It’s a move that critics of the proposal say could adversely affect numerous employees at National Harbor.
“This is going to create a big problem,” Bonilla said Monday during one of six public hearings the transit agency held this week to discuss the proposed change. “I am asking you, on behalf of my team, that you don’t make this huge mistake.”
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, in a letter, called on Metro not only to maintain the current service but to expand it to address increasing needs in rapidly growing southern Prince George’s.
Metro officials say the Prince George’s transit system, TheBus, would provide alternative service to county residents.
TheBus currently offers service only on weekdays and makes it’s last trip from National Harbor at 6:30 p.m. But Metro officials say if the plan is approved, the regional agency will provide supplemental service on weekends, holidays and late evenings from the Southern Avenue Metro station, maintaining almost the same level of service in the area.
Riders and county leaders say they believe the change would reduce the transportation options available in an area of Prince George’s long underserved by public transit. Demand for bus service in the National Harbor area is expected to grow with the November opening of Tanger Outlets, which is expected to bring 900 jobs.
About 6,000 people work at National Harbor, a 350-acre development on the shore of the Potomac near the Capital Beltway and Interstate 295.
“Don’t take away from what we have down here in Southern Maryland,” Prince George’s council member Obie Patterson (D-Fort Washington) told Metro officials Monday. “We need more public transportation. . . . We just cannot afford to lose what we got.”
In a letter dated Aug. 28 to Metro General Manager Richard Sarles, Baker said it was critical to continue the current service level from Branch Avenue and extend the route to King Street.
“In our view, the services both current and proposed to and from National Harbor are separate and distinct markets,” he wrote. Baker went on to request that the NH1 route “should be expanded to a later hour to accommodate the influx of additional employees, shoppers, and diners that will occur starting this Thanksgiving,” when Tanger Outlets opens.