WTOP first reported the Maryland Transit Administration will not cancel its Walter Reed commuter bus route after public input from Bethesda residents and Montgomery County officials.
In a press release today, the MTA detailed some of the changes they will make to hopefully get more people on the bus, many of which come from people who testified against cutting the bus route (No. 203) last month in the public hearings:
The MTA also is implementing the recommendation of passengers at the public hearings to eliminate the midday runs on routes 202 and 203 as a way to make the routes more efficient. Additionally, the MTA will add an afternoon run on Route 203 based on passenger requests for a later bus to accommodate longer work schedules. The MTA will continue to closely monitor both routes to ensure growth in ridership.
County Executive Isiah Leggett weighed in against cutting the bus route in May, which no doubt had an effect on MTA’s final decision.
The MTA said the bus route, which brings people from Columbia, Burtonsville and Olney to the Walter Reed Military Medical Center Campus in one of the area’s most congested stretches of road, was on the chopping block because of low use.
MTA spokesperson Terry Owens said the state anticipated having an average of about 20 riders per trip with that number growing to 30 riders per trip over a 24-month period. The 203 route is averaging fewer than 15 riders per trip.
“We are truly grateful for the input we received from commuters, elected officials and transit advocates,” MTA Administrator Robert Smith said in the press release. “They took time out of their busy schedules to voice their interest in keeping key ICC Commuter Bus routes, and we heard them. The MTA will maintain the service on Routes 202 and 203 and work with Fort Meade, Walter Reed Medical Center, National Institutes of Health and our riders to attract new passengers to the service.”