MTA proposes route cuts to commuter buses

Nursing students wait outside the Shady Grove Metro Station. One of the bus routes serving the station is on the chopping block. (WTOP/Kristi King)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been corrected with accurate bus routes. WTOP had incorrectly reported bus route 204 was in jeopardy of being discontinued.

Kristi King, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Traffic gets bad enough as it is. What will happen if some commuter bus routes are cancelled?

The Maryland Transit Administration is proposing the cancellation of three routes that run along the Intercounty Connector — peak service routes 202, 203, and 205, which serve Gaithersburg, the Shady Grove Metro Station and Walter-Reed-Bethesda. The MTA claims the lines have low ridership.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett is against the idea. In a letter to the MTA, Leggett says the county needs all available transit options to encourage people to use alternatives to cars.

Leggett also says that the Base Realignment and Closure law resulted in a 45 percent jump in the number of workers at Walter Reed-Bethesda, directly across Rockville Pike from the National Institutes of Health, which has 18,000 workers.

Some regular bus riders at the Shady Grove Metro Station tell WTOP they’re concerned about the possibility of having to plan new, more expensive routes that might force them to commute through the city.

A bus rider who only wanted to be identified as Aaron says that he’s sympathetic to the transit administration’s need to “ration limited funds in the best possible way.” Aaron’s bus route, between D.C. and the Shady Grove Metro Station, is not on the chopping block.

Three public hearings on the proposed changes will be held early next month in College Park, Columbia and Gaithersburg.

Take a look at the schedule here.

Follow @KingWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.


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