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Metro planning budget-balancing bus cuts

Every bureaucracy has its rules, regulations and systems that define how it can proceed in a given situation. Under transit authority rules guiding the upcoming budget cuts, the changes proposed in Metrobus operations are "minor adjustments." Placing them in that category would allow Metro to impose them relatively quickly and without public hearings.

The adjustments under consideration will indeed look minor, unless you depend on that particular bus route, in which case, the changes disrupt your life in a major way.

Here's a rundown of the Metrobus changes that General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. is planning. The changes will be reviewed by the Metro board on Thursday. [For a look at the Metrorail proposals, see this posting.]

Service cut summary
These changes, planned for the end of March, would save Metro $1.082 million.
-- Lengthen the gap between buses or eliminate trips on 31 lines with low ridership.
-- Eliminate four routes or segments of routes where ridership is low.
-- Restructure service on three lines.
-- Make operations more efficient on up to a dozen lines through measures that include eliminating some bus stops.

Here's a more specific look at routes that would be affected by those changes.

Increasing gaps and trip elimination
-- Increasing the gap between buses during peak periods on weekdays: Routes 70, 80, 94, 52, 53, 54, B8, G2, G8, H8, L1/2, P6, J11/12,16G,H,W
-- Increasing the gap between buses during off peak hours: H6, 62, 64, 16G
-- Weekend Headway Widening 64 G2 N6 W2,3 16G
-- Eliminate some weekday trips: B24, C11, C22, C26, C4
D12,14 F13 F2 J11,12 J4 K6 P12 R2 R4 T2 V12
-- Eliminate weekend trips: D12/14, F2, J11/12, K6, P12, R2, R4, V12

Route segment elimination
-- 80: Every second trip to Kennedy Center
-- 16G: Extension to Crystal City
-- 52, 53, 54: Every third trip to L'Enfant Plaza
- J1: Cut back to Medical Center Station

Restructure, reroute service
-- Changes are planned on Routes 18P, 28X and N2/4/6.
-- Some bus stops would be eliminated on lines in the District, Maryland and Virginia.

I mentioned that Metro has its rules, like any bureaucracy, and that's going to affect how soon these changes will occur. The changes in bus routes have to be designed by planners and conveyed to operations managers by mid February. Meetings will then be scheduled with employees in the bus divisions and with the union representing the transit workers. The changes will take effect on Sunday, March 28.

The budget balancing described here is for the fiscal year that ends June 30. But given the even bigger budget problems looming for the year that starts July 1, it's highly unlikely that these changes would be rescinded when the new budget year starts.

How will this affect your bus travels? Are there alternative cuts you would make?

By Robert Thomson  |  January 5, 2010; 10:21 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrobus  
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Perhaps fewer buses will mean less obesity among the poor since they'll have to walk more.

Posted by: kenk3 | January 5, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I suppose you aren't poor, are you kenk3?

Posted by: rebeccak1 | January 5, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

The L1 only runs in the peak direction during peak hours.

There are 5-6 trips south in the morning and afternoon. It's always full. They should be adding buses, not removing them!

Posted by: yell53 | January 5, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Using public transporation when can is being a responsible citizen. Dopes like kink3 attach a stigma to riders.

Posted by: dcshaky | January 5, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I regularly don't pay for my bus trip because Metro Smartrip readers are not functioning properly. Perhaps Metro officials should consider maintaining the equipment better in order to fill some of these budget gaps. Additionally, Metro officials are probably making decisions to alter routes based upon poor data since many riders aren't properly accounted for each day.

Posted by: kyleindc | January 5, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Definitely need to get rid of more bus stops. Having a bus stop on every block is lazy and slows down the whole system.

Oh, and maybe take a page out of the MetroFail handbook and make busses smaller and more infrequent. Rickshaws, maybe.

Posted by: member5 | January 5, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Would like to see local jurisdictions cooperate with bus lanes on major arteries like 16th St, 14th St, 7th St, Rhode Island Ave, Benning Road, Pennsylvania Ave, Viers Mill Road, University Blvd, Route 7, U.S 1 (MD & VA). Could run the same headways with fewer buses and the trip would be faster for bus patrons.

Posted by: kreeggo | January 5, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

it would be nice to cut the number of bus stop within DC, there are so many stops and some stops are barely a block apart

Posted by: JeroRobson1 | January 5, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

The L1 and H1 already run 20-25 minutes apart. The H1 is rarely on schedule. The buses are full in the mornings. And Metro wants to makes things worse? Fixing the fare boxes in the buses would not only collect money, it would show a passenger count.

As to frequent bus stops, I like them. I see enough people every day who have difficulty walking (and been there myself after a broken ankle) that another block for them would be a hardship.

Posted by: busgirl1 | January 6, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

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