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Ashburn Celebrates Its Heritage 

On Sunday, September 9, 2018, a significant part of the history of Ashburn and Loudoun County, Virginia will rightfully be memorialized at the unveiling of an official Virginia Historical Marker recognizing Belmont Chapel. The community surrounding Ashburn is invited to join a host of community and Virginia leaders, as well as the Ambassador to the US from Liberia, at this memorable event on the grounds of St. David’s Episcopal Church and School in Ashburn.

Over 180 years ago, Margaret Mercer, a remarkable but somewhat controversial woman in her day, purchased Belmont Plantation from the Ludwell Lee family with the intention of providing a broad-based boarding school for those who could afford it, as well as providing the same opportunities for those who could not. Courses included mathematics, science, art, languages and philosophy and emphasized ethics and morality. Well known as an abolitionist, Mercer included the children of Belmont’s slaves and tenant farmers in her classes. Margaret Mercer was one of the cofounders of the African Resettlement movement, which sought to persuade free blacks to emigrate to Liberia.

In 1841, using the profits from a collective farm and proceeds of craft sales from her students, she had Belmont Chapel built, partially to expand the education availability for black and white children in the area, but also to provide a center for community worship and social activities. A lifelong Episcopalian, she invited local ministers and Bishops from Richmond to hold services there as well as weddings, baptisms and funerals. Over 250 graves which surround the Chapel ruins to this day are the final resting place of local citizens whose names are among the most well known in Loudoun County history.

The chapel eventually became a part of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia after Mercer bequeathed it to the Diocese in her will. The last service at Belmont Chapel was a wedding in 1951. Subsequently, the carriage road leading to the chapel became overgrown and the property fell into disrepair. A fire set by vandals in 1963 destroyed most of the building except for the foundation and a portion of the stone façade.

Today, Belmont Chapel is part of the grounds of St. David’s Episcopal Church and School which was established in 1990. They continue the rich legacy begun by Margaret Mercer by providing a place for children’s education and Ashburn community events.

We hope you will join us as we commemorate the foundational value of Belmont Chapel to the Ashburn and Loudoun County citizens, as well as its founder Margaret Mercer, who diligently and gracefully helped to make the Ashburn area a better place in her lifetime.

For more information, call 703-729-0570 or contact Conrad Jones


Pay $0 in Toll & Share Your Ride

With dynamic tolls in effect inside the beltway along I-66, rideshare is a great way to travel fast, save money, and avoid the tolls. There are many rideshare options for commuters to choose. Neighbors can band together to form a carpool, or individuals can join a vanpool, while the more adventurous can try their hand at slugging. On-demand services such as uberPool and Lyft Line are also available for passengers who need options on-the-go. 

Even though all these options qualify as ridesharing, there are some differences between each mode. Explore each option below and find out which works best for you.


A carpool is typically formed by a group (2+) of commuters, colleagues, or friends traveling to a similar destination, using a privately-owned vehicle. 


Commuters are picked up at Park & Ride areas by a solo driver and dropped off at a designated slug location close to the driver’s destination. Slugging allows both driver and passenger to use the I-66 Express Lanes, toll-free. 


A large group of commuters (minimum of four) that rents or leases a van and travels to a similar destination. Vanpools are only used for commuting. Employees can also use commuter benefits to finance their vanpool as well. 

On-Demand (uberPool/Lyft Line)

Uber and Lyft have dramatically transformed the way people think about travel. However, their rideshare services are limited to their pooling options (uberPool and Lyft Line). Drivers and passengers are paired through an app, based on destination, before a trip begins. Using the regular service (UberX and regular Lyft) does not qualify as ridesharing.

If you choose to carpool, slug, or vanpool, the driver will need to own an E-ZPass Flex to avoid toll fees.

Visit to download free materials and sign up for the newsletter to stay up-to-date on current and upcoming changes to I-66.


Make Your Day and Someone Else’s – Paint A Rock!

By  Mary LePore

Who would ever think that a painted rock could change a person’s day, or dare I say, a person’s life !

I can’t explain it, but there is something about sitting at a table surrounded by your friends or family painting rocks.  It’s magical!  It’s relaxing.  You become softer and sweeter.  Your shoulders relax and your mind clears.  It brings out a talent you didn’t know you had. 

You’re spending quality time with your family around the table.  You’re smiling at one another.  You’re laughing together.

Painting rocks you say? Painting rocks does all that? Like I said, I can’t explain it!

I just know when my friend Michelle from Lakeland, Florida told me about their rock painting group and how it helped bring people together, I felt something stir within my heart.  I knew I had to bring this idea home to
Maryland.  June 30 is Del-Mar Rocks 1st birthday. To get it started, I painted hundreds of rocks and drove around by myself from town to town on the Eastern Shore dropping rocks with a note explaining Del-Mar Rocks.  It caught on quick and the stories began to unfold and come in.

There were stories of love, inspiration, friendships formed, of a new-found purpose in life.  How can I explain all of this?  Does painting rocks, leaving them out for someone to find with no expectation other than that it might bring a smile to someone’s face or that it might help someone…somehow bring out the good in us?  I would like to think so.  It is a very unselfish act…purely for the other person. 

But, you know what they say…when you go out of your way to put a smile on someone’s face, the smile finds you!

Before long it seemed like ice cream shops, police departments, schools, fire departments, pizza shops, and even campgrounds were having rock
painting events.

One of my favorite stories is about a woman who had lost her mother and was mired in her grief.  One day while she and her husband were going for a ride, she told him about a song her mother would sing to her with an elephant in it.  She talked about her mother acting like an elephant. 

Arriving back they pulled into their driveway and “it” caught their eye. 
A strange object.  She got out of her car and rushed to see it.  She couldn’t believe her eyes.  She wondered, “Is this some kind of joke. Is this real?” 

For there was a painted rock with an elephant glued to it! 

She had never heard of painted rocks.  While she was gone, a member had dropped the rock not having an inkling about what it would mean.  Our grieving daughter followed the instructions on the back of her special rock and contacted me.  After I approved her member request, she shared her story.  She received hundreds of messages of encouragement and notes of love and sympathy from Del-Mar Rocks members.  Everyone told her to keep the rock and treasure it as a memento of her time spent with her mother. 

Today this beautiful lady is paying it forward by painting rocks and dropping them for people to find. No expectation, just that it would put a smile on someone’s…anyone’s…face.


New Mobility Survey Finds Over One Third of Americans are Combining Public Transit with Ridesharing

Findings reveal public transit riders are motivated first and foremost by convenience and are optimistic about their local agencies

New York – May 8th, 2018 – Masabi, the global leader in mobile ticketing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based fare collection, today published its Mass Transit Rider Research Report: Key Factors Influencing Ridership in North America. The report, based on a survey of over 1000 US residents with access to public transit services, sheds light on some of the behaviors impacting public transit ridership across the nation and explores the effect new technologies and new urban mobility services, such as ridesharing, are having on the mobility ecosystem.

The survey reveals that riders are combining shared private and public transit options and taking multimodal journeys in greater numbers than expected. It also shows that their primary driver for using public transit is convenience and as such technologies such as mobile ticketing and vehicle location tracking are having a positive effect on ridership numbers.

Key findings include:

Public transit remains underutilized

70% of Americans drive themselves on at least a weekly basis, while 40% never use public transit despite having access.

19% of respondents are using public transportation every week, with 9% now using ridesharing every week.

Citizens feel mostly optimistic about their public transit services

32% report that their local transit options are improving and 49% believe they are remaining the same.

Only 19% say the quality of their local transit is declining.

Convenience is the top priority for passengers when choosing to ride public transit

More than price (24%), travel time (8%), and even necessity (17%), convenience is the number one motivator, with 33% of respondents selecting it as their primary reason for riding.

Ridesharing is connecting public transit for many facilitating multimodal journeys

More than one third of our respondents (35%) are now combining ridesharing with public transit to reach a destination on at least an occasional basis, while 7% are combining ridesharing with public transit on at least a weekly basis.

Convenience enablers attract riders

Up to a quarter of potential riders report that convenience features such as combining modes of transit through an app, mobile ticketing and location tracking would cause, or already have caused them, to use public transit more often.

Shared mobility use increases likelihood of public transit ridership

80% of weekly drivers never use public transit, while 95.5% of weekly rideshare riders use public transit, pointing to a future of reduced car ownership in favor of public/private urban mobility options.

“This report paints a picture of the future of public transit and how it can both learn from and operate in partnership with new mobility options, to the benefit of all,” said Brian Zanghi, CEO of Masabi. “By implementing the types of convenience features found in ridesharing and other transportation alternatives and integrating multiple transit modes to deliver full first-last mile mobility, the emerging mobility ecosystem is set to provide a viable alternative to car ownership. Getting there, however, will require public/private partnerships between the agencies and mobility services that Americans already depend on every day.”​

In Q4 2017 Masabi polled 1010 Americans who have access to, but do not necessarily ride, public transit. The full report contains a breakdown of the complete survey findings as well as recommendations for public transit agencies and officials based on the results. Masabi’s report shows that the frequency with which riders are combining services is much higher than others have shown and points to the potential for more interconnected transit systems.

Masabi is the global leader in mobile ticketing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based fare collection for transit. Masabi’s Justride is a cloud-based mobility platform unifying account-based and pre-pay ticketing into a single configurable solution. Justride’s SaaS architecture, ‘Mobile First‘ approach and BYOT philosophy, allow transport providers of all sizes around the globe to deliver innovation quickly, delighting passengers and reducing costs, while increasing efficiency and data insights.

The company’s Justride SDK, the world’s first and only mobile ticketing SDK for public transport, allows partners such as Uber, Kisio, Chalo and Transit App to request fare types, make payments, and deliver visual and barcode mobile tickets to a passenger within their applications.

Masabi works in partnership with more than thirty leading transit agencies and operators in North America, Europe, Australia and around the globe, including; New York MTA, Arriva, National Express, Keolis, Thames Clippers, Boston MBTA, LA Metrolink, The Hague and Las Vegas RTC. It has offices in London, New York, Boston and Cluj and investors include Mastercard and Keolis.


Dulles Matters: New DC Airports App for Dulles International Airport Travelers

We’re living in a world that is increasingly driven by technology, and for many, that begins with a smartphone or digital tablet. No longer just a device for making phone calls or sending text messages, electronic devices serve as a hub of daily living for many Americans. With more than two million mobile Apps on the market, many of us are living in a mobile first world. 

In recognition of the importance of easily accessible information for travelers, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority recently launched the official DC Airports App, now available for download through iTunes and Google Play. If your travel plans include Dulles International Airport or Reagan National Airport, this App gives you quick access to information right from your mobile device to plan ahead and make your trip smooth and easy. It’s complete with intuitive features, including the ability to: 

  • Search for flights and receive push notifications to your mobile phone and smart watch on your flight status
  • Save flight details and your preferences for your future travel
  • Book hotels, rental cars and flights 
  • Book package travel bundles for hotel discounts
  • Find information on shopping and dining options at the airport
  • Access U.S. embassy contacts around the world while on travel

And while the DC Airports App is a useful tool for travelers through DC’s airports, the story behind the App is equally as compelling: the App found its start in the Airports Authority’s innovation lab run by the Authority’s IT organization and staffed solely with in-house developers. The Authority’s IT team brought to bear their significant expertise to develop a product that enhances the passengers’ experience.