Metrobus service changes taking effect next Sunday will mean increased service for many East County riders, but several routes have been discontinued entirely. In comments to this blog a few months ago, County Councilmember Nancy Floreen and Glenn Orlin, deputy staff director to the council, pointed out that they've worked to prevent additional Metrobus and Ride On lines from being cut as well.
Riders will soon see more buses on the L8 between Aspen Hill and Friendship Heights during rush hour. Timetable adjustments on the Z6 (Calverton-Westfarm Line) and Z8 (Fairland Line), which both run between Lockwood Drive and New Hampshire Avenue and the Silver Spring Metro, will allow buses to run every fifteen minutes in that area, serving people traveling downtown for work or shopping or to the FDA campus in White Oak.
Those improvements will help to compensate for the L7 between Wheaton and Friendship Heights and midday runs on the Z2 between Colesville and Silver Spring Metro via White Oak, which are both being discontinued. And low ridership is the culprit behind cutting the C7 and C9, which traveled from Greenbelt to Glenmont.
The loss of the C7 and C9 routes is ironic given that they run along congested Randolph Road, suggesting they would attract a lot of riders seeking to escape the traffic. But, as I noted two years ago when the cuts were first proposed, by only going as far as Glenmont the routes aren't useful to commuters heading further west to White Flint or Rockville unless they transfer to Metro or another bus.
But as one of the few east-west arteries in Montgomery County, Randolph Road desperately needs improved transit as a means of providing options for people who can't/don't want to drive and reducing congestion. When the money starts flowing again, restoring - and expanding - bus service along Randolph should be one of our top priorities.
I agree Randolph Rd is horribly underserved for transit and the bus cancellation is a bad choice for those retired folk who live in communities out that way.
The L7/L8 corridor on Connecticut Ave between University Blvd in Kensington and Friendship Heights will see a net loss in service.
Focusing on the peak demand periods (AM Southbound / PM Northbound), this service change eliminates the 6 Southbound L7 trips during the AM as well as the 6 Northbound L7 trips during the PM.
The new schedule adds 3 new L8 trips Southbound in the AM and 1 new L8 trip Northbound in the PM.
Net loss in bus service:
AM Southbound - 3 fewer buses
PM Northbound - 5 fewer buses
I think the reason people prefer train over bus is that everyone knows where the red line goes to and where it stops. But bus routes are only familiar to a few people in the know. If Montgomery County could make some rapid bus routes that are less twisty and circuitous, like one blasting all the way down Randolph Road like you suggest, might get a lot more ridership then, for example, the crazy 11 bus.
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