Metro is seeking input from its riders about which bus stops to scrap, following a botched attempt to consolidate Metrobus stops without commuter involvement 17 months ago.
The agency is trying again to make the bus system more efficient, likely starting along the 70s and 90s routes, though with three public meetings this time.
In December 2010, the transit agency quietly eliminated 67 stops from four bus lines when it rolled out new "service enhancements." But riders immediately complained, as The Washington Examiner first reported. The agency backtracked, restoring seven bus stops and relocating six others.
|Want to have a say?|
|Metro is hosting three public meetings in the District to get input from bus riders and community members about which bus stops to consolidate in an effort to streamline service.|
|• 7 p.m., May 8: Matthews Memorial Baptist Church, 2616 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE|
|• 7 p.m., May 10: Mount Airy Baptist Church, 1100 North Capitol St. NW|
|• 7 p.m., May 17: Trinity Episcopal Church, 7005 Piney Branch Road NW|
At the time, agency officials said they would try to come up with a process of getting the community involved earlier so Metro didn't need to make changes after consolidating stops. Just over a year later, it is hosting the community meetings.
"We are using a significantly more robust outreach effort this time to engage the community and solicit recommendations before advancing any proposals," Metro spokeswoman Caroline Lukas said.
The agency wants to streamline the routes to keep the buses moving through the region's notoriously jammed streets.
Currently about one of every four Metrobuses is late. And Metro's definition of "on time" means a bus can be two minutes early or seven minutes late and still be considered on schedule.
By removing some unpopular stops, the agency says it can keep the buses on time, giving riders faster trips and reducing maintenance costs stemming from all the stopping and starting.
The agency says it also could then focus on the remaining stops, making them more accessible to disabled riders and safer for all by placing them near crosswalks or stoplights.
But it's tricky for riders. They complain that some buses stop every block, but few people want their stop removed.
Also, cutting stops with low ridership does not tend to restore much time to routes as buses don't stop anyway when no one is boarding or exiting.