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Metro Discusses Bus Service Changes

I talked with Jim Hughes, Metro's chief operating officer for operations support, about the two issues bus riders have been raising concerning the many service changes that take effect on Sunday: They didn't know about them and they don't like them.

He doesn't dispute what some people have been saying about getting caught by surprise, but Hughes and other Metro officials note that this is the end of a lengthy process that involved public hearings about the schedule changes and approval by the Metro board as part of the budget that took effect in July.

He said the transit authority intended to have notices posted in all buses and brochures available to riders, but acknowledges that this might not have been completely successful. Notices also were posted in the bus garages to alert drivers and other transit employees.

Here's a link to the brochure that describes the impact of all the changes. (Scroll down that brochure to make sure you actually see the details of the changes in each jurisdiction.)

Metro looked at ridership statistics to decide what it could do within its budget to enhance service, Hughes said. It picked out underperforming routes, based on ridership statistics, and saw ways to transfer those resources to other routes that were crowded, or where the schedules were a mess. So financially, those subtractions and additions were a wash.

But Metro also was able to budget about a million and a half dollars extra in this year's budget to improve service. That investment also is reflected in the changes that occur next week.

The changes are distributed throughout the region. If you're thinking about transportation politics -- and it's always fair that you should be -- it doesn't look to me like any one jurisdiciton comes out ahead of the other in the overall addition and subtraction.

By Robert Thomson  |  September 21, 2006; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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I'm a huge proponent of public transit and genuinely do appreciate Metro, but in this instance, I have to say that I'm increasingly annoyed with both Metro's performance and its response to criticism.

When I heard that my regular bus route was going to be discontinued, I e-mailed Metro and made two points 1) that there was no notice on the bus or at the station and 2) that Metro's Trip Planner directed users to use that bus even after the date that it would be discontinued. A few days later, I received an e-mail from Metro that said they would notify the Operations Supervisor and the Trip Planner technician. (This e-mail came 2 business days before the route was to be terminated. Also, as of this morning, there was no notice at the station and tomorrow will be the last day that this bus runs.)

This e-mail, taken in conjunction with Mr. Hughes' response, seems to suggest that the general public is supposed to follow closely the internal workings of Metro, i.e., follow the budget process and Metro board meetings. This, however, isn't expected of Metro employees: the Operations Supervisor, for instance, isn't expected to know that a bus route under his/her supervision is being terminated?

Posted by: McLean | September 21, 2006 8:05 AM | Report abuse

And the brochure STILL does not list the changes planned for the 90, 92, and 93 routes. Hmmm. Maybe they will make the tendency of buses on these routes to travel in packs official?

Posted by: 14th and U NW | September 21, 2006 5:35 PM | Report abuse

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