Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Cutting off Circulation

The Circulator bus route has served Georgetown residents north of M Street since May 2007, when the Georgetown-Union Station line was expanded to run up Wisconsin Avenue. With the closure of the Wisconsin Avenue Safeway, many students and residents use the Circulator to access Trader Joe’s in Foggy Bottom. Others use it to commute downtown. Most importantly, it’s a cheap, student-friendly way to get around town: At $1 per ride, it’s 35 cents less than the Metrobus, a difference that accumulates for frequent riders.

The District Department of Transportation announced that it will [cut Circulator service](https://www.thehoya.com/news/circulator-bus-stops-be-cut/) on Wisconsin Avenue Oct. 4. Beginning from the corner of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, the new Circulator route will effectively cut off the university neighborhoods of West Georgetown and Burleith, according to a DDOT press release.

As students and residents, we lament the elimination of this vital public resource.

The DDOT has justified cutting the Wisconsin route by pointing to ridership statistics: Only 2 percent of the line’s riders use the Wisconsin leg, though it constitutes 15 percent of the total cost of running the Georgetown-Union Station line. Facing budget cuts and a bottomed-out economy, DDOT was forced to pull the plug. The DDOT sought to cut this line once before, only a year after it was established, but retained it because of public uproar.

Residents have challenged the DDOT statistic over the e-mail listserv for the Burleith neighborhood, claiming that they frequently see 10 or 15 riders on the line, even outside of peak times. It is possible that Safeway’s closure may have skewed these numbers over the past few months and that traffic will likely increase on Wisconsin Avenue when the new Safeway opens in the next year.

DDOT argues that the Circulator’s former passengers can now ride on the recently expanded Metrobus 30s series. This series runs up and down Wisconsin Avenue between Friendship Heights and downtown, save the 31, which ends in Foggy Bottom.

There are many problems with such a switch, however. Whereas the Circulator runs every 10 minutes, the 30s buses often arrive to a stop together and tend to arrive once every 20 minutes, if not further apart. Additionally, the Metrobus downtown service does not compare to the Circulator’s. The D series is another option to reach downtown, but outside of peak hours it runs infrequently, delaying and complicating a student’s commute to work. According to the Georgetown Metropolitan, the elimination of the Circulator on Wisconsin Avenue will cut the number of buses per hour that run from Wisconsin to downtown from 20 to six.

Cutting the Circulator on Wisconsin Avenue is unacceptable, and we strongly urge the DDOT to reconsider this move. Though the cuts have been approved already, a number of opposition efforts are cropping up in the area, including a letter-writing campaign to Mayor Adrian Fenty. A form letter and contact information can be found at the Georgetown Metropolitan’s Web site.

We encourage interested students and local residents alike to contact Fenty to express their outrage at this change. The Advisory Neighborhood Commission for our area, the Second District, has added the Circulator route change to its agenda for its next meeting on Sept. 29. All concerned residents should attend the meeting to voice their concerns, with the hope that the ANC will be able to facilitate discussion between local residents and the DDOT.

The Circulator route could very well be re-established or replaced if residents band together in the name of affordable public transportation. If not, we’ll have to say goodbye to efficient and affordable bus access to the rest of the District.

*To send a letter to the editor on a recent campus issue or Hoya story or a viewpoint on any topic, contact [opinionthehoya.com](opinionthehoya.com). Letters should not exceed 300 words, and viewpoints should be between 600 to 800 words.*

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