Should the Metroway level of service be reduced until Potomac Yard development is complete, and if so what would the impact be on the City’s Metro operating subsidy?
Staff recommends that the Metroway level of service should not be reduced for the following reasons: there would be limited savings but a significant impact to current and future riders; Metroway is jointly funded with Arlington County, and we would need Arlington’s agreement to make any changes; and ridership is steadily growing as Potomac Yard continues to build out. To date the Metroway buses have carried some 824,923 passengers (not including supplemental service during SafeTrack) and average about 2,447 riders per weekday.
In addition, Metroway is a key complimentary service in the event of any rail disruptions (i.e. SafeTrack), is vital to the multi-modal transportation goals of Potomac Yard and Oakville Triangle, and is the region’s first BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) service. It should be noted that the current weekday headway (peak and off-peak) of 12 minutes is at the lower end of recommended best practices for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Any reductions in service are not a one-to-one reduction; for example, increasing the headway to every 24 minutes would not result in a savings of fifty percent.
In order to reduce the Metroway subsidy, Staff recommends continuing to work with Arlington County and WMATA to convert Metroway from a non-regional route to a regional route as part of the WMATA FY 2019 Operating budget. This could save the City approximately $200,000 per year, without any reductions in service.