve to promote as well as serve as a check and balance on transit authorities. Also, since the justification for WMATA's opposition to Colonial Transit was based on the concept of a regional approach to public transit, this concept needs to be reexamined.

  • Record URL:
  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper appeared in Transportation Research Board Special Report No. 181, Urban Transportation Economics. It contains proceedings of Five Workshops on Pricing Alternatives, Economic Regulations, Labor Issues, Marketing, and Government Financing Responsibilities held by Transportation Research Board. Sponsored by Office of the Secretary, Federal Highway Administration, and Urban Mass Transportation Administration of DOT; Environmental Protection Agency; and Federal Energy Administration. Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Reimer, Richard
  • Publication Date: 1978

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Pagination: pp 95-97
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00176500
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Nov 14 1981 12:00AM