Free Rides, Overnight Service Considered for Metro Transit in D.C.

Washington, D.C. councilmembers are making a bold commitment to public transit.

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December 2, 2022, 6:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Metro Bus

Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock

“D.C. leaders are scheduled to vote on legislation next week that would make Metrobus free to ride in the District,” reports Justin George for the Washington Post.

“The measure also would include round-the-clock service for some major Metrobus routes. D.C. Council members are expected to vote Tuesday. The changes would begin in July.”

According to George, the free fares and increased service levels reflect a  commitment to recovering ridership lost during the pandemic. “While Metrobus ridership is at about 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels, passenger counts on the rail system are about half of 2019 numbers. The decline in fare revenue during a rise in telework will force the transit agency to bridge widening budget gaps in the coming years,” writes George.

Numerous examples of the success of free fares in attracting riders back to transit have emerged during the pandemic—most recently in Colorado.

Additional coverage of the legislation is available from PoPville. That article describes the legislation as a potential big win for the District’s night life and service sectors. Twelve routes in all would gain overnight service.

“The bill still establishes a $10 million bus service improvement fund dedicated to annual investments in bus lanes, shelters, and other improvements to make bus service itself faster, more reliable, and more enjoyable,” according to Popville.

Thursday, December 1, 2022 in The Washington Post

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