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Metro staff recommends keeping the D.C.-Dulles Airport bus

The District asked Metro to consider ending the bus route between downtown D.C. and Dulles Airport once the new Silver Line station opens at Wiehle Avenue in the Reston area. (Robert Thomson/The Washington Post)

The transit authority’s staff plans to recommend changes in some Metrobus routes across the D.C. region, but not the cancellation of the bus between L’Enfant Plaza and Dulles International Airport.

Dropping the Metrobus 5A line when the first phase of Metro’s Silver Line opens was among the ideas under review at a series of transit hearings this fall. These hearings are separate from Metro’s budget process. The chief goal is to put the current fleet of buses where it will be most useful, rather than to save money on overall operations.

The District Department of Transportation asked Metro to consider ending 5A service, or at least modifying it, to avoid a duplication of service once the first phase of the new rail line opens in 2014.

Travelers who wrote to me about the issue supported keeping the airport bus, and Metro got that same sort of feedback. Many riders said they see the 5A as a convenient, one-seat link with the airport. Those who opposed the move didn’t like the idea of taking Metrorail to the end of the Silver Line at the Wiehle-Reston East station, then boarding a bus for the rest of the trip to the airport.

The Post’s Luz Lazo writes separately about another staff recommendation for presentation to Metro board members Thursday: Make no changes in the Metrobus service between National Harbor and the Branch Avenue Metro station.

Other staff recommendations include retention of Metrobus service levels between the Convention Center and Nationals Park service (Route 74) and improvements on the Wisconsin Avenue-Pennsylvania Avenue line (the 30s buses) without bypassing downtown D.C. or affecting travel patterns in Southeast Washington.

The staff also recommends against making changes for now in the route of the B30 bus, which links Greenbelt Metro station with BWI Marshall Airport. The route could have been redesigned to include a stop at Arundel Mills Mall.