Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bicyclists Could be Impacted by Bus Route Changes

Image: Washington Post/Dr Gridlock
WMATA is proposing several Metrobus route changes, including eliminating service on some routes. Bicyclists affected by these changes have until Monday, February 6, 2017 to comment. There are several ways to voice your opinion on the FY2018 proposed budget. From the WABA website:
Tell us what you think!
Provide your feedback by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, February 6, 2017:
  • Take the survey online. You may also download and fill out the survey then drop it in the survey collection bins near the faregates at your nearest Metrorail station.
  • Meet with Metro staff at Metrorail stations to ask questions, take the survey and provide feedback.
  • Attend an open house from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and public hearing starting at 5:00 p.m. at Metro Headquarters, 600 5th Street NW, Washington DC on Monday, January 30, 2017. Speaker registration is onsite only and will close at 9:00 p.m.Public feedback will be provided to Metro's Board of Directors in March 2017 as part of the final decision making process. Any Board-approved fare or service changes will begin on July 1, 2017.
See the Dr. Gridlock column, Metro budget proposal kills 14 bus lines. For details of the proposed changes see the WMATA page Fiscal Year 2018 proposed service adjustments

A number of bicyclists and pedestrians are going to be directly affected by the budget plans and revisions, in particular the reduction in bus routes and increase in fares. We know that if you buses are more affordable, ridership increases. One minor direct example of this has occurred in 2016 in Annandale, where, at least from anecdotal evidence, the 16 series from the Pentagon to Annandale along Columbia Pike is not as crowded as it used to be. Why? WMATA lowered the price of the 29C/G bus (Pentagon-Annandale-via 395) from Express levels ($4 presently, proposed to be $4.25) to Local levels ($1.75 presently, proposed to be $2.00). Curiously, people seem to prefer a faster inexpensive bus to a slower inexpensive bus.

The 29C/G bus is now frequently standing-room only on the way to the Pentagon and is frequently full on the way back to Annandale. It probably has picked up ridership from some of the long-haul 16 Annandale lines, like the 16A/B/E/L lines, as well as some from the 29K/N lines to the King Street metro. It may have increased ridership in general as well. It also may have picked up ridership from the 17A/B/M routes that parallel some of the route. Those 17 A/B/M routes, by the way, remain at the Express $4 fare, and, based on ridership numbers, are among the routes proposed to be cut.

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