County Council and State Delegation Urge WMATA to Restore Funding for Metrobus
Montgomery County Council members and state lawmakers are urging the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) to maintain service levels for four Metrobus routes targeted for reductions.
WMATA’s $ 2 billion operating budget for fiscal 2021 cuts service to a number of bus lines. Service discounts include:
- Discontinued service on Q routes (Shady Grove to Silver Spring) between Shady Grove and Rockville subway stations. Buses would continue to operate between Rockville and Silver Spring. The transit agency estimates that this would reduce costs by $ 246,000 and require the transfer of 1,539 passengers on weekdays.
- Removal of the entire Z2 road (Silver Spring to Olney). This is expected to save more than a million dollars, but WMATA estimates that around 230 passengers would not have access to the bus service. Other users could make their trips by taking different routes, estimated the transit agency.
- Removal of the entire Z8 route (Fairland route) by regrouping parts of the route on other existing bus lines. The measure is expected to save $ 1.2 million. WMATA estimates that 276 weekday passengers would not have access to the local bus service during off-peak periods.
- Elimination of the entire Z11 road (Greencastle to Briggs Chaney), which is expected to save over $ 1 million.
- Reduced early morning and late evening service on J2 (Bethesda to Silver Spring) and L8 (Friendship Heights to Aspen Hill).
The nine county council members and a majority of the Montgomery County state delegation on Tuesday sent WMATA a letter opposing the cuts. Board member Evan Glass initiated the outreach.
Tuesday’s letter to Paul Smedberg, chairman of the board of directors of WMATA, says that approximately 65,000 passengers in Montgomery County use Metrobus every day, and for many, it is their only source of transportation.
“Service cuts will disproportionately affect students going to Montgomery College, seniors doing daily errands and service workers accessing jobs,” he says.
The letter goes on to say that Montgomery County has communities with the greatest use of transit in Maryland and that the reduction in service would be “contrary” to the county’s goals of reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse.
“It is because of our high demand and strong support for transit that we strongly encourage WMATA to focus on improving and improving our current service models rather than reducing them,” said he declared.
WMATA representatives referred all questions about the letter to Smedberg on Wednesday morning. Smedberg could not immediately be reached for comment.
WMATA is holding public hearings on the budget across the region this month and is accepting public comment online until March 2. The board of directors will vote on the budget later this spring.
Any change in service would come into effect on July 1, the start of the fiscal year.
Dan Schere can be contacted at [email protected]