Welcome to another edition of DC Mythbusting. This week we’re looking into the Metrobus system. The rail system is easy enough to understand– it is organized by color, with five lines in total. But there are over 300 bus routes serving the DC area, so the color system wouldn’t work (though I would love to ride the Burnt Sienna line or the Dandelion line). So how are the Metrobus routes named? Why do some have a letter and a number, some a number and a letter, and others just have a number? Read on for the answer!
Metro has just announced that a passenger on board a U2 Metrobus was shot early this evening near the intersection of 18th & Minnesota Ave SE. The passenger was transported by life-flight helicopter to Washington Hospital Center with significant injuries. No motive is apparent, and MPD is investigating.
Metrobus operator Dwayne Adamson was arrested by Metro Transit Police after pulling over the bus he was driving in the 2900 block of Minnesota Avenue, SE. He was arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another motorist following a traffic dispute around 5 P.M.
Adamson was operating bus 2533 on the U2 route in Southeast. He has been a bus operator for three years.
Should you be near the Friendship Heights Metro station this Wednesday around midnight, you’ll be seeing a fair amount of law enforcement, as the Metro Transit Police Department’s special response team, the FBI, DCPD, DCFD and emergency medical services personnel practice a staged emergency response exercise.
According to WMATA’s website, the exercise (a staged shootout) will test their communication and joint response to a major incident on the Metrorail or Metrobus.
Metro should not be delayed as the drill will take place shortly after Metro closes for the evening. Police activity will remain in the area until around 3:30 a.m.
Good has an incredibly sexy graphic comparing WMATA to other large transit systems including CTA, BART, MBTA and MTA, including length of commute averages and other sweet statistics. This is nothing short of sweet, sweet infoporn. How does Metro compare? Right in the middle of the big five transit systems for average commute length, percent active vehicles, ridership and speed.
Like porn, though, I’m not sure if the graphic is representative of reality: how are there really 1M riders on Metrorail + Metrobus on an average day, when an average day has 1.2M trips (not riders) between the two systems and likely a total passenger total of much less than half that number. But hey, we’re probably still ahead of Boston and SF. That counts for something, right?
Metrobus is reinventing itself, reports The Examiner. Their new slogan (“See how far we’ve come”) and ad campaign is taking over the District. This $739,000 campaign is aimed at reversing the decline in bus riders in the wake of several Metrobus accidents last year.
While I like the shiny new buses, I think Metro’s dollars might be better spent improving NextBus service and getting more riders to use it. A new slogan won’t get me to take the bus, but knowing when the bus is coming so I don’t have to wait out in the cold would.
As if WMATA hasn’t been in the news enough, today comes word that on December 10, 2009, a team of independent safety inspectors were nearly struck by a metro train at the Braddock Road Station. According to the Tri-State Oversight Committee, the inspectors “were forced to quickly scramble out of the way to avoid being struck.” Fortunately, no one was hurt.
The incident occurred shortly after Metro lifted a six-month ban on monitors accessing live subway tracks, and was only one of a long list of safety violations reported by the committee. A summary of the report by The Washington Post stated that “Metro’s safety training was inadequate and that the transit agency needed to take “immediate, short-term corrective action” to ensure worker safety.” The Post also reported that WMATA is taking action to correct the situation and will hold a safety session with multiple transit agencies.
Additionally, we hear that the Metro Board will hold public hearings (to take place before a Jan. 28 vote) on adding a 10 cent surcharge to Metro fares. The increase in fares (from March to June 2009) would be an attempt to cover a $40 million dollar shortfall and to prevent significant cuts to both metro and metrobus service. Continue reading
Everyone remember the uproar back on July 30 when UnsuckDCMetro posted the story and photo about the 63 bus with the driver who was chatting on her cell phone, even getting off the bus to do so?
Seems it may have been a legitimate call after all.
According to another blog – Maryland Politics Watch – the driver was actually on the phone with WMATA’s Central control, reporting a mechanical difficulty (malfunctioning destination sign) and minor injuries from falling up the bus stairs as she re-boarded. While the investigation isn’t final yet, it seems this time the operator was in the ‘right’ though she apparently was not very communicative with the riders as to what was going on.
While it’s nice to know what the truth is with the situation, it’s disheartening yet again to see Catoe mishandle yet another situation. I’m sure the stress sucks in the wake of the June 22 accident, but really – one would expect the “top public transportation manager” in the country to handle these things better.
Chock full of WMATA today.
First up, it looks like the Circulator will be taking over one or two Metrobus routes this spring. This would increase the local service to five looping routes from the current three. Which routes aren’t yet determined, but Circulator officials have stated they can offer the same service as Metro for less money. Whether Metro agrees or not remains to be seen.
Additionally, the Fairfax Connector is proposing to operate three Metro lines beginning this summer.
Metro’s desperate to plug a $154M hole in their budget, so it would be in their best interest to look at letting local services handle it. But Metro would lose the line’s fare revenue and subsidies from the jurisdiction that is paying Metro for the service. While the operating costs would go away, they may be reluctant – or stubborn – to let that money go.
Metro has announced they are moving forward with their plans to eliminate the free paper-to-bus transfers, as well as the discounted rail-to-bus transfers, beginning on January 4 of next year. Discounts aren’t going away, however – you just have to have a SmarTrip card to get it.
There’s a lot of flak hitting Metro for the decision, however. Riders groups in the area have mentioned a few concerns, namely that of time and money.