Could GUTS be a thing of the past?
Greater Greater Washington, a blog about smart growth in the D.C. Metropolitan area, tackled the GUTS bus question yesterday and concluded that everyone would be better off if we just relied on the D:
Why does Georgetown need a shuttle from campus to Dupont Circle at all? Right now, there’s a bus that goes right from the Reservoir Road side of campus to the same intersection of 21st and Q that GUTS uses: the D3 and D6 buses. The route is identical, except the D buses stop on Reservoir instead of looping around Lot A just inside campus …
We could improve transit for all if Georgetown applied the money it spends on the Georgetown-Dupont route to WMATA to add service to the D3 and D6, and subsidize students’ rides on them. If the D buses stop too often along the way, we could even create a D9 express bus … Besides, the GUTS schedule estimates a 15 minute trip from Georgetown University to Dupont Circle, while the WMATA schedule actually claims it’s even less than that.
It’s an interesting idea in theory, but there would be some major hurdles. Setting aside concerns about how mind-numbingly complex and the occasionally unreliable D.C.’s bus system is, would the University really be able (or willing) to negotiate with WMATA to create a suitable express route?
And, if we managed that, how would bus rides be paid for? Would the University provide SmarTrip cards to everyone and, if so, how would it be administered? If the stalled Student Metro Discount campaign is any indication, negotiating large-scale deals with WMATA isn’t quite as easy as it might sound. And if the University doesn’t subsidize the trips, would riders have to pay out of pocket?
If the University eliminated GUTS buses but worked with WMATA to augment the D line, would that do anything to pacify the neighbors? Also, GGW’s suggestion doesn’t take into account any GUTS lines besides Dupont. Even if we could work something out for that route, what about the others?
But what say you—would expanded D line coverage be an acceptable GUTS substitute?