Metro Planning New Express Bus
Metrobus is planning to add a rush-hour express service along 16th Street NW to speed up the commute and ease congestion along the third busiest line in the bus system. The new route, called the S9, will run between Silver Spring and downtown Washington.
This concept is similar to the Metro Extra service on Georgia Avenue, a limited-stop bus run that has proved popular.
The 16th Street version could begin by the end of March if it gets approval from the full Metro board later this month. It passed a board committee this morning.
The 16th Street bus line, which consists of the S1, S2 and S4, carries 16,000 riders a day and has all the chronic problems of long-distance bus routes that must pass through heavy traffic congestion. Riders complain that the buses are often late and when they do come, they come three at once.
The new service would use a distinctive looking bus: a blue and silver hybrid-electric, with "express" branding, the transit authority said. Instead of making 82 stops from the Silver Spring Metro station to Federal Triangle or Potomac Park, the express would make 16 stops between Silver Spring Station and McPherson Square. Buses would be scheduled to arrive every 10 minutes during morning and evening rush hours. That should save six to eight minutes on travel times over the entire route.
This is a demonstration project, costing about $3.6 million over the next two years. The District of Columbia would pay for it. If the project is successful, it could eventually be incorporated into the regular Metro budget.
This new service is the result of a study similar to many others now underway at Metro, designed to get both the community and the Metro staff involved in improving bus service.
Planners hope that at some point, these special buses can use a technology that gives them priority at traffic signals, to speed the trips to and from downtown. Another plan would create bus lanes along certain heavily used corridors.
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