By Kael Anderson and Ron McBee
Washington Metropolitan Authority’s Route 74 bus will be undergoing minor name, routing, and signage modifications to improve service.
These are recommendations made by the “74 Bus Committee,” a steering committee of community stakeholders and WMATA staff. Led by Rhonda Hamilton and Pat Graham, the Committee is a unique collaborative effort to develop a successful new bus line. A demonstration of WMATA’s commitment to Southwest, the Committee is also considered a testing ground for improved service region-wide.
Specific Route 74 changes that will be unveiled in the coming weeks are:
- The name of the southern destination will be changed from “O and Half Street” to “Nationals Park.” Patrons, however, should understand that there is no change to the physical destination. The objective of this name change is to provide a recognizable destination, particularly for tourists and ballpark patrons.
- The Buzzard Point loop will be dropped on June 17th due to lack of ridership. This will decrease the time between buses to approximately 12-15 minutes, making the 74 Bus more frequent and easier for passengers to catch.
- WMATA has issued Next Bus installation bids for a number of bus shelters not only on the 74 Bus route but the 70 and 79 routes as well. “Next Bus” is an information display system that posts real-time estimated arrival times at individual bus stops along routes. It is expected these contracts will be in place before the summer. Pepco will then provide electricity to these shelters to effect the Next Bus signage as well as lighting for the display ads. The lights are a welcome addition to the shelters. Alternative power sources like solar were considered but ultimately deemed inadequate power sources.
- WMATA is evaluating how to accommodate Virginia Rail Express passenger demand in the morning at L’Enfant Plaza stop. This includes the Route 54 Bus as well as other approaches.