Last week GM detailed some changes to the D Series bus schedule. One thing that confused him was that WMATA had been contemplating changes for the D Series for quite some time. Yet the changes announced last week appeared to be part of a systemic not targeted change. The website for the D Series study is now essentially wiped of all mention of the D Series Study.
GM reached out to WMATA and got confirmation that the changes announced last week are indeed the end result of this year’s study. Following his inquiry a press release was issued clarifying the matter.
This is a little odd since the changes announced last week only partially resemble the changes considered last winter. Here’s how the two plans break-down:
The Original Plan:
- Extend the D2 to Union Station (this was pulled from consideration last March)
- Cut the D6 up into two pieces, with every third westbound D6 ending at Dupont
- Extend the D4 all the way from Ivy City to Sibley
- Small rerouting fixes
The Plan Announced Last Week
- Keep D2 the same, but stop the D1 at Federal Triangle
- Introduce two short trip D6 routes that split the overall route at Farragut
- The D3 no longer will go to Georgetown (it’s a reverse commuter route that primarily is designed to serve DCPS students), it will stop at Dupont
- The D4 will not reach Georgetown; it will end at Franklin Square
- D5 will extend its nighttime hours. WMATA is a little tricky about describing this. In the release they describe it as “Two additional westbound buses will be scheduled to depart at 3:20 and 6:55 p.m. from Farragut Square.” That would sound like they’ve added two new buses to the schedule. In fact they only added one more bus; they extended the schedule a little further more by extending the headways (i.e. the wait between buses).
- No short cuts announced
So this is all awfully confusing. What does it mean in terms of total bus service? The answer is a slight reduction. The heaviest cuts affect the D3, which as stated above is primarily designed to shuttle DCPS students (it terminates at Duke Ellington School.) Despite the language of the press release, there will still be five D3′s going all the way to Georgetown in the morning (arriving just in time for school). But currently there are nine buses in the morning. After the change, there will be no return trips east in the afternoon whereas right now there are four. GM has a request in to WMATA to explain how they expect to address the children who ride this route.
UPDATE: WMATA representative Ron Holzer responded to GM’s question (quite promptly at that) and stated that WMATA is confident that Duke Ellington students are adequately serviced by the D2 and the D6.
This is how the overall service changes breakdown in terms of numbers of buses per day:
- D1 – 11 before, 11 after
- D2 – 77 before, 77 after
- D3 – 4 before, 0 after
- D5 – 5 before, 5 after
- D6 – 63 before, 62 after
- D1 – 5 before, 6 after
- D2 – 77 before, 77 after
- D3 – 9 before, 5 after
- D5 – 6 before, 7 after
- D6 – 65 before, 64 after
In total that means that there will be a 3% reduction in service eastbound (162 to 157) and a 1.9% reduction in service going westbound (162 to 159). All in all, in these times of belt tightening it’s not such a severe reduction in service. So long as you don’t ride the D1 all the way to Union Station, you should not notice the changes when they roll out next week.
But it is still a bit grating to hear WMATA describe these only as improvements. Georgetown faced similar double-speak in regards to the 30-Series. The changes made to those routes significantly reduced service through Georgetown for the benefit of long-haul riders. Fair enough, but when DDOT argued to us that the Circulator could be cut because of the improvements to the 30 series it was awfully frustrating.