Over a year ago, at a time when the Coronavirus was only just starting to make national news, WMATA proposed to severely degrade the quality and quantity of bus service to and through Georgetown. GM detailed the proposals here and here. Luckily those proposals were pulled back later that spring, but they have returned again with a vengeance.
Briefly, the proposals last year could be boiled down to these:
- Merge the D2 with the G2
- Eliminate all fully crosstown trips on the 30 series buses
- Eliminate the D5 and the D1
All of these proposals are being put forward again in some fashion (read GM’s articles from last year to see exactly why they’re so bad). However, things are worse for the G2. Last year, WMATA proposed for the G2 to be essentially grafted on to the eastern end of the D2. This year it is simply calling for it to be eliminated entirely. So not only would there be no bus service through the west village any more, there would be no more bus options to take you east of Dupont Circle.
But that’s not the worst of it.
WMATA is now proposing to completely eliminate the D6. It proposes to replace it with a new N6 route that would largely follow the D2 route through Georgetown and up through Glover Park. Notably it would not get any closer to GU Hospital than 35th and Reservoir. No bus would go to GU Hospital anymore. Patients would have to walk nearly half a mile from the hospital to the bus stop in front of Duke Ellington.
All combined, this would gut the frequency and quality of bus service to and through Georgetown.
Make no mistake, this is not just about Georgetown. WMATA is proposing a huge raft of cuts affecting every corner of the city. It is all part of the budget process (hence why we went through this same exercise last year). And a cynic might reach the conclusion that these cuts are purposely dramatic to force the local jurisdictions to pony up more money in the budgeting process. There is probably some truth to that, but it is also the case that a rule put in place by Virginia as part of its agreement to dedicate funding to WMATA forces the agency to cut service instead of asking for more money.
Will WMATA pull back these proposed cuts again? Maybe. The comment period is up on March 16th, so submit a comment now! But more realistically, given the sorry financial state that the pandemic has left WMATA in, it will really take federal dollars to prevent these radical cuts. So call your senat…oh right.