Metro officials proposed changes in more than 60 Metrobus routes in Northern Virginia yesterday in an attempt to cut costs and improve transit service after the subway system opens a planned Orange Line extension to Vienna next summer.
Some bus routes would be revised to include stops at the four new rail stations, officials said. Bus service would be expanded in some neighborhoods near the Orange Line extension. Officials recommended eliminating or reducing service on other bus routes that parallel the rail line as a cost-cutting move.
The proposals, expected to take effect in late June, would save the financially pressed transit authority nearly $1 million a year, officials said. About 10,000 bus riders would be affected by the moves, which are scheduled to be considered at public hearings in January.
In another development yesterday, Metro officials agreed to review a proposal to build a rail station on the Yellow Line in Alexandria near the George Washington Memorial Parkway south of National Airport. The project would be the first privately financed Metro station.
Last month, Alexandria officials asked the transit agency to weigh the issue, contending that the new station would be needed to serve a complex of apartments, shops, offices and hotels recently proposed for a 38-acre site. The station's construction would be financed by the developers.
"It's definitely a possibility," said Julien G. Redele, chairman of Savage-Fogarty Companies Inc., a partner in the venture. Preliminary estimates have put the station's cost at $25 million to $40 million. Redele said extensive development would be needed to underwrite such costs.
The proposed changes in Metrobus service would affect many routes on 12 major bus lines. These lines are designated as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 22, 23, 24, 26, 28 and 38. The 29Z route would be revised and the 66X route would be eliminated.
Express bus service on I-66 would be halted, and passengers would have to transfer to the Orange Line at the new stations, built in the I-66 median. Bus service would be expanded in several areas, including Centreville, Franklin Farm, Chantilly, Vienna and Reston.
David F. Erion, a Metrobus operations specialist, said many commuters would benefit by having quicker trips, but most riders are likely to pay higher fares. The increased fares, along with the prospect of transferring between bus and subway, already have sparked controversy among some Reston residents.
In other developments:
*Metro announced plans to collect parking fees until 10 p.m. on weekdays, starting Dec. 2, at exits from lots at Shady Grove, Rockville, Twinbrook, White Flint, Grosvenor, New Carrollton, Cheverly, Landover and Huntington. No fee is now collected after 8 p.m. A $143,000 increase in annual revenue is expected.
*The authority said it will install Farecard machines that accept $10 and $20 bills at New Carrollton, Dupont Circle, Silver Spring, Ballston, Farragut North, Grosvenor, Farragut West, Huntington, Friendship Heights and McPherson Square in the next three months. The machines were recently installed at the Pentagon and Shady Grove.