CSG in the News: Report: Traffic jams push DC riders off buses, but fixes possible


Report: Traffic jams push DC riders off buses, but fixes possible

by Max Smith | @amaxsmith, July 10, 2019, WTOP

Taking the bus is too frustrating in D.C., and major changes are needed if the city is going to deal with significant problems facing commuters, a new Metrobus report card finds.

Buses are stuck in so much traffic and can be so inconsistent that the number of ride-hailing trips in D.C. through companies such as Uber and Lyft could surpass the number of trips taken on buses this year for the first time.

The report released Wednesday by the Coalition for Smarter Growth and MetroHero reviewed 34 routes on D.C.’s busiest bus corridors.

“The results of this analysis paint a striking picture of the problems Metrobus encounters on a daily basis: on these high-priority routes, service was found to be largely unreliable and unpredictable, with buses regularly arriving much later than scheduled and headways rarely being maintained,” the report said.

Of the 34 routes measured, 18 got F grades, 5 got Ds, 10 got Cs, 1 got a B and none got an A based on speeds and schedule adherence.

The average speed for the routes in May was just 9.5 mph, well short of an 11 mph goal.

The slowest corridor was 14th Street, while the worst schedule adherence was on the 39, X3 and 34.

The report, which also supports the regional Bus Transformation Project that’s meant to make similar recommendations across the region, urges the D.C. and Metro to:

— Add dedicated bus lanes to make trips more consistent and reduce delays (along with associated enforcement of bus lane rules with traffic officers or cameras).

— Allow all-door boarding to reduce time spent waiting at stops, which could include setting up mobile or off-board fare payment procedures.

— Expand transit signal priority and queue jumps that let buses enter an intersection from a stop before other traffic to let buses spend less time waiting at lights.

— More limited-stop routes and consolidate local stops that are very close together.

— Upgrade bus stops for accessibility and amenities.

— Give free transfers between bus and rail, and discount fares for low-income riders….

D.C. has only two miles of bus-only lanes — 1.4 miles of which is only temporary for the summer.

The city has promised 16th Street NW bus lanes in the next year or so, and bus lanes along K Street NW by 2024. But official city plans called for 25 miles of bus lanes to be in place in the 2020s.

The report card calls for 14th Street bus lanes in the near future, followed by bus lanes on U Street NW and Florida Avenue NE by 2024, North Capitol Street bus lanes by 2025, and improvements along M Street SE/SW and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE.

To do that, the report suggests phasing out parking on streets with the highest ridership bus routes to create lanes that serve more people.

Read full WTOP story here.