As discussed here, WMATA is considering changes to the D Series. After a series of meetings the consultants have come up with some initial recommendations. Some of them are quite radical and quite different than GM expected. Find out what they are after the jump:
First off, it appears that the consultants could have skipped the survey part of the study. The list of complaints they identify as coming from the D Series riders could have been produced by a random-bus-rider-complaint generator. They include:
- Service is unreliable
- Buses are crowded
- Wait time for bus is too long
- Buses get bunched up
- Bus stops amenities are lacking
- Congestion slows buses
So basically, the D Series is exactly like every single bus line in the city. Ok then.
From these relatively generic complaints, the consultants put forward some rather radical changes. They include:
1. Extend D4 to Sibley
As it is, the D4 goes between Union Station and Ivy City. Presumably the recommendation calls for the D4 to follow the D6 west of Union Station. Turning a neighborhood circulation route like D4 into a crosstown route is radical particularly given WMATA’s efforts to break up the 30 series. Unless they plan to take some buses away from another line, it’s difficult to see how this wouldn’t increase wait time for those east of Union Station. Obviously more detail is necessary.
2. Extend D2 to Union Station
Like the changes to the D4, this one is a bit of a head scratcher. The D2 is fundamentally a circulator between Glover Park, Georgetown and Dupont. What they seem to be suggesting is to convert all D2 buses into the D1, which goes all the way to Union Station. Again, without increasing the number of buses, it’s tough to see how this wouldn’t result in longer waits. On top of the number of buses issue, this would mean all circulation between Dupont, Georgetown, and Glover Park is subject to delays caused by downtown traffic, which isn’t currently the case with the D2.
Moreover, it would mean there wouldn’t be a bus that drops you off or picks you up right outside the Metro, which GM prefers.
3. End Every Third Westbound D6 at Dupont
Huh? This one just doesn’t make sense. Who does this help? GM can’t say he sees that many people disembark from the D6 in Dupont. Why make every third bus end there?
4. A Few Speed Fixes
Beyond the perplexing changes above, the study puts forward a couple commonsensical changes to save a few minutes here and there. They include keeping the eastbound D6 on E St. by Union Station (avoiding the slow and unnecessary loop up North Capitol to Mass Ave.), making the westbound D6 hang a right at Q St. and Foxhall rather than going all the way down to Reservoir, and giving the buses signal priority. GM particularly likes the last one of these; every time someone gets off at Q and 22nd, that makes the bus misses the green light. A few more seconds could end up saving us minutes downstream.
One more thing, the study briefly mentions the K St. Busway. That is a long dormant plan to install a transit right-of-way on K St. The D Series would be a big beneficiary of such a plan. It’s a plan with barely a pulse, but having the study mention it is at least some fleeting evidence of life.
5. Did They Really Just Say NextBus?
The study comes out in support of NextBus. Guess the consultants didn’t get the memo from WMATA to do everything possible to delay and kill this program. When GM attended the meeting in the Pallisades, he suggested the implementation of NextBus, which some of the other riders agreed with. Did that make a difference? Yeah, probably not. But still, to have the study come out recommending the full implementation of NextBus with even lighted signs at bigger stops is great for riders who want 21st century bus service.
All in all, there are a couple of pretty dramatic proposals in here, some of which really need further explanation. There will be two meetings for the public to come and hear these preliminary recommendations and offer their feedback. The first is on January 29th at the Pallisades Library and the second is on February 5th at WMATA headquarters downtown. GM will attend the Pallisades meeting and report back.