30s is the new 20: bus routes get better
Catching any of the 30s buses along Wisconsin used to be like catfish noodling–it takes time, and once you stick your hand in, there’s no telling what’ll chomp down. That might change now that Metro revamped the line last Sunday, hoping to improve its reliability and customer satisfaction.
The 30 series, which runs from Friendship Heights through Georgetown and down Pennsylvania Ave on its way to the Maryland border in Southeast, is the busiest Metrobus line, serving 20,000 riders daily. Due to their extraordinarily long route along some of the District’s busiest roads, they are also among the slowest and least reliable.
In mid-2007, Metro commissioned a study to determine what could be done to improve the line. It noted that riders were most concerned with crowding on the bus, frequency, and timeliness. That study prompted Metro to create 3 distinct route categories: local routes (the remaining crosstown buses), neighborhood connectors, and limited-stop services.
Before the change, all 5 buses were crosstown, now only 2 are. The other 3 bus routes have been replaced with 2 neighborhood connectors and 2 express services. Of use to students are the 32 and 36 locals, which still travel to Southeast, and the newly-created 31 neighborhood, which runs from Friendship Heights to Foggy Bottom.
To ensure that buses do not bunch up in traffic, Metro will also post dispatchers along the routes. If the new system goes as planned, expect a bus roughly every 5-10 minutes along Wisconsin.
Photo from Flickr user FredoAlvarez used under a Creative Commons license