BY NEPHY LALAURANT
This past year, due to the inconvenient hours of operation, Devillier began a petition on Change.org to increase the hours and days the VRE runs in order to accommodate the University of Mary Washington community’s needs.
Without the VRE, Devilliers and many other students who do not have a vehicle on campus, would have to find alternative forms of travel.
“Just thinking about the number of hours I spent sitting in traffic, getting angry, ruining my whole day and ruining my time with people,” said Devillers. “It takes away from my life.”
As of today, Devillier has garnered up to 500 signatures for his petition and plans on receiving many more.
“I started this petition out of anger, really. I got 50 people to sign it at first, and I was excited about that, you know, that was just cool to do because I sign petitions regularly,” said Devilliers. “And then I was contacted by my environmental science professor and she said we could get more signatures. All of a sudden I started getting signatures from Arlington, D.C., Maryland, Loudon Country, Fairfax County even West Virginia. So it kind of just exploded from there.”
Located in Northern Virginia, the VRE is a mass commuting service that began in the summer of 1992. It connects the suburbs of Northern Virginia, to Union Station in Washington, D.C. The VRE runs on two major lines: the Fredericksburg line (north to south) and the Manassas line (east to west). On the Fredericksburg line, the train departs north in the morning and heads south in the evening. There are currently no other options for Fredericksburg VRE patrons. As of 2013, approximately 18,878 passengers ride the VRE daily.
According to an Eagle Eye press release, Devilliers is looking to expand the railways services by having the VRE “run one reverse train during weekday mornings and evening and at least two trains on Saturday and Sunday.” To increase awareness and support, Devillier has attended VRE board meetings to promote his cause in hopes that the board will seriously look into the issue.
“That went really well. Basically I just had three minutes to give my argument to the board. It was pretty nerve racking, but it was really exciting and they all responded to it really well, really positively,” said Devilliers. “Later that day in the meeting they approved a 30 year plan to eventually have weekend service and reverse flow.”
As explained in a report on greatergreaterwashington.org, the VRE approved a $2.68 billion improvement plan to increase railway services. Over the course of the next 30 years they will construct a new bridge over the Potomac River, allowing for more efficient costs, travels and operation hours. An improvement plan such as this has not been proposed since 2004.
In March, Devilliers will host an event to further promote the cause. On Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. Devilliers will meet with Doug Searcy, vice president of student affairs, to request his attendance along with UMW President Richard Hurley. Currently, logistics for the event have not been set in stone.