Buses Are The Thing This Year
A transit authority committee this morning is looking at a staff proposal to greatly expand the region's express bus services. But it's just one of a bunch of bus developments likely to expand commuters' options.
-- Maryland is going to expand service on nine of its commuter bus routes to and from Washington.
-- Separately from its express bus proposal, Metro is working with local jurisdictions on a proposal to speed bus trips by opening up road shoulders for their use.
-- Virginia maintains that a key element of the HOT (high occupancy or toll) lane projects on the Beltway and I-95/395 is to support improvements in commuter bus services. The buses would use those express lanes for free.
-- On June 30, Metrobus is going to overhaul service on one of its longest and most popular routes across Washington in an innovative program that could serve as a model for other routes.
-- The Metro Bus Priority Corridor Plan under discussion today focuses on the highest ridership routes. In her story, Lena describes the premise this way: Metro has about 1,500 buses in its fleet; it has 171 bus lines. The 24 priority corridors represent 14 percent of the lines but serve about 220,000 daily Metrobus riders, or about 50 percent of the total.
Buses are going to play a pivotal role in easing the region's congestion. These projects aren't cheap, but they're vastly less expensive than the proposed heavy rail extension through Tysons, or the Purple Line transitway in the Maryland suburbs. Plus, they're a lot faster to set up.
The tricky part, of course, is to set up ways to speed the bus trips -- ways like dedicated lanes or traffic signal controls -- so the buses don't wind up stuck in traffic with solo drivers.
Is there a downside? Or is this the sort of thing you're looking for when you think about ditching the car and taking transit?
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