Metro considers larger fare hike, major bus changes

Metro will consider a larger rush-hour fare hike next summer, as well as the elimination of some popular bus routes.

Rail basics

The details of Metro’s draft budget proposal include a 15-cent increase in base rush-hour fares to a minimum of $2.40, rather than the 10 cents proposed last month by General Manager Paul Wiedefeld. At the same time, the agency proposes cutting service during the earliest weekday morning hours.

The budget proposal would reduce scheduled service from every eight minutes to every 12 minutes on each line between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. weekdays but would continue to charge rush hour fares at those times.

Metro would run a bit later most days — until midnight, again, Monday through Thursday and until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. On Sundays, Metro would run more trains but would continue to close at 11 p.m. The Sunday change would include the first return to Red Line trains every six minutes from the end of the line since service cutbacks a few years ago to accommodate scheduling issues.

The top fare at rush hour would increase by $1 to $7, and weekend rail fares could become a flat $2.

The board also asked for budget information on the following: further expanding eight-car trains, for which the system would need more power upgrades; cutting some of the limited “lifeline” bus service after rail service hours; and changing Prince George’s County, Maryland, Metro parking fees to $4 for all lots.

Current Prince George’s County parking fees range from $3 to $5.20. The monthly fee at New Carrollton would also drop from $85 to $70.

Public hearings on all the proposals are expected in late January or early February, with a final vote in March.

Bus basics

The proposal revealed Monday in Metro Board documents provides the first specific list of bus routes Metro wants to cancel next year, as well as which routes could see improvements.

The plans are preliminary, and are frequently adjusted during the budget process due to public outcry over the loss of key routes or demand for additional service on other lines.

Metro appears to be relying on the proposed free transfer between bus and rail to cut back a number of bus routes that currently provide one-seat rides to instead push people to transfer from the bus to trains.

“Most of the customers utilizing these routes will still have access to service, however they may be required to transfer to another bus or Metrorail to complete their trip,” Metro said of the routes that would be canceled over “redundancies.”

At least two routes being considered for elimination due to low ridership are currently canceled anyway due to the ongoing strike at the Cinder Bed Road garage in Northern Virginia.

Bus fares would also increase 25 cents for anyone who pays with cash or loads money onto their cards. The increase would be a full quarter, even for people who otherwise qualify for discounted fares, such as seniors. The District is set to trial a pilot program similar to the senior fare discount program with up to 2,500 low-income residents.

As part of efforts to offset the burden of the increase, Metro is proposing cutting the weekly bus pass price from $15 to $12.

Even more significant bus route changes are expected over the next several years, under a regional Bus Transformation Project that got new backing Monday from business and smart growth groups.

Bus routes proposed for elimination

The bus routes Metro is considering completely eliminating starting in summer 2020 are:

D.C.

  • Route 30N and 30S between Friendship Heights and Southeast (Wisconsin Avenue Northwest/Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest/Southeast) and Route 34 (Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast): Service in Northwest D.C. would be replaced by Route 31 and 33 trips, while service in Southeast would be replaced at off-peak hours by Route 32 and Route 36 trips. Only some rush-hour trips would be replaced in Southeast. The changes would also cancel the last bus of the night.
  • Route 37 (Limited-stop Wisconsin Avenue).
  • Route 54 (14th Street Northwest): “Most” trips would become limited-stop Route 59 trips, and Route 59 would begin making all stops north of Colorado Avenue.
  • Routes A4 and W5: The W4 route would be restructured and A8 extended.
  • Routes B8 and B9 (Fort Lincoln Shuttle).
  • Route D1 (Glover Park-Franklin Square).
  • Route D2 (Glover Park-Dupont Circle): would be folded into a new route with G2.
  • Route D5 (MacArthur Boulevard-Georgetown).
  • Route E6 (Chevy Chase): would be folded into a new route with M4.
  • Route G2 (P Street-LeDroit Park): would be folded into a new route with D2.
  • Route M4 (Nebraska Avenue NW): would be folded into a new route with E6
  • Route V1 (Benning Heights-M Street).
  • Route X1, Route X3 (Benning Road): Some additional rush hour trips would be added on the X2 to offset the additional crowding that cancelling routes would create.

Maryland

  • Route B29 (Crofton-New Carrollton): Metro cites low ridership.
  • Route B30 (Greenbelt-BWI Marshall Airport): Metro says riders have other options.
  • Routes C11 and C13 (Clinton): Metro cites low ridership.
  • Route C28 (Pointer Ridge): Metro cites low ridership.
  • Route F12 (Ardwick Industrial Park Shuttle): Metro cites low ridership.
  • Route W14 (Bock Road): Metro cites low ridership.
  • Routes Z2 (Colesville-Ashton), Z8 (Fairland) and Z11 (Burtonsville-Greencastle Express): Metro says there are other options. Route Z6 would be extended to Greencastle.

Virginia

  • Route 3A (Annandale Road): Metro cites low ridership.
  • Route 3T (Pimmit Hills): Metro cites low ridership.
  • Route 5A (D.C.-Dulles): Metro cites the upcoming Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County.
  • Route 15K (Chain Bridge Road): Metro cites low ridership.
  • Route 16G (Columbia Heights West-Pentagon City): Many trips would run instead as Route 16H trips.
  • Routes 22A and 22C (Barcroft-South Fairlington): Route 22F would run additional trips. This would eliminate bus stops from Wakefield and 24th Street to Ballston, and segment through Park Fairfax and eliminate all off-peak service.
  • Route 29W (Braeburn Drive-Pentagon): Metro cites low ridership.
  • Routes S80 and S91 (Springfield Circulator-Metro Park Shuttle): Metro cites low ridership.

Bus routes proposed for restructuring

The bus routes Metro is considering restructuring are:

  • Route 59 (Limited-stop 14th Street Northwest): Begin making all stops north of Colorado Avenue due to cancellation of Route 54.
  • Routes W2 and W3 (United Medical Center-Anacostia): Reroute to South Capitol Street and Malcolm X Avenue Southeast. All routes would be labelled W2.
  • Route W4 (Deanwood-Alabama Ave): Reroute to Fort Drum and D.C. Village; eliminate segment from Martin Luther King Jr. and Alabama avenues Southeast to Anacostia Metro.
  • Route X8 (Maryland Avenue): Some trips would extend to Foggy Bottom to replace cancelled X1 service.
  • Route NH2 (National Harbor-Alexandria): Cut portion of route between King Street Metro and Huntington Metro and run service less frequently.
  • Routes Q1, Q2, Q5, Q6 (Viers Mill Road): Cut all service between Rockville and Shady Grove Metro stations.
  • Route Z6 (Calverton-Westfarm): Extend service to Greencastle and add some additional trips to partly replace cancelled Z8.
  • Route 7Y (Lincolnia-North Fairlington): Eliminate the part of the route between the Pentagon and Farragut Square.
  • Route 16C (Columbia Pike): Eliminate the part of the route between the Pentagon and downtown D.C.
  • Route 16H (Columbia Heights West-Pentagon City): Run Route 16H every eight minutes at rush hour to partly replace cancelled Route 16G; off-hours, all current 16G trips would run as 16H trips.

Routes where Metro could reduce service

Service could be reduced on the following Metro bus routes:

  • Route 92 (U Street-Garfield): Eliminate short trips that end at Eastern Market.
  • Route D4 (Ivy City-Franklin Square): Eliminate service after 10 p.m.
  • Route D6 (Sibley Hospital-Stadium Armory): Eliminate some late-night trips.
  • Route E2 (Ivy City-Fort Totten): Eliminate service after 10 p.m.
  • Route W1 (Shipley Terrace-Fort Drum): Eliminate midday service.
  • Route C4 (Greenbelt-Twinbrook): Cut late-night service on weekdays.
  • Route J2 (Bethesda-Silver Spring): Cut late-night service on weekdays.
  • Route K6 (New Hampshire Avenue in Maryland): Cut late-night service on weekdays.
  • Route L8 (Connecticut Avenue in Maryland): Cut early morning and evening service on weekdays.
  • Route T2 (River Road): Cut early morning and evening service on weekdays.
  • Route Y2 (Georgia Avenue in Maryland): Cut late-night service on weekdays.
  • Route 80 (North Capitol Street): Cut the last two trips of the night each way on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
  • Route 96 (East Capitol Street-Cardozo): Cut the last trips on Fridays and Saturdays, and make final trip on Saturday end at 14th and U streets Northwest.
  • Route G8 (Rhode Island Avenue): Cut all late-night trips to and from Rhode Island Avenue Metro.
  • Route H4 (Crosstown): Cut last trip each way on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
  • Route P6 (Anacostia-Eckington): Cut all service between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m.
  • Route W4 (Deanwood-Alabama Avenue): Cut the last northbound trip each night and the last southbound trip on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Route 2A (Washington Boulevard-Dunn Loring): Cut the last trip each way on Friday and Saturday night.
  • Routes 10A, 10N (Alexandria-Pentagon): Cut the last 10A trip each way on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, and eliminate 10N trips.
  • Route 16E (Columbia Pike): Eliminate Sunday morning service between Pentagon and Franklin Square.

Possible weekend service

Weekend service could be added on these bus routes:

  • Route 80 (North Capitol Street): Run every 20 minutes on weekends rather than every 30 minutes.
  • Routes 83, 86 (College Park): Run every 30 minutes rather than every 60 minutes on each route on weekends.
  • Route A12 (Martin Luther King Jr. Highway): Run every 45 minutes on Sundays.
  • Route C29 (Central Avenue): Run every 30 minutes rather than every 60 minutes on weekends.
  • Route E4 (Military Road-Crosstown): Run every 20 minutes on weekends rather than every 24–30 minutes.
  • Route F4 (New Carrollton-Silver Spring): Run every 20 minutes on weekends rather than every 24-30 minutes
  • Route P6 (Anacostia-Eckington): Run every 20 minutes rather than every 35 minutes on weekends.
  • Route P12 (Eastover-Addison Road), Route S2 (16th Street Northwest), Route S9 (16th Street Northwest limited-stop), Routes Y2 and Y8 (Georgia Avenue-Maryland), Route 28A (Leesburg Pike): Run every 20 minutes all weekend.
  • Routes 7A and 7F (Lincolnia-North Fairlington): Run every 30 minutes on Sundays.
  • Route 23B and 23T: Run every 30 minutes on Sundays rather than every 60 minutes.

Possible improvements to limited-stop weekday service

Service on these routes could be improved on weekends:

  • Route 79 (Georgia Avenue): Run weekday service three hours later, until 10 p.m.
  • Route X9 (Benning Road-H Street Northeast): Add additional rush-hour trips, extend evening service one hour to 7:45 p.m.
  • Route K9 (New Hampshire Avenue in Maryland): Add midday service.
  • Route 16Y (Columbia Pike-Farragut Square): Extend morning service one hour to 10 a.m. and evening service one hour to 8:15 p.m.

MetroAccess

Though the scale of the bus changes could allow for a change in MetroAccess paratransit service, Metro is promising not to make any cuts to the paratransit service area until at least July 1, 2021.

At that time, the service area will be reviewed based on bus and rail service, AbilitiesRide and similar subsidized alternatives, and the demand for paratransit.

Top contractors for coming year

Metro’s budget documents also show the top contractors getting Metro’s cash under current multi-year contracts.

  • Transdev Services Inc.
  • First Transit Inc.
  • Diamond Transportation Service Inc.
  • Direct Energy Business.
  • Kawasaki Rail Car Inc.
  • Pepco.
  • Dominion Energy Virginia.
  • Washington Gas Energy Services.
  • UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co.
  • Dell Marketing LP.
  • MV Transportation.
  • Challenger Transportation Inc.
  • Mott MacDonald I&E LLC.
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan.
  • Carefirst BlueCross BlueShield.
  • Sonny Merryman Inc.
  • LTK Engineering Services.
  • Giesecke & Devrient Mobile.
  • AECOM USA Inc.
  • Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

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