The WTOP story's bus details are important.
First, back in 2013 the state studied 4 routes:
- I-81-66 (today's Breeze)
- a Crescent overlay (to Danville)
- a Norfolk
- "W&OD" RT 7 to Winchester & 66 to Martinsburg WV
The bus has been huge:
bus that launched Dec. 1, 2017 was originally projected to carry 7,125 riders a year. In its first year, it carried 19,300 riders
On 110 seats x 365 days that's 40k seats and a 50% load factor. (And 83% farebox recovery)
You will *definitely* see more bus service before we see more trains. Zero capital costs (no host road) and great patronage at low subsidy is frankly a great model for pioneering new routes particularly if you can figure out a way to get a bus into the traffic choked City (in Virginia's case that is always Washington and sometimes the tidewater).
The solution for the Virginia Breeze so far has been doing the DC Union Station tag right in the middle of the day and avoiding all rush hours
If you can time it right, your next Lynchburg-Crescent operation may be a bus on US 29 that times the rush hours strategically.
The W&OD RR has long since been paved over and functions as i-66 and the Dulles toll road and a parallel bike path. At midday travel times would be quite predictable on this and the Dulles Greenway and route 7 all the way to Winchester Virginia.
Almost every place you see a pattern of trains and wish for a better pattern of service, the bus is going to be the natural way to run a trip at a time that does not have to be traffic.
And the train can still run at those times when beating traffic is critical such as the new commuter time to trains from Newport News and Norfolk