WASHINGTON — Neighborhood leaders in the District are demanding that Metro not cut bus routes as part of its proposed annual budget. Riders are now able to submit public comments online after the transit agency announced plans to “eliminate” 22 bus routes in December.
In a letter sent to Metro leaders, twelve commissioners from Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A near Columbia Heights say they are “extremely concerned” about changes to the 54 bus route.
Metro has proposed the line be absorbed by the 59 bus, which commissioners say provides fewer stops.
"That this change will disproportionately affect senior residents, residents with disabilities, and residents of affordable housing developments in portions of our Commission along 14th Street and of ANC 1B to our south,” the letter said.
Right now, the route connects Takoma to Metro Center using 14th Street through Columbia Heights.
“This morning’s 54 bus is full,” ANC 1A01 commissioner Layla Bonnot tweeted on Thursday. “Proposing eliminating this line in favor of the 59 which will cost more and doesn’t have the local stops we need in our community.”
ANC Commissioners say they are about to draft another letter to Metro leadership following a Wednesday night meeting. They say 54 bus makes 14 stops in their area while the 59 route that Metro favors stops nine times.
“This change will disproportionately affect senior residents, residents with disabilities, and residents of affordable housing developments in portions of our Commission along 14th Street and of ANC 1B to our south,” commissioners said.
Any changes to Metrobus routes would need the approval of Metro’s board, the transit agency underscored in a statement. Metro spokesperson Sherri Ly said there will be “an extensive multi-week public outreach period where customers can make their voices heard.”
“No decisions will be made until all public comments have been delivered to the Metro Board for their consideration,” Ly said.