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Riders Protest Metrobus Cuts

Mary Ann Daly of Bethesda is upset about the proposed Metrobus cuts I outlined on Sunday's Commuter page in The Post. She shared with me the testimony she has submitted to the transit authority in advance of next week's public hearings:

Metro's proposal to reduce bus service drastically comes at a time when the public needs an increase in service to minimize congestion, emissions, and transportation costs. Better service would result in increased ridership and system income. Increased ridership would decrease car use, thus congestion and pollution.
For the line I take to work, WMATA's "FY 2010 Metrobus Service Reduction Package" has "D5 MacArthur Blvd. - Georgetown Discontinue all service. Alternate routes: D6." But the D5 doesn't just serve MacArthur Blvd and Georgetown. It's a rush-hour route between outer Massachusetts Ave. in Bethesda, Sangamore Road, and Farragut Square.
The proposed "alternate" D6 doesn't go into Maryland. Any alternative for Sangamore Road riders would involve the 23 Ride-On, which runs only twice an hour. I doubt WMATA has coordinated their proposal with suburban counties to take up the slack if they discontinue service. But service is sketchy already.
Some of my neighbors have stopped using the D5 because it doesn't always come. That's right. Not late, just never, and you can't get to work on time on a bus that doesn't show. If WMATA could provide regular, reliable bus service I believe it would have adequate ridership to maintain that service, though increased public subsidies may be desirable to ensure that everyone can get where they need to go and when, as they do in other major cities in the world, without recourse to private cars.

Metro did consult with all the suburban jurisdictions to come up with the list of cuts. The District, Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church and the state of Maryland proposed $13.5 million in bus service cuts and other changes to balance Metro's budget. Collectively, they also came up with about $15.5 million in subsidy increases, but the contributions varied. Fairfax County and Fairfax City stood out for proposing to increase their transit subsidy enough so there would be no Metrobus cuts in their jurisdictions.

The Transit First! Coalition, formed this year, is calling on Gov. Martin O'Malley to find the money to avoid what the coalition describes as "drastic service cuts" in suburban Maryland. The coalition of transit advocates urges O'Malley to find additional subsidy money, as the District and Virginia jurisdictions did.

"Maryland needs to pay its fair share and match the efforts of its neighbors to avoid deep cuts to transit service in our region," Ben Ross, the coalition chairman, said in a statement.

He also noted that Montgomery County travelers are about to take a double hit, because the county's Ride On bus service also is proposing cuts to take effectd in July.

By Robert Thomson  |  April 8, 2009; 12:22 PM ET
Categories:  Metro , transit  
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Comments

Rideon service is spotty as well. More than once I've been passed by FULL buses...yet they only run two or three times an hour during rush hour. The combination of poor Metro reliability and bad Rideon service has pushed me to MARC.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | April 8, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Washington Post can you please put constant reminders out about these public hearings? People really need to come out and be heard so Metro won't go through with some of the proposed cuts. Especially Montgomery and Prince George's County's. People in those two county's will be the hardest hit if they don't speak up and voice their opinions. I just fear a lot of people that ride the bus don't read those little notices the Metro post on the buses. Thanks

Posted by: raidersajsr | April 13, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

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