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  • DC Metro Is Spending Millions Driving Buses From Garages To Routes

    The District’s Metrobus service has had to increase operating costs by $5 million since 2007 to cover the additional “deadhead” miles between bus garages and their assigned routes.

    Each day, Metro dispatches more than 1,600 buses to service 315 routes throughout the city. Those buses travel from one of nine bus garages in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, adding up to more than 24,000 deadhead, or non-revenue, miles per year.

    This deadhead mileage has been steadily increasing since 2007 and is only expected to get more costly as the city develops, and bus garages are pushed farther away from the routes they serve.

    “All of this extra journey time simply to get from the division to the customer adds extra deadhead miles to each route,” the agency wrote in a post on its planning blog. “That deadhead is now starting to cost big bucks.”

    Migration-of-Bus-Garages_w

    A lot of the bus divisions currently used by Metro are very old and simply aren’t built to accommodate the modern buses the agency has commissioned in recent years. Aside from the two newest bus garages, which were both built in the last two years, the median age of bus facilities is more than 60 years old.

    For instance, the doors at the 70 year-old Royal Street bus division were too short to fit the modern buses. Also, more than a quarter of the city’s buses run on compressed natural gas, but only two of its garages, one in Arlington, Va., and another in northeast D.C., are equipped to handle them.

    Oftentimes, the agency wrote in the post, it is literally impossible for Metro to refurbish these old facilities and it needs to build new garages, but problems arise when a bus garage wants to move in next door.

    “Many do not want to live near a bus division, but if the region wants bus service, we need bus garages,” the post reads.

    The agency says deadhead miles are expected to stay near 24,000 for the next few years, but with two new bus garages soon opening farther away from the city, one in Alexandria, Va., in 2017 and another in Bladensburg, Md., in 2018, costs will once again go up.

    Deadheading-Animated

    It may be inconvenient for residents, the agency wrote, but it is essential to keep deadhead miles down in order to keep operating costs down.

    “As we plan for the future of Metrobus, the ongoing operating cost impacts of garage relocations should play a role in how these decisions are made,” they wrote.

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    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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