The future of mass transit is unclear in a post-pandemic world. A Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) survey is gathering feedback on what that should look like.

PRESS RELEASE: Metro seeks public input on proposed budget to support regional recovery amid pandemic-related financial constraints

I filled out the survey and was quite clear — service needs to return to or exceed pre-pandemic levels no later than the opening of in-person public schools. To do otherwise invites the “transit death spiral.”

22 stations could be closed, 30 minutes intervals

Metro asks customers to consider major cuts in service proposed to begin in July – WTOP

Metro’s money-saving options include the rail system shutting down at 9 p.m. instead of 11 p.m., closing 22 stations, and 30-minute intervals between trains all day, every day except some stations on the Red Line.

Scare tactics of course, but opponents would certainly embrace it.

Good mass transit improves mobility for all

Whether you are a transit user or not, frequent service provides benefits.

Take for example my bus line, the 8W. Let’s be conservative and say that 40 people take a bus every 15 minutes for 3 hours each commute. That’s 480 commuters that are not in 480 cars going up and down Van Dorn Street every morning. That doesn’t take into account the 8Z which is typically more crowded. So, between the two lines, that’s probably around 1,000 or more cars that are not on the road during rush hour.

Why I like mass transit

I commuted by car from Pentagon City or Alexandria’s West End to Tysons daily for over a decade. It was miserable.

When I changed jobs in early 2014, I started taking the 8W/8Z to Pentagon metro to Courthouse daily. My quality of life improved considerably. The commute was less stressful than the stop and go drive up and down the Capital Beltway. I could read, look at my phone or even just relax and look out the window.

When I changed jobs again later that year and began working in NoMa, the wisdom of this choice was even more clear. A typical morning commute was about 35 minutes from the bus stop to the station exit. Sometimes, on a Friday, for example, it was as quick as 27 minutes! That’s a tough to do in car at any time.

How you can help

Start off with filling out the survey about Metro service

Contact your elected officials

In addition to contacting your local officials, reach out to federally elected officials.

Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner

Virginia representatives

Maryland Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen

Maryland representatives

D.C. representative Eleanor Holmes Norton

Read more

A WMATA Survey Is Asking About Service Cuts, Tolerance for Breakdowns, and Reduced HoursWashingtonian

h/t Janet Wamsley

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