D.C.-Area Residents Want Bus Lanes and Free Transfers, Survey Shows

New survey findings identify transit priorities among residents in D.C. and surrounding areas, and indicate broad support for public investments.

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July 24, 2019, 7:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink

The Washington Area Bus Transformation Project surveyed almost 3,000 residents about their transit priorities. "Across age, racial backgrounds, and between regular riders and non-regular riders, respondents consistently chose bus lanes or free transfers as their number one priority, and the other one second in almost all cases," reports David Alpert.

The focus on bus lanes is consistent with a Washington Post poll that shows strong support from a majority of Washington-area and D.C. residents. The strong desire for free transfers also makes sense, says Alpert. "Among transit agencies that operate both bus and rail, the majority let people transfer between the two for free. WMATA has the most punitive structure for bus-rail riders, with people having to pay two full fares less a 50¢ discount.”

The Bus Transformation Project survey also asked respondents if they thought these changes would transform bus service and if they supported the use of public funds. "For transformational, 85% said these would be, and 82% favored spending public dollars on them," says Alpert.

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