The Metro transit authority has officially suggested changes in about a dozen bus routes, chiefly in the Northwest section of the District, in an attempt to save an estimated $800,000 a year for D.C. taxpayers.
The most important changes would include:
Cutting short the downtown section of the heavily traveled 16th Street bus line to end the route at McPherson Square, 15th and K streets NW, instead of at Federal Triangle.
Discontinuing the section of the No. 38 bus line between Georgetown and Union Station. That would eliminate all direct bus service linking North Arlington and downtown Washington, as well as the heart of the Georgetown business area and the busy K Street office corridor.
Discontinuing the section of the £2 bus line on Connecticut Avenue NW north of Van Ness Street. That would reduce the frequency of service between Van Ness and Chevy Chase Circle, but the section would continue to be served by £4, £6 and £8 buses.
The cutbacks are part of a cost-saving package proposed by the D.C. government to Metro, which has scheduled a public hearing for 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday at its headquarters, 600 Fifth St. NW. A decision on the changes will be made later by the Metro board.
For District riders, and some who board the buses at Silver Spring, the most radical change would be the cutback of the 16th Street bus line, which has operated to Federal Triangle since it was established in the 1920s.
The all-day routes, S2 and S4, as well as two rush-hour routes S3 and S5, would terminate at McPherson Square, and would no longer continue to 11th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. There would be no change in one rush-hour route, S1, which goes to Potomac Park.
The No. 38 bus line would be rerouted to connect the Glover Park neighborhood north of Georgetown with Rosslyn and Ballston. The line now runs from Union Station to the Ballston subway station in Arlington via Rosslyn and Key Bridge, and competes to some extent with the subway.
Anthony Rachal, assistant director of the D.C. Transportation Department, said Virginians get the greatest benefit from this line, while District taxpayers subsidize it heavily. The proposed changes would cut the subsidy by $265,000, he said.
Other changes to be considered at the hearing are:
Terminating the No. 37 (Wisconsin Avenue) rush-hour bus at Farragut Square instead of Union Station.
Abandoning the B9 bus route from the Carter Barron fringe parking lot to Federal Triangle and the S7 from Carter Barron to Crystal City.
Eliminating Sunday service before 7 a.m. and after 9 p.m. on the G2 (P Street) crosstown bus line.
Terminating the £7 (Connecticut Avenue) rush-hour express bus at McPherson Square instead of Federal Triangle.
Abandoning the little-used T5 (Montgomery Express) bus line which runs outbound in the morning from the Cardozo area of Washington to Montgomery Mall and inbound in the evening.