Metrobus riders see many changes this week

December 30, 2013

Metrobus schedules changed this week on dozens of routes across the D.C. region.

The changes, which were the subject of public hearings this fall, are intended to add service and improve performance on some crowded routes while reducing service on routes that didn’t carry enough riders. In other cases, bus stops were eliminated if they were deemed too close to other stops.

Metrobus
Metrobus changes affect operations on 40 routes. (Luz Lazo/The Washington Post).

The transit authority describes the changes as “revenue neutral,” meaning that the overall cost of the additions and subtractions doesn’t affect the bottom line in the transit operating budget. These changes are not connected with Metro’s fare increase proposals for 2014.

The adjustments illustrates a fundamental fact of transit service: While rail is more popular with commuters because the trains go faster and carry more people, they can’t be rerouted easily to meet changing demands. Because buses follow the existing street pattern, the routes and schedules can shift as certain destinations prove more or less popular. The Metrobus system also shows the benefits of asking people what they want. The public hearings, along with other less formal opportunities for riders to express themselves, allowed transit managers to gauge support for changes they were considering.

Metro wound up keeping the 5A bus service between D.C. and Dulles International Airport. No changes were made in the route of the B30 bus between Greenbelt and Baltimore Washington International Marshall Airport. The transit authority also kept the existing service to National Harbor in Prince George’s County and enhanced it with a new route. The Convention Center-Nationals Park service was maintained. And the Wisconsin Avenue-Pennsylvania Avenue service was upgraded without bypassing downtown D.C. or affecting the travel pattern for Southeast neighborhoods.

Here are some highlights of the changes that did take effect this week. See a full list on Metro’s Web site.

D.C.
Pennsylvania Avenue line. An additional westbound Route 32 trip leaves Southern Avenue Station daily between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m., to reduce crowding. More late night trips have been added between Foggy Bottom and Southern Avenue on Route 32 and Naylor Road on Route 36.

Georgia Avenue line. Service on Route 70 has increased between 7 p.m. and midnight on weekdays, between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. on Saturdays and between 8 p.m. and midnight Sundays. Sunday service begins on the Route 79 MetroExtra, with buses scheduled every 15 minutes between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Benning Road-H Street line. X2 service is increased on weekdays, at midday and on Sundays.

Maryland
National Harbor line. A new route, the NH3, operates during early mornings and late nights between National Harbor and the Southern Avenue Metrorail station. New stops will be added at the intersection of Oxon Hill Road and Harborview Avenue to serve the Tanger Outlet Mall. NH1 and NH3 service toward National Harbor will go by Harborview Avenue instead of National Avenue.

New Hampshire Avenue MetroExtra. The K9 route has been extended to the federal FDA-FRC complex. The time between buses at rush hour will be 13 minutes. In the Northwest Park community, K9 buses no longer serve stops along Northampton and Southampton drives. A new K9 stop has been added on New Hampshire Avenue at Northampton Drive.

Georgia Avenue-Maryland line. The combined time between buses on Routes Y8 and Y9 will decrease to 15 minutes.

Virginia
Tysons Corner-Dunn Loring line. The 2T service has been rerouted between Dunn Loring station and downtown Vienna via Hilltop Road, Cedar Lane, Park Street and Kingsley Road. Fairfax Connector 462 will provide replacement service on portions of Cottage Street and Bowling Green Drive between Kingsley and Gallows roads. The northern terminal has changed from Tysons Westpark to Tysons Corner Center via Westpark Drive, International Drive, Tysons Boulevard and Galleria Drive.

George Mason University-Tysons Corner. Service on the 15M will be rerouted via the Vienna Metro station. Fairfax Connector 466 will provide service on Chain Bridge Road between Courthouse Road and Sutton Road. Buses will operate via Chain Bridge Road and Tysons Boulevard to and from Tysons Corner Center.

Columbia Pike-Federal Triangle line. Additional eastbound trips on the 16X will leave Culmore at 8:27 and 8:46 a.m. weekdays.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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Dana Hedgpeth · December 30, 2013