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Metrobus adds, subtracts service

Metro plans to start some faster bus services along popular routes in the D.C. area this December. There will be two such routes between Virginia and the District, a new limited stop service between Capitol Heights and downtown Washington and more frequent buses between Bethesda and Silver Spring.

To cover the cost of the extra service, Metro says, it will reduce service on some other routes and will cut some service around holidays when ridership traditionally falls off. Those holidays and holiday periods are Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day, the day after Thanksgiving and the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. The plan is to take effect Dec. 19.

Metro adjusts its bus schedules several times a year, adding and subtracting service, based on staff reviews, budget considerations and discussions with governments and community organizations.

Jim Hamre, who directs bus planning for Metro, said at a Metro board committee meeting in September that bus ridership on Martin Luther King Jr. Day is about half the average weekday ridership. On Veterans Day, it's 71 percent of average.

Some of the other cuts in bus service eliminate redundancy on routes -- including services provided by suburban bus agencies -- or reduce service on routes with low ridership. Sometimes the transit planners streamline a service to account for changes in traffic patterns.

Board member Chris Zimmerman of Arlington County voted against the plan at Thursday's meeting of the full board, but a majority supported the resolution. Zimmerman was concerned that the plan presented to the board did not specify the service cuts on individual routes.

The plan identifies routes on which service will be changed -- and that almost always means a cut -- but the transit staff has not presented finalized schedules for public review. Zimmerman had noted at the September committee meeting that these specific cuts were not the subject of public hearings.

A Metro document describing the bus changes says that Routes H6, N8, C2, R12, T16 and T17 will experience major service reductions.

These are the service improvements cited by Metro.

Riders on the 16F and 7E routes will be able to go directly into downtown Washington. The 13A and 13B routes will be replaced with extensions of the 16F and 7E routes. Service through the Pentagon will be preserved for riders who want to transfer to Metrorail or another bus, and also to allow other bus riders to transfer to downtown bus routes.

The 7E route will provide service through the Pentagon and across Memorial Bridge to Federal Triangle, by way of Constitution Avenue. Metro says the adjusted 16F route will begin in the Culmore neighborhood, travel along Columbia Pike to the Pentagon and then continue across the 14th Street Bridge to Federal Triangle by way of Independence Avenue. These route extensions will replace Routes 13A and 13B.

The District
Adjustments to the X Line will include limited-stop service at rush hour on the X9 on Benning Road and H Street from the Capitol Heights Metrorail station to downtown Washington. The X2 schedules are being revised. The X1 route will be extended to Foggy Bottom.

Some Greenbelt routes will be simplified and shortened. The Greenbelt City Council endorsed the changes, the transit authority said. Some of the changes will be made in coordination with The Bus, Prince George's County's local service.

Also, trips will be added to the J2 route between Silver Spring and Bethesda, a route that is crowded and slow at rush hour.

By Robert Thomson  | October 1, 2010; 6:00 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, Metrobus  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Delays on U.S. 50, Bay Bridge
Next: Pr. George's bus strike continues


The typical classism problems. Faster express routes are added to Montgomery County (Bethesda and Silver Spring) while services and routes are cut from Prince George's County (Greenbelt). Those Greenbelt routes which are being "simplified and shortened" are important routes for some lower income residents of our county. Why is it that the services always get cut from the county and residents that needs it more, but added for the wealthier county and residents who don't need it as much?

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 1, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

WMATA has been trying for YEARS (Almost 20)to eliminate the C2 East of Greenbelt Station/Beltway Plaza into Old Greenbelt. With the changes being made to the T-line, becomming G routes & The Bus (if they ever get off strike) service in the Greenbelt community will actually INCREASE in service (trips) & number of bus routes.

Posted by: Robbnitafl | October 2, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I would prefer to see the 16Y's hours extended beyond a narrow window of what they consider "peak" commuting hours.

Posted by: chunche | October 2, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Metrobus is making announcements about certain routes in MD, VA, and DC for which they are "doing a study" in order to make changes on those routes. None of the routes are the ones you mention in your story; however, if you would actually ride a Metrobus, you might hear this announcement and determine which those routes are which will be studied.

I do recall they include the 25A and 25B in Virginia.

Perhaps you should send an intern down to ride the Metrobus so you would have yet another story or perhaps you could write even more about Chris Zimemrman who loves to spend our money no matter what. The routes under study in Virginia appear to be merely a handful. I am sure you are neither going to read these comments I am submitting or following up on this information, as the only information you seem to consider authoritative in your very well balanced column is Chris Zimmerman's personal opinion and his various stands merely 3 weeks before a local election when voters will decide whether to retain him on the Arlington County Board or in the alternative, to dump him. I suppose, unlike Lindsay Layton, you think Metro's performance as well as Chris Zimmerman's performance, both on the Arlington County Board and on the Metro Board is just grand. Lindsay Layton is a reporter. I guess you are a columnist.

Ten dead passengers during Zimmerman’s tenure and I suppose you think it’s all been just grand. All those who think it's grand could do as Art Buchwald once suggested in one of his columns about the Defense budget.

Those who believe our missile defense system was accurate and that we should be happy with the way it was then should stand in a rowboat the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and see if a missile aimed at them would indeed be capable of accurately reaching its target. If the person were not hit by that missile then their opinion on Defense capability, said Buchwald, would indeed be disproved as inaccurate. If they were hit, then the person’s opinion would be proven correct in his rosy assessment. Try it sometime, Dr. G.

Posted by: eyemakeupneeded | October 5, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

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