D.C. Metro Sets ‘Lofty Goals,’ but Admits It Can’t Follow Through

The bus network redesign set to be unveiled next week is ambitious, but the agency says it doesn’t have the resources to implement it.

2 minute read

April 14, 2023, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

D.C. Metro will release its long-awaited bus system redesign plan next Monday, but how much of it will become reality? Jordan Pascale assesses the situation in DCist, writing that “Metro wants to make the entire bus network fast, reliable, and direct seven days a week, but it costs 35% more than current service levels across the region.”

Metro says the improvements could attract 40,000-45,000 new weekday riders – 40 million annually – and get people out of cars and into transit, avoiding 15,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases each year. The changes, planners say, will benefit those who need it most: Nearly six in ten Metrobus riders don’t own a car, half make under $30,000, and 84% are people of color.

The proposal would boost bus frequencies to 12 minutes or 20 minutes, run buses 24 hours a day, streamline routes to make them more direct, and create more connections between rail lines and regional employment centers. “It will also aim to connect missing links, like east-west routes between northern Red Line stations, helping riders avoid having to ride all the way downtown and back up.”

Unfortunately, “Metro says it doesn’t have the equipment, garage space, drivers, or money to run this level of service at the moment, but they say it’s important to start with lofty goals.” The agency also faces a $750 million budget shortfall.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023 in DCist

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