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Three Plans for Better Bus Service

Metro is planning three improvements in its bus service that make a lot of sense.

MetroExpress stop.jpg Metro Extra bus at a downtown stop. (Robert Thomson)

-- Expand the service that links Union Station and the Navy Yard Station. The N22 line now shuttles commuters between Union Station, Eastern Market and the rapidly developing area around the Navy Yard near the Anacostia Waterfront. When the 41,000 seat Nationals Park opens at the end of March, there will be increased pressure on Metro to provide transportation for fans, and the Green Line can't do it all.

The plan is to add night and weekend service on the N22, so fans can connect directly to the Red Line at Union Station or pick up the Blue and Orange Lines at Eastern Market. The buses would run every 10 minutes.

-- Expand service on Georgia Avenue's Metro Extra. The route now provides rush period passengers with a limited stop service. Several routes were operating along Georgia Avenue when the Metro Extra (Metrobus Route 79) started in March. But the new route was designed to fill the needs of people who wanted a quicker trip along the avenue. According to Metro, the service has been popular and it worked. Long-distance riders save about 20 percent in the time of their trips because the stops are spaced about a half mile apart.

The plan is to expand the service into off-peak times as well. So the Metro Extra buses would run every 12 minutes between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. and between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., while continuing their rush period service.

-- Create a daily, limited stop service linking the District with National Harbor. The huge new development on the Potomac River shore of Prince George's County, which is scheduled to partly open in March, needs a timely bus connection to the city.

The plan is to have this NH-1 Route connect National Harbor with Southern Avenue Metrorail station and the rest of the Metrobus system. It would operate about every 20 minutes during the rush periods and every 30 minutes at other times. The buses would run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Once the second span of the new Wilson Bridge opens this summer, the route could be extended from National Harbor to King Street Metrorail station in Alexandria as a Metro Extra service.

All of these routes would be subsidized by the jurisdictions involved. (The fares on buses and subways don't cover the cost of the trips.) The increased subsidy makes sense, because in each case, the routes not only will be important people movers but also aid in regenerating older communities, in the cases of Georgia Avenue and the Anacostia waterfront and creating a new one, at National Harbor.

The new services would start in March if the transit authority board approves of them this month.

By Robert Thomson  |  February 14, 2008; 5:26 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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