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Many Changes Coming in Bus Services

Local bus services in the region's two biggest jurisdictions are taking a hit because of the economy. In Montgomery County, Ride on is scheduled to cut some service in two weeks. The county also is holding a hearing in Rockville at 6:30 Tuesday night on a second round of cuts that would occur in July. See those details here.

A week from today, Fairfax County will begin a series of hearings on proposed cuts in its 2010 budget that include reductions in the Fairfax Connector service. The proposals include cutting more than a dozen routes and reducing the frequency of the buses on others. See a full list at this link.

Metro, of course, is in the midst of its own budget struggles, and we should have a clearer picture this Thursday on how that will work out for bus riders. The transit authority staff made many proposals for bus cuts, and the board has been struggling to figure out ways around them.

Separately from all that, watch for a round of Metrobus changes coming on March 29. This isn't strictly economics. Several times a year, Metro revises schedules across the region, cutting a run, adjusting a schedule, or even adding a service.

See the full list here. But these are a couple of highlights:

* Welcome the S9, an express on 16th Street NW between Silver Spring and McPherson Square. Buses will run every 10 minutes during the morning and evening rushes. People who have waited in long lines for who knows how long at stops dowtown and along 16th Street to board already crowded buses can't wait to see this. The new service is the result of a study in which transit officials worked with riders to plan something that would ease the chronic problems of erratic schedules, bus bunching and crowding.

* Gone as of March 29: Route 98, linking Adams Morgan and the U Street NW Corridor. Metro and the District Department of Transportation have been working together on this. Coming in April is a new Circulator bus route that also will link the Adams Morgan and U Street entertainment areas, but it won't mimic the route of the 98. Both Metro and DDOT tell me they believe there still will be adequate Metrobus service in that corridor.

* A longer day for the NH1, the National Harbor Line: Service will be extended so that the last bus leaves Southern Avenue Metro station at 10:39 p.m. The 10:39 p.m. bus also will serve the employee entrance at the rear of the Gaylord National Resort. The last bus from National Harbor also will serve the employee entrance at about 11 p.m. The idea is to allow riders to transfer at Southern Avenue to the last Green Line train going toward Greenbelt.

* REX, the Richmond Highway Express service, will be modified: During peak hours, the schedule for arrivals and departures at King Street Station will be adjusted by up to five minutes.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 23, 2009; 10:10 AM ET
Categories:  transit  
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Comments

I ride Ride On Route 18 daily. It is scheduled for service reductions and there are further changes on the table. Each week, at least 3 of my 10 trips are on buses that have malfunctioning fareboxes or that have no fareboxes at all. I know that the funding problems are severe and that the farebox revenue does not cover all operating costs, but I wonder how much revenue is being lost this way - surely my route is not the only one suffering from such problems.

Posted by: sea1943 | March 23, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

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