TESTIMONY: Support for Bill 24-429, the “Metro for D.C. Amendment Act of 2022”

Dec. 2, 2022

The Hon. Phil Mendelson, Chair
District of Columbia Council 
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20004

RE: Support for Bill 24-429, the “Metro for D.C. Amendment Act of 2022”

Dear Chair Mendelson and Councilmembers:

Please accept this letter on behalf of the Coalition for Smarter Growth (CSG). CSG is the leading non-profit organization in the Washington, D.C. region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Our mission is to advocate for walkable, bikeable, and transit-oriented communities as the most sustainable and equitable way for the Washington, DC region to grow and provide opportunities for all.

We would like to reiterate our support for B24-429, and the new amendments to: 

  • make Metrobus fare-free inside the District
  • fund overnight Metrobus service

In addition, the legislation still provides $10 million bus improvement fund, and a $100 monthly subsidy for all transit for DC residents.

We urge the DC Council to adopt this measure, and ensure that DC’s funding commitment continues to address short and long term needs, including addressing WMATA’s operating deficits over the next several years.

Free fares provide many benefits. Free fares will enable all-door boarding which shortens dwell time, a significant delay on high-ridership routes. Free fares for Metrobus has a significant effect on racial and economic equity given that the vast majority of bus riders are Black or other people of color. A majority of bus riders are also low income. 

Combining free fares with the District’s Bus Priority Program, can offer a significant improvement for bus riders, and attract new riders. The Bus Priority Program is implementing improvements such as: dedicated bus lanes, signal priority, queue jumps, and automated enforcement. Improving bus service and making it affordable by making it free build a more sustainable and equitable city. 

We ask you to vote for B24-429. 

Thank you for your consideration. 

Cheryl Cort