Higher-capacity Metro buses coming to busy corridors

WASHINGTON — If you drive near DuPont Circle, you may have noticed a long line of people waiting for the bus. It’s a daily sight and a daily problem.

Bus ridership has skyrocketed and Metro has run out of options to alleviate the increase in demand for bus service on 14th Street in Northwest. But the transit system has come up with a solution to deal with the overcrowded buses.

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel says that in an effort to accommodate the higher ridership, beginning Aug. 25, it is planning to expand capacity with longer buses on the busiest bus corridors: 16th Street Northwest and Georgia Avenue in Northwest.

On an average weekday, Metro says both corridors together carry 40,000 passengers.

“We’ve seen just incredible ridership on both of those corridors,” Stessel says.

The longer buses bend in the middle. Stessel says they are coming from routes that don’t have a need for the extra-capacity buses.

The 60-foot buses provide 55 percent more seats and additional standing room compared with the standard 40-foot buses.

Metro says 60 percent of bus ridership happens during rush hour.

“We are really pleased to find the ability to put these longer buses on these two very busy corridors,” Stessel says.

He says 16th Street has grown from about 16,000 trips per day in 2008 to more than 20,000 now.

He says the neighborhoods and community groups along 16th Street as well as the DuPont Circle Area Neighborhood Commission, have been pushing for solutions to the bus crowding on 16th Street.

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