Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Changes planned for 70/71 bus lines

Dr. Gridlock reports on some proposed changes to the 70/71 bus lines, which could be approved by the Metro board at hearings this week, and which would go into effect in September. The plan:

Shorten Routes 70 and 71 to operate between the Silver Spring and Archives Metrorail stations at all times and reduce peak period frequency.

Metro proposes cutting off the southern portion of the heavily used line and adding a new route, Route 74, to serve the area between Chinatown and Buzzard Point/Fort McNair.

The existing routes carry nearly 11,000 riders a day, making them among the highest-ridership routes in the Metrobus system. The problem, Metro says, is that the routes are long and spend a lot of their time stuck in downtown D.C. traffic, with the usual results: Some passengers get a very crowded ride. Many wait a long time for buses to arrive, only to see them arrive in bunches.

Shortening the route and widening the arrival times are standard tactics in attempting to make a bus line more reliable. In this case, all the buses would go by the 70 designation, and they would be scheduled to arrive every 12 minutes during rush periods, rather than the current 10 minutes.

The new Route 74 would operate from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. Buses would travel between Chinatown and Buzzard Point every 18 to 20 minutes during peak periods and between Chinatown and Fort McNair every 24 minutes during off-peak periods. Route V8 would be rerouted to operate via Fort McNair and extended to Gallery Place Metrorail station after 8 p.m. on weekdays and weekends.

This plan also eliminates the K1 bus line, which travels between Walter Reed and the Takoma Metro. If this change won't take effect til September, it will align perfectly with the closure of Walter Reed, planned for that same month.


Speaking of Ward 4 transportation issues, GGW is having a lively debate, sparked by our Councilmember's feelings about increasing residential parking permit fees.

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