Metro moves to replace outdated bus garages
New, expanded facilities needed to cope with demand for transit service
Nearly half of Metro’s nine bus garages are so old that they could be considered antiques.
One-third of Metro’s 1,524 buses operate out of four garages that are 64 to 102 years old. The facilities are located in the Northwest Washington, Alexandria, Va., and Prince George’s County, Md.
“The Royal Street, Western, Northern and Southern bus garages are outdated and desperately in need of rehabilitation or replacement,” said Jack Requa, Metro Assistant General Manager of Operations Services. “Southern Avenue Bus Garage is partially condemned yet employees still work there. At Northern Bus Garage, water seeps through the walls and is ankle deep in store rooms when it rains.”
Earlier this year, Fairfax County and Metro opened the transit agency's first new bus garage in 20 years -- the West Ox bus facility in Fairfax County, Va. Plans also are under way to replace Southeastern Bus Garage, which closed last year due to its proximity to Nationals Ball Park, with a new facility at D.C. Village in Southwest Washington. Efforts are under way to replace the Royal Street Bus Garage in Alexandria with a new facility on Cinder Bed Road in Fairfax County, Va., and rebuild and expand Southern Bus Garage in Prince George’s County, Md. The new facilities could be expanded to house 259 more buses, which would be enough space to relocate the Western and Northern bus garages.
“The new facilities are opportunities to relocate garages from congested neighborhoods, and to accommodate more buses, which are needed to keep up with the growing transit ridership,” said Metro General Manager John Catoe.
Ridership has been increasing over the last several years. Last fiscal year, rail ridership increased 3.6 percent and bus increased about 1 percent. Metro planners predict the average daily rail ridership could grow from 747,000 today to nearly one million by 2030. To help accommodate that growth, planners have proposed expanding and improving Metrobus service and the fleet.
The three new facilities are estimated to cost about $309 million. Only about one-third of the cost has been set aside for construction. Funding for the remaining cost has not yet been secured. Metro officials estimate another $35 to $44 million could help pay for the new garages with the potential sale of Royal Street and Northern bus garages. Metro officials are also looking at the possibility of development on the site of Western Bus Garage, located in the Friendship Heights section of Northwest Washington. The transit agency also is applying for federal grants to help pay for bus service improvements, including bus garages.
Media contact for this news release: Candace Smith or Steven Taubenkibel at 202-962-1051.
News release issued at 11:24 am, June 11, 2009.