Ix to NYC: Starlight finds its sweet spot

Two weeks ago, the Hook reported that the Starlight Express was ready to expand its popular bus route to New York with more frequent service, cheaper fares, and daily service to Dunn Loring Metro station in Fairfax. All it needed was a new departure location.

Because of that story, the Starlight has found a new home  after one of its founders, Oliver Kuttner, brought it to the attention of his brother, who runs one of his family's projects called the IX Project, a former textile mill between Monticello and Elliott avenues.

"We discussed it and thought it was a good idea,"  says Fabian Kuttner, an owner of the Ix building.

He calls the collaboration with A. Goff Limousine, which bought the Starlight in 2010, a natural fit.

"We have a lot of under-utilized space and lots of parking," he says. "It's good for the city, and I really want people to know where this beautiful building is. If we wanted to have a music festival with 10,000 people, we have the space."

Not only is there lots of parking, but it's well-lighted parking, which had been a concern for some customers at the carrier's current Market Street location, says Starlight owner Dan Goff.

Starting June 28, the service will begin departing from 955 Second Street SE, where parking will cost $1 a day.

The company is adding another Charlottesville stop at 2324 India Road off Seminole Trail and north of Hydraulic Road. Goff likes the stop because it's near the Hampton Inn, behind Kmart Garden Center, and across for the under-construction Stonefield.

Passengers will like the fare reduction. The highest adult fare will be $69, says Goff, while students, military and senior passengers can get a $49 ticket.

Sometime in July, the Starlight will begin daily service to DC via the Dunn Loring station.

"If the ridership warrants, we'll add daily service to New York City," says Goff.

"I am so happy," says Goff, who signed off on the deal June 14 at his new Charlottesville terminus. And in the wake of US Airways slashing three daily flights to New York, the option of the Starlight is looking more like a life ring to Big Apple-bound travelers.


Still cheaper, more comfortable, and easier to take Amtrak if you order your tickets a few weeks in advance. ($120 R/T)

Aldous: That is the lowest cost, and therefore worst schedule and will likely include a bus from cville to dc.

For the weekend I just looked at Aug 10 - Aug 12 to get a 120 RT my schedule would get me to new york at 12:10am on saturday and leaving at 3am on sunday morning. giving me 27 hours in nyc for 120.

A more realistic schedule (and one i imagine will more closely match starlight) would cost close to 300 and would get me to nyc at 1:50 on friday and leaves nyc at 2:15pm.

Aldous Snow:

Actually, you can make a round trip from Charlottesville to DC via Amtrak for as little as $44 if you book ahead. Last year, I made a dozen Library of Congress research day trips for between $50 and $60 per round trip. When days were longer, I took the Crescent both ways -- 7:09 am up, 6:30 pm back. When dark fell earlier, I took the 7:09 Crescent up and the 5:15-or-so Northeastern Regional back. Going up, the train never arrived late, though it often arrived early. Coming back, it often arrived late, but usually by no more than half an hour -- an inconvenience somewhat offset by wi/fi on board the Northeast Regional. It was an efficient way to get work done and an enjoyable way to see off highway Virginia.