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Now: Metro Board Wrestling With Bus Cuts

The board this morning has begun a discussion of what bus service cuts to propose to the public to help balance the transit budget that takes effect in July.

Maryland, Virginia and D.C. representatives all have come to this morning's meeting at Metro headquarters with proposals for how they would close their jurisdiction's portion of the overall budget gap of $29 million for fiscal 2010.

These are all proposals, at the moment. In fact, even by the end of today's meetings, they'll still be proposals. The change will be that the board has agreed to let the public review them. There are no proposals on the table to change Metrorail service.

Ten bus lines are on the list for complete elimination. Seventeen routes or route segments are on the list for elimination or reduction. Six routes could be up for fare increases. Fourteen lines could see wider gaps between bus arrival times. Meanwhile, Metro will consider taking over weekend bus service on three lines that is now provided by Montgomery County's Ride On buses. (Metrobus already provides the weekday service on those lines.)

These are the lines by jurisdiction and category:
Line elimination in DC: Fairfax Village-Naylor Road (M2), MacArthur Boulevard-Georgetown (D5)

Lines for elimination in Maryland: Bowie-New Carrollton (B27), Crofton-New Carrollton (B29, B31), Hillcrest Heights (C12, C14), Greenbelt-Glenmont (C7, C9), Greenbelt-Fort Totten (R3), Indian Head Highway (W15)

Lines for elimination in Virginia: Ballston-Pentagon (24P), Pentagon-Army/Navy-Shirley Park (22B)

Routes or route segments for elimination:
Maryland: C4, Greenbelt-Twinbrook; C8, College Park-White Flint; L7, Connecticut Avenue; Q2, Veirs Mill Road; J5, Twinbrook-Silver Spring; P17-19, Oxon Hill-Fort Washington; W13-14, Bock Road; Z2, Colesville-Ashton.

What route segments would be affected:
C4: Eliminate the route west of Wheaton.
C8: Eliminate off peak and Saturday service.
L7: Eliminate L7, increase L8.
Q2: Eliminate service south of heaton and north of Montgomery College.
J5: Reroute to local streets.
P17-19: Cut back to Southern Avenue Station.
W13-14: Cut back to Southern Avenue Station.
Z2: Eliminate midday service and all Saturday service north of White Oak.

Virginia: 10A,E, Huntington Towers-Pentagon; 21A-F, Landmark-Pentagon; 21A-F, Landmark-Pentagon; 26A,E,W, Falls Church

What route segments would be affected:
10A-E: Eliminate 10A weekday after 9 p.m. and all day weekends. Keep 10E.
21A-F: Restructure.
26A,E,W: Eliminate all service or raise fares.

Fare increases:
Maryland: J7, J9, the I-270 Express (convert from local fare to express), W19, Indian Head Express,(convert from local fare to express fare)

Virginia: 26A, E, W, Falls Church (raise from 50 cents to $1.35..

Increase gap between bus arrivals, by line:
District: 14th Street, North Capitol Street, U Street-Garfield, Crosstown (H2-4), Brookland-Fort Lincoln, Massachusetts Avenue (N2-6), 16th Street (S2-4), Minnesota Avenue-M Street, Benning Road-H Street

MLK Jr Highway (A12), Marlboro Pike, Laurel-Burtonsville Express, Greencastle-Briggs Chaney Express

Virginia: Lincolnia-North Fairlington

Metro would take over these weekend routes from Ride On: L8, T2, Z2

A board committee is just beginning to review these proposals. I'll describe their progress in the next entry. Here's a link to a portion of the document that the board is looking at right now.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 26, 2009; 10:20 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Next: Now: Metro Board to Consider Cuts vs. Fare Increase


This has been the trend over the past couple of years. Maybe we've come to the end of Metro. I see no reason to keep subsidizing a struggling company. Poor decision after poor decision has lead Metro to the brink. I know we need mass transit but maybe this isn't the right way.

Posted by: askgees | March 26, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Dear Dr. G: what will replace the D5 on MacArthur Blvd? I know that's almost the longest, and therefore most untimely, unreliable line Metro operates. But what are people who live there going to do? There's no parking at the closest Metro train stations. Is this for real??

Posted by: commonsense101 | March 26, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

The D5 is a rush hour only route that is paralleled along the nearly all of its route by other buses, including Ride On routes 23 and 29 and Metrobus route D6. Unless the D5 generates significant ridership along Sangamore Road and Massachusetts Avenue, which is the only part of the route where the overlapping bus routes do not go directly downtown. There would be a few stops on Macarthur Boulevard south of Q Street that would lose all service, but they are within walking distance of stops on the D6 route.

Posted by: FHMetro | March 26, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: As FHMetro is pointing out above, the transit authority staff picked routes for elimination where there is at least some alternative service. Some riders are going to suffer if these cuts go through, but the staff is saying it picked the routes that were likely to affect the fewest travelers.

Of course, if you're one of the travelers, that's cold comfort.

Posted by: rtthomson1 | March 26, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

The cuts are most severe in Maryland where about $10 million of the $13 million in cuts is coming from. Many of the proposed eliminations and cutbacks are on regional routes which were supposed to insure that residents of one jurisdiction could reach major activity centers in other jurisdictions. A major problem with this decision is that DC & VA have let Maryland decide which regional routes it will cut--VA & DC don't really care because under the subsidy formula--they get a credit for Maryland cutting service. It's time to seriously consider dedicated funding for WMATA bus & rail operations--it would help put decisions on service additions/deletions on a more rational basis, instead of the whims or financial position of a particular jurisdiction.

Posted by: kreeggo | March 26, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Has Metro lost its mind? I ride the J9 bus regularly, becuase it's the one way I can get to work relatively cheaply, even though it does take longer to commute than a combination of Metro and other local bus. The buses are normally packed, and most of the commuters take advantage of the Park N Ride lots at Lakeforest and near I-270. If Metro decides to raise the fare on this route from $1.25 to $3.00 it's going to kill it. And where's the fairness? The Ride-On 70 route is longer (it goes to Germantown as opposed to the J9 which goes to Montgomery Village) and insofar as I can tell is not up for reclassification.

Posted by: ms7136a | March 27, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Whoa, what? The J9 having its fare increased is ridiculous. The reason those buses are often standing room only is because it's $1.25 to go from Lakeforest to Bethesda, and you can get there in 20-40 minutes, depending on traffic. The comparable Ride On/Metrorail combo is much more than that. I'm sorry, but I see no reason for that to happen unless Metro is really in the mood to kill off a very useful route.

I'm not even going to address the changing of the Q2 route, as it makes not one bit of sense.

Posted by: pikamander007 | March 30, 2009 1:46 AM | Report abuse

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