D.C. Transit Agencies Ready to Serve Returning Commuters

The region's transit providers are gearing up to provide enhanced service, shorter headways, and reduced or free fares as more people return to public transportation.

2 minute read

August 3, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Washington D.C. Metro

Shu-Hung Liu / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C.'s regional transit agencies are working to resume and improve service as workers start returning to their pre-pandemic commutes. As reported by Luz Lazo, "[m]ost transit systems in the region are transitioning to normal operations after reducing service 16 months ago at the onset of the pandemic. Some are adjusting or restructuring routes, while others are adding amenities and cutting the cost of riding."

Ridership in the region "has started to bounce back, although it hasn’t returned to where it was pre-pandemic. Local bus systems are still 50 to 70 percent below previous levels, according to transit officials, while Maryland and Virginia commuter trains are largely empty — down by about 85 percent." 

D.C. Metro "is rolling out service improvements for bus and rail users, as well as a reduction in fares this fall. Beginning in September, weekend rides on Metrorail will be a flat $2, a $1.50 transfer fee between rail and bus will be lifted and the price of a seven-day regional bus pass will drop by $3 to $12." The agency also plans to increase frequencies on their most popular train lines, expand operating hours, and restore or increase bus service on 46 routes.

Maryland's MARC trains and commuter buses will also bring back full service and allow cyclists to bring their bikes on trains in order to expand first-mile/last-mile options, while the popular downtown D.C. Circulator will be free "at least through Sept. 30."

The article details the changes planned by several other transit systems in the area as they gear up to resume full service, reducing or eliminating fares, and expanding frequency and service areas.

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