Concern about Metrobus Changes
I'm hearing from some Metrobus riders who didn't realize that their last commuter trips on those lines will occur Friday. Metro is making many changes in routes throughout the region, effective on Sunday.
These are the changes that Lena Sun, The Post reporter who covers Metro, wrote about in February. This was the first paragraph of Lena's story:
"Metro officials proposed a major overhaul of the region's bus system yesterday, scrapping service on routes with few riders, reducing crowding on heavily traveled routes and skipping some stops to speed trips along certain congested corridors."
Metro has a list of the affected lines on its Web site, along with a copy of the brochure that outlines the specific changes on each route. Some are gaining service while others are either losing service or being discontinued altogether.
The riders I've heard from are upset not only about losing their routes but about not realizing this was happening. Metro did hold hearings on this before making its decisions, and the notice has been up on the Web site for a couple of weeks. But the riders, who aren't required to check Metro's Web site or even to read The Washington Post, say there were no signs on the buses or at the stations and shelters and they didn't hear any announcements. They say that when they heard rumors about the cancellations and asked the drivers, even the drivers weren't sure.
Metro is pursing a theory that many of us can support: Put the buses where the riders are. But for those of us who are transit advocates, this is a bad scene: I'm talking about people who love their bus routes to work and don't want to give them up without a fight.
I talked with Patricia Leslie, who commutes from Tysons to L'Enfant Plaza for her job at the Department of Education. She takes the 5B for the entire trip and loves it. She says it's a swell bus, with good seating, and it stops only in Rosslyn along the way. Takes a half hour. She counted 16 passengers on a recent trip.
Last week, a fellow rider heard it would be discontinued, but the drivers said they didn't know. She found it on Metro's Web site. She says she'd be willing to pay double the $1.25 fare to keep it going. Probably what she'll have to do next week is take the bus to West Falls Church Station and take a train to L'Enfant Plaza. The trip will cost her a couple of dollars more each way, but she says it's not the economics. It's the convenience and comfort. She really doesn't want to join the Orange Crush at West Falls Church.
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