Metrobus changes this month: New routes on Wisconsin Ave., Metroway debuts

August 15
Metrobus
Metrobus changes affect operations on 40 routes. (Luz Lazo/The Washington Post)

If you take the bus on Wisconsin Avenue, pay attention because some big changes are coming to the service in the corridor.

Metro is restructuring the routes 32 and 36, which connect upper Northwest to Southeast Washington, as part of service changes going into effect Aug. 24.

About 40 bus routes across the D.C. region are affected by the changes, which includes schedule adjustments and additions such as the introduction of the system’s first rapid bus transit line in Arlington-Alexandria.

In the District, the biggest change is to the Wisconsin Avenue-Pennsylvania Avenue service, or routes 32 and 36, which provide service from the Friendship Heights Metro to Southern Avenue or Naylor Road stations. Combined, the two routes have a daily ridership of nearly 14,000 passengers.

Starting Aug. 24, these routes will serve only the southern portion of the route and three new routes — 30S, 30N and 33 — will replace the service to Wisconsin Avenue.  Here’s what you should expect:

  • Route 32 will no longer provide crosstown service between Southern Avenue and Friendship Heights. Buses will now operate between Southern Avenue and Foggy Bottom.
  • Route 30S will provide crosstown service between Southern Avenue and Friendship Heights.
  • Route 36 will no longer run between Naylor Road and Friendship Heights. Buses will now operate between Naylor Road and Foggy Bottom.
  • Route 30N will provide service from Naylor Road to Friendship Heights.
  • Route 33 will operate between Friendship Heights and Archives, replacing routes 32 and 36 service on Wisconsin Avenue.

“Don’t panic,” Metro’s director of bus planning Jim Hamre said. “Most of this is just name changing.”

If you take the 32 or 36 in downtown in the direction to the Wisconsin Avenue corridor via Georgetown, just “make sure you take the bus that says ‘Friendship Heights,’ ” Hamre said.

Riders can also choose to transfer from the 32 and 36 at several stops near Foggy Bottom to routes serving Wisconsin. They can do the same if headed to Southeast. Find other offers more details and travel options in Metro’s Web site.

Also in the District, Metro is assigning more 60-foot-long buses to the Georgia Avenue and 16th Street corridors as a strategy to increase capacity in the busy corridors.

In Maryland, Metrobus is enhancing service in the Georgia Avenue corridor in Montgomery County, making service more frequent but also reducing the number of routes, from four to two.

Under the restructure, the Y5 and Y9 will be discontinued.  The Y7 will operate seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will run from Silver Spring and the ICC Park and Ride via Leisure World.  On weekend and holidays, however, the route will only operate between Wheaton Metro Station and Leisure World.   The Y8 will serve Silver Spring and Montgomery General Hospital.

Buses will run every 20 minutes during the rush hours and every 30 at other times and weekends.  Metro says the new structure simplifies the service and will make it more frequent.

In Virginia, the new Metroway service in the Crystal City/Potomac Yard corridor launches Aug. 24 with new buses and some unique amenities for bus riders.  The first service of its kind in the Washington region, Metroway buses will operate in bus-only lanes for a portion of the route, which will provide a link between Crystal City and the growing Potomac Yard area.

Sunday service is coming to the Route 29N which travels from the King Street Old Town Metro in Alexandria to the Vienna Metro station. Buses will operate Sundays, once an hour, between 6 a.m. and 10 pm.

The Lincolnia North-Fairlington bus route will change in downtown Washington.  The 7Y will no longer serve Constitution Avenue NW between 18th Street and Federal Triangle. Northbound buses instead will run on K Street and southbound buses on I Street, serving Farragut Square, McPherson Square and Mount Vernon Square.

These changes, part of Metro’s Better Bus initiative, will help provide more reliable, frequent service, and expand hours of operation, Hamre said.

For example, riders of the 32 and 36 will experience buses every 5 to 8 minutes during peak hours.  Because the routes from Northwest to Southeast was so long, buses often were delayed. By splitting the route into two, and still maintaining service running the original routes, Metro says it will have more reliable service.

Luz Lazo writes about transportation and development. She has recently written about the challenges of bus commuting, Metro’s dark stations, and the impact of sequestration on air travel.
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