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Metro Changing Many Bus Routes

The transit authority will modify bus routes throughout the region on June 24, and that won't be the end of it. The Metro board this month will consider staff recommendations to cut serveral more routes in the Maryland suburbs. This is all in addition to the routes that will be changed temporarily because the Douglass Bridge on South Capitol Street will be shut down during July and August.

The June 24 changes should please many riders, but certainly not all. Some lines will be extended, some cut back. Some schedules will be adjusted to bring them in line with real travel times, while others will be increased to provide more service.

For example, these are the changes that take effect June 24 on the heavily used 16th Street NW Line:
"Weekday mornings, additional southbound buses will end at McPherson Square. Between 3 and 6:40 p.m., northbound S4 buses will begin at Eye and 13th streets NW. Some southbound S2 buses (from 14th and Missouri Avenue NW) will be replaced by S4 buses going to 13th and Eye streets NW in the afternoon peak hours. Additional buses will run during peak hours. Weekday schedules will change."

Meanwhile, Metro says, the X6 National Arboretum Line will be discontinued because of low ridership.

To see a full list of the changes, use this link.

The Metro staff will ask the transit authority board this month to schedule a public hearing on its proposal to eliminate the Greenbelt-Glenmont Line's C7 and C9 routes and reinvest the money in the Z lines that operate along the Route 29 corridor in Montgomery County.

Many Z line riders have complained about that service. People in the Four Corners area say they can't get aboard the crowded buses that are passing them by during the morning rush. And the schedules are erratic, they say, because the buses are caught up along with the cars in the heavy traffic heading toward downtown Silver Spring, where the Z routes terminate at the Metrorail station.

So an expansion of Z service would be most welcome. But the C routes also have their defenders. They say the line makes sense for commuters, because in the morning it takes them west, to the Glenmont Metrorail station instead of south in the heavy traffic to Silver Spring.

The trouble is, not many riders have discovered this. "The Greenbelt - Glenmont Line is the worst performing regional line in Maryland," according to a staff report prepared for the board, "and has been an underperformer since it was implemented in September 2000."

The service averages 14 passengers per bus trip, according to Metro. The average for the entire Metro fleet is 32 passengers per bus trip.

Metro says that alternative bus service is available for 96 percent of the passengers that use the C routes. (According to Metro, that's 13 passengers who get on and off between East Randolph Road and Old Columbia Pike and Cherry Hill Road at the Cherry Hill Park Campground.)

To read the staff report and see a map of the C service, use this link. No date has been set for a public hearing. That probably will come up when the full board meets on June 28. (See Metro's monthly calendar here.)

By Robert Thomson  |  June 13, 2007; 8:04 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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