Metrobus officials say they will strive to get an "A" grade from D.C. riders. (Courtesy of WMATA)
Courtesy of WMATA

Public hearings on the budget continue for Metro as its board of directors look to April when they’ll decide upon changes in service for buses and trains in the District, Virginia and Maryland for the next fiscal year.

Recent numbers indicate a rise in ridership for Metro after reported declines over the past several years — good news, we assume for Metro officials. However, that hasn’t stopped them from considering changes to over 20 bus routes in the District, among other proposed cuts.

But many longtime residents in the District, particularly senior citizens, say they’re frustrated and angry with proposed cuts to service in communities like Deanwood where they’ve lived for decades. Even more, they say they’re concerned about how they will get around should Metro go through with reductions in service to communities like theirs.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has joined in advocacy efforts, addressing the lack of late-night Metro service which she says, armed with a first-ever economic study of D.C.’s nightlife, is hurting the District’s economy which derives a significant amount of revenue from the nightlife industry.

The report, released Feb. 26, found that parking and transportation rank among the top obstacles late-night workers face in getting to their jobs, while businesses say they’re losing money and customers when Metro shuts down early.

It’s difficult to predict what Metro will decide when the board votes on its new budget and announces the changes, reductions and cuts in service which some Washingtonians fear are inevitable. But with the thousands of residents from the greater Washington area who have raised their voices to protest proposed bus route cuts, we urge Metro’s decision-makers to think twice before leaving folks stranded.

Finally, Metro should also consider the impact its weekend cuts to Red Line service beyond the Takoma Station have had on workers as well as residents who only have weekends to handle their personal affairs. Due to Purple Line ongoing construction, train service has frequently been suspended on weekends, forcing travelers to add hours to their commute as they board shuttle buses for service between Takoma and Glenmont Stations, or dig deeply into their pockets to catch an Uber or, at even higher costs, a taxi.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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