Community

Ward 8 Residents Wary of Cuts in Metro Bus Routes

Some Ward 8 residents, including D.C. Council member Trayon White, have made it clear to leaders of the Metro transit agency that they don’t like its proposal to cut nine bus lines that serve the ward.

“Bus services are a lifeline for the working-class families across the city,” White said at a public meeting on Metro’s 2021 budget that took place at the agency’s Northwest headquarters on Feb. 26. “Reduction of bus services will deepen the wealth gap and inequality in this city. We create additional financial burdens for families that already struggle to go to work and take the kids to school in the morning.”

Metro’s budget calls for the cutting of the 30N, 30S, 34, 36, A4, W5, W1, W2 and the W4. Nine of the bus cuts in the District are in Ward 8, according to the budget. Residents at an emergency meeting called by White on Feb. 25 at the William O. Lockridge/Bellevue Neighborhood Library in S.E., expressed the same sentiments as their council member on the Metrobus cuts.

“It is a disgrace to cut up our bus service,” said Mary Cuthbert, a former Ward 8 advisory neighborhood commissioner. “What they want to do to the W4 makes no sense at all.”

The W4 travels from the Anacostia Station on the Green Line and proceeds to the Deanwood Station on the Orange Line through Route 295, Malcolm X Avenue, Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, and goes along Alabama Avenue to Eastern Avenue, Benning Road, East Capitol Street NE and winds through neighborhood streets until it gets to Deanwood. Metro’s proposal would eliminate the segment between MLK Avenue and Alabama Avenue and the Anacostia Station on the W4 and extend it to Fort Drum and D.C. Village, replacing routes A4, W5 and the midday service on the W1 route.

Metro also wants to reroute the W2 and W3 to South Capitol Street and Malcolm X Avenue, in the Washington Overlook area and replace service to the St. Elizabeths East Campus Gate 4 with an extension of the A8.

Cuthbert also said the proposed extra 25 cents assessed to customers for adding money on their SmarTrip card on the Metrobus “is a disgrace, too.”

On its website, Metro’s board of directors encouraged all customers and residents to give feedback on the proposal during a public comment period that ended March 2. The board will vote on the proposals in early April and the new budget will go into effect on July 1.

Cuthbert expressed satisfaction with White’s views at the hearing.

“Trayon provided good testimony,” she said.

From the Editor’s Desk:

In a report posted March 2 by WDVM, the Montgomery County Council held a town hall Monday to discuss cuts for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) budget for 2021.
“WMATA is proposing a $35 million budget cut across the D.C. region for bus routes and they decided to not have a meeting here … where approximately 65,000 residents take the metro bus every single day,” said Council member Evan Glass, referring to plans to cut four metro bus routes in Montgomery County.

“We need more bus service because a lot of people can’t afford cars and when you’re trying to get people an alternative to driving, cutting bus service is going the wrong way,” said county resident Dan Wilhelm.

According to Montgomery county’s climate action planning committee, 41 percent of greenhouse gases come from transportation.

“If we can allow more people to not have cars, that’s thousands of dollars in their pocket and it’s just a healthier environment for everybody,” said resident David Helms.

WMATA board members say residents’ testimonies will be in their official transcript when making the final budget decision.

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