Per WMATA: Metro is going on the road with ‘Better Bus’, a new initiative to rethink, redesign, and revitalize bus service. In a bold inaugural effort to redesign the current bus network, Metro is holding events across the region to hear from customers and the community. Together with Metro, customers will shape the future of bus service.
The bus network redesign is just the beginning of a reimagined Metro that better serves the needs of customers, including the transition to zero-emission buses, construction of all-electric bus garages, priority bus lanes and signals, bus stop and shelter improvements, and ensures equity of service across communities.
“We are rethinking the entire network, both rail and bus, and asking the community ‘what do we want Metro to be?’ The Better Bus initiative gives you an opportunity to be part of that discussion to improve bus service,” said General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Randy Clarke. “We need to hear from as many customers as possible about the kind of service they want. I encourage the region to join us at events, take the survey and stay engaged along the way whether you take the bus every day, have ridden the bus a few times before, or want to ride the bus but don’t. Let’s make the bus work better for you and for the region.”
This month, Metro launched the first phase of community-focused outreach, including approximately two dozen public events over five weeks and an online survey you can take here.
As part of the initiative, Metro will also support partner agencies in Prince George’s County (TheBus) and the City of Fairfax (CUE) in redesigning their local bus networks.
“We are excited to embark on this effort to provide better access to jobs, opportunities, and destinations,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks. “Metrobus and TheBus are critically important to our County’s continued success and shared prosperity.”
“Fairfax City’s CUE bus now provides fare-free public transit to all persons who want an alternative to driving cars. For over 40 years, our City has provided safe, accessible, and convenient bus service that connects to the larger Metrobus network,” said City of Fairfax Mayor David Meyer. “We are proud to be partners with other regional bus providers to expand transit options for our region.”
The Better Bus initiative builds on the previously completed Bus Transformation Project (BTP), a comprehensive study with our local partners across the region to create a roadmap to transform bus service. We heard from thousands of people through in-person events, open houses, surveys and social media to develop recommendations to make bus a mode of choice on the region’s roads.
“Providing effective bus service throughout our county and region is critical to the mobility and quality of life of thousands of our residents,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “Montgomery County began its bus network assessment effort, Ride On Reimagined, this past February. I am glad that we are working with our partners at WMATA to compare findings, create solutions and work together to implement strategies. Ride On and Metrobus serve many of the same customers – being united in our plans and policies will create a more efficient, effective and integrated bus transit system. I encourage all local public transit riders to participate in the surveys.”
“I am excited about the opportunity to improve bus service for District residents, especially for the transit dependent,” said Councilmember Trayon White. “A large majority of Ward 8 residents rely on public transportation. I strongly encourage residents to participate in this collaborative process and allow their voices to be heard.”
The bus network redesign is an ambitious undertaking and one of the BTP’s key recommendations. Other BTP proposals such as free bus transfer to/from rail and more frequent all-day bus service have already been implemented by Metro in the past year.
“Metro is the economic backbone of the region, and a critical part of the overall network are buses. The bus network provides 500,000 trips each and every day and literally keeps our region moving by taking people where they need to go,” said Metro Board Chair Paul C. Smedberg. “We will redesign and enhance the critical bus network by listening to our customers and working together.”
This is the first holistic redesign of the Metrobus network, which will mark its 50th anniversary in February. The redesign will work toward a bus network that is easier for customers to use and understand, and better align with where and when people want to travel.
The initiative will provide the opportunity to reassess regional travel patterns, how frequent buses come and create a more equitable transit network that serves our communities, such as the needs of essential workers. This includes coordinating service with bus priority investments—like bus lanes and transit signal priority—across the region.
Everyone in the region is encouraged to provide feedback online and at public events – regardless of whether they are an existing bus customer – to help shape a new, Better Bus network.
Take the survey online or look for these upcoming events:
Thursday, Oct. 13, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Brookland-CUA Metro Station/Bus Bays
Friday, Oct. 14, 7 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Anacostia Metro Station
Friday, Oct. 14, 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
ALIVE! Food Distribution
Tuesday, Oct. 18, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Rosslyn Metro Station/Bus Bays
Saturday, Oct. 15, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Mega Mart (Adelphi)
Prince George’s County
Sunday, Oct. 16, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Shoppers Food Warehouse at Penn Mar
Prince George’s County
Thursday, Oct. 20, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Takoma-Langley Crossroads Transit Center
*Events are subject to change should there be inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances.
For a full list of events, to sign up for email updates and to learn more about the Better Bus initiative and network redesign, go to wmata.com/betterbus.
See what others are also saying about Better Bus:
“Public transit is vital to the region, connecting people to jobs, family, healthcare, and other essential services,” said Lucinda Babers, Metro Board Member Vice Chair. “It’s not about one city, one neighborhood or one county. Better Bus service is good for the region and the way we move Metro forward.”
“The Bus Transformation Project gave us an action plan, and now is the time for the region to come together to put that to work,” said Board Member Tracy Loh. “Redesigning the bus network is a significant first step in creating the world class transit system that our customers want and deserve.”
“Metro’s bus network serves an essential function in our region, but it is overdue for a holistic evaluation and redesign,” said Board Member Matt Letourneau. “This process will help align our services with customer needs and could lead to updates to our subsidy model to ensure value for our jurisdictions.”
“Better Bus and the redesign of our network are important for the region, but also for the people who come to the nation’s capital from around the country and the world to do business with the federal government. As the nation’s transit system, we want to provide the very best to residents and visitors alike,” said Board Member Sarah Kline.
“Reimagining safe and efficient bus service is a powerful enabler in connecting community members to work, school, businesses, economic advancement, family life, and leisure in one of the most prosperous and culturally enriching regions in our nation,” said Board Member Don Drummer. “I’m inspired by the far-reaching possibilities in regionwide connections and customer experiences.”