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Metro Will Get Earful Tonight on Bus Cuts

Metrobus.jpg
The 79 bus is the good trend. Riders will hear about the bad tonight. (Thomson)

This spring and summer, bus riders in the Washington area are likely to see the biggest cuts back in service in many years. Metro and many of the suburban lines say they don't have to revenue to sustain all the services, despite their growing popularity.

So while we've seen some great new additions, such as the Metro Extra pictured above, or the new S9 on 16th Street NW, many lines are about to take hits.

For Metrobus, the proposed cuts are concentrated in Maryland. Many other jurisdictions that make up the Metro service area came up with more subsidy money to either eliminate or reduce the cuts in their areas.

Tonight, the transit authority begins its public hearings on the cuts with sessions in Vienna and Hyattsville. The location in Prince George's means the Hyattsville hearing is likely to be particularly lively because of all the lines affected there. People don't like to be told that their buses can be cut because of low ridership. Many of them have come to depend on these buses.

The Transit First! Coalition, a riders' advocacy group, and several Prince George's Council members called on Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley as well as other regional leaders to make up Metro's budget gap rather than see the service cut.

Council member Eric Olson said this in a statement from Transit First!: "If transit is less convenient, more people will be forced to drive, adding to traffic congestion. For those who depend on transit, they could be stranded. We need to find the extra dollars to prevent such harmful cuts,"

Council member Will Campos stated: "These deep reductions to transit service will cut off workers from jobs, and even more residents from opportunities and daily necessities."

Use this link to see the Post Commuter page where I listed the proposed cuts and several fare increases on specific routes.

There are six Metro budget hearings this week, all starting at 6:30 p.m.:
* Tonight, at First United Methodist Church, Fellowship Hall, 6201 Belcrest Road in Hyattsville.
* Tonight, at Marshall Road Elementary School Cafeteria, 730 Marshall Road SW in Vienna.
* Tuesday, at First Baptist Church of Wheaton, 10914 Georgia Ave. in Wheaton.
* Wednesday, at Arlington County Government, #1 Courthouse Plaza, 2100 Clarendon Boulevard, County Board Room, 3rd Floor, in Arlington.
* Wednesday, at St. Francis Xavier Church, Bailey Room, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. SE in Washington.
* Friday, at Metro Headquarters, 600 Fifth St. NW in Washington.

By Robert Thomson  |  April 13, 2009; 10:31 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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