DC Leadership Still Does Not Understand Mass Transit

And to be clear, I don’t mean Wor-Shing-Tun, but the District of Columbia. Last week, D.C.’s Mayor Bowser started a petition to demand that D.C. Metro reinstate late night service (the petition is here). What this demonstrates, once again, is that the political leadership of D.C. is still stuck in a time warp, in which business priorities are paramount, and residents’ needs are ignored.

I’m fully supportive of businesses’ (mostly restaurants and bars) workers having easier late night commutes. But if Mayor Bowser et alia really are interested in Vision Zero (preventing automobile-caused deaths) and meaningfully making housing more affordable–both of which mean building more housing near Metro stations–they also need to focus on weekend service for people who live here. If residents need a car to get around on the weekend, and the de facto SafeTrack repairs that have been happening since May 2014 have really made weekend service bad, then it becomes more expensive to build housing and we have more cars on our roads.

Yes, the work commutes are important. But about half of the ridership drop off has been due to massive declines in weekend service. Not just late night service, but daytime service: if it takes you an hour to get somewhere (each way) due to trains being run only every 24 minutes (if you’re lucky and they stick to that schedule), it’s not really convenient.

So it’s good that D.C. is demanding better service, but make it better on the weekends too. Your voters might appreciate that.

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2 Responses to DC Leadership Still Does Not Understand Mass Transit

  1. zero says:

    My household has largely stopped going downtown on weekends due to the atrocious schedule. When we do, we are more likely to take an Uber than Metro; the cost difference is not much for four people and it is far more convenient.

    DC is losing money because of this.

    • Bern says:

      It is not/should never be about ‘losing money’. This is simply political decision-making. The government allows free access to our roads – it should equally allow access to the public conveyances that are by policy produced and operated for that reason. DC should not be charging riders to enter the trains AT ALL. Private vehicle owners are not charged to enter the public streets/roads – public transit riders should not be charged either. Reprioritize where the money goes.

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