The MetroNow Coalition released its “2023 Bus Transformation Project Progress Report,” which measures progress against regional goals to transform bus service in the region.
The report comes as February marks 50 years since the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) acquired four regional bus systems, according to MetroNow's news release.
“The bus is a critical, too-often overlooked component of our regional mobility system,” said Kathy Hollinger, CEO of the Greater Washington Partnership. “In fact, recent data has shown that riders took three million more trips by bus than rail in 2022 and we know more people have relied on the bus over the course of the pandemic than our Metrorail system. This report is the business community’s way of acknowledging the great work, but we must do more together. Creating a better bus system is key to the region’s continued economic competitiveness.”
The report is a call to action for the region’s leaders to re-prioritize the vision of the Bus Transformation Project.
“Last year, our report highlighted how we were making progress to improve our bus systems, despite the pandemic,” said Tony Williams, CEO of the Federal City Council. “This year, as we enter our fourth year of living with the pandemic, we are raising the bar of our collective expectations and issuing a warning call that we are not on track to create the strong and inclusive regional mobility system that we envisioned back in 2019.”
The 2023 Bus Transformation Project Progress Report focuses on the six bus transformation initiatives MetroNow called for in 2022:
- Support WMATA’s regional bus network redesign process.
- Build 10 miles of new bus lanes & implement an enforcement strategy.
- Create a regional strategy to recruit & retain bus operators.
- Create a strategy for zero emissions infrastructure & the workforce.
- Consolidate regional bus operations data & best practices.
- Create a regional strategy to address the transit funding cliff.
MetroNow gave passing grades to the first five of the six initiatives. The region has not come together to identify and work toward solutions to Metro’s looming fiscal cliff.
In 2023, MetroNow recommends that the region prioritizes:
- Creating a regional strategy to address the transit funding cliff.
- Aligning behind a better bus network redesign option.
- Building 10 miles of new bus lanes & implementing an enforcement strategy.
- Creating a regional bus stop improvement plan.
- Monitoring regional policy & investment impacts of bus transformation.
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