Several weeks ago, WMATA released a draft budget that contained dramatic cuts to service across rail and bus lines. The message in the budget was clear: Virginia, Maryland and DC need to contribute more to the agency’s budget or the cuts will come.
Some have speculated that this is nothing more than “budget chicken“, i.e. propose intentionally painful cuts as a means to bargain for the most money. And there is likely something to that.
But if the threatened cuts do fall, they will hit Georgetown bus riders (including GM). Among the lengthy list of bus service reductions, WMATA includes this:
D1 Glover ParkFederal Triangle Line Shorten route, eliminate segment between Franklin Square and Federal Triangle, reduce span
D2 Glover Park – Dupont Circle Line Reduce Saturday, Sunday, and weekday peak and midday frequency
G2 P St- LeDroit Park Reduce Sunday frequency
These changes would be a serious blow. The changes to the D1 would mean that this line, which only a few years ago would take you all the way to Union Station, no longer takes you even to Metro Center. The G2 is already pretty infrequent on Sundays, but cutting frequency would make it next to useless. GM has long believed that the reason the G2 has bad ridership numbers is that even at its busiest, it doesn’t come enough to be reliable.
Finally, the changes to the D2 are particularly harsh. Reducing service on the weekends and midday are bad for the same reasons the G2 reductions are bad: it makes it a less reliable option, which will reduce ridership disproportionately with the reductions. But reducing service during rush hour is insane. This is an already crowded line. GM can attest to that. Reducing frequency will be crippling.
GM is aware that Glover Park is already pushing back. And the ANC will speak about it (and likely also push back) next week.
Hopefully this is all just a maladroit negotiating tactic. But it doesn’t hurt to come at the cry of wolf, even if you think it’s a ruse.