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The Metrobus Benning Road-H Street Line Study ((En Español)

Quick Facts:

  • Who was involved? The study was a partnership between Metro and the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT).
  • What was studied? Metrobus routes X1, X2, and X3.
  • Where is the corridor located? The existing Benning Road/H Street Line runs from Minnesota Avenue Metro to Potomac Park/State Department (X1), Lafayette Square at H Street and Madison Place NW (X2), and McLean Gardens at Newark Street and Wisconsin Avenue NW (X3).
  • Why was this corridor chosen for study? The line serves around 14,000 passengers on an average weekday, one of the highest riderships in the Metrobus system. But the line has suffered from overcrowding, delays, and other reliability issues, prompting Metro and DDOT to explore potential improvements.
  • When did the study take place? The initial portion of the study took place in the second half of 2009, and the implementation portion of the study took place in 2010.
  • How will service on the line be improved? See below for the specifics of the restructured X Line and new Metro Express X9 service.

The new, improved Benning Road-H Street (X Line) and Metro Express X9 service, December 2010:

The first phase of improvements to the X Line took place in December 2009 with the addition of five PM peak-period trips (eastbound) on the X2 route.  Also, in September 2010, extra-long “articulated” buses were deployed to add capacity to the X2 route.  The additional PM trips will be discontinued in December 2010 because of the other added capacity on the line.

The next phase of improvements begins on Sunday, December 19, 2010, and the Metro Express X9 limited-stop route goes into service on Monday, December 20, 2010.  Metro is also planning long-range improvements for the X Line.

Immediate improvements - Sunday, December 19, 2010:

Metro has put a full-time supervisor on the street whose sole job is to manage the X Line.  The X Line supervisor and bus operators are in close communication with one another via laptop computers and hand-held devices.  Through greater communication, Metro staff can more easily have illegally parked cars and trucks removed; keep riders posted about detours, delays, and other information; and put more buses into service when necessary.  Furthermore:

  • Updated, easy-to-read schedules have been posted at stops.
  • Information cases, flags, and poles have been added or repaired as needed.
  • Bus drivers have received additional training specific to the X Line.
  • Supervisors now have a “playbook” that gives instruction on how to deal with delays, detours, when and how to put strategic buses into service, etc.
  • And Metro is working with police to promote safety and security on X Line buses and at bus stops along the corridor.

These enhancements are expected to produce a better, more reliable trip for X Line riders.

Immediate improvements - Monday, December 20, 2010:

The X9 is a new “Metro Express” limited-stop route.  It runs from 13th & H Streets NW in Downtown DC along H Street, Benning Road, Minnesota Avenue, Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, and several other streets to Capitol Heights Metro Station.  The X9 was created by Metro in response to riders who said they’d like a faster trip to Downtown DC. Click on the map icon to see a full-size map of the X9 route and stops that are served.

The X9 generally runs along the same route as the X2 between Downtown and Minnesota Avenue Metro; but instead of stopping every block or two, the X9 stops much less often.  This means that riders of the X9 can get to their destinations more quickly than with the local service.  X9 stops are indicated by special signs with the “Express Limited Stop Service” logo, and the X9 buses are branded so they are easily recognizable and distinct from local X Line buses.  The X9 runs every 15 minutes in peak periods in both directions on weekdays. Please note that the local X Line routes will continue to operate; the Metro Express X9 limited-stop route is in addition to the line and does not replace any existing service. 

Additionally, X1 riders will see the following improvements: 1) The western end of the X1 has been extended to Foggy Bottom Metro, 2) The service hours of the X1 have been extended to past 6:00 pm, and 3) The X1 has received other operational enhancements so that it will run more reliably.

Future improvements:

Metro has recommended the following improvements for the X Line in the mid- to long-range:

  • NextBus displays should be placed at high-volume stops along the corridor.  
  • Peak period X9 service should be increased from every 15 minutes to every 10 minutes.
  • Transit signal priority should be deployed east of 13th Street NW.
  • Dedicated transit lanes should be instituted in peak periods west of North Capitol Street.

In the 3-year-plus timeframe, X9 service should be expanded to the midday period on weekdays (with 15-minute off-peak headways).  Ultimately, the X9 should become an all-day service, 7 days a week, with 10-minute headways in the peak weekday periods and 15-minute frequencies all other times.


Timetables and Maps:

Click on one of the following for a Metrobus timetable and map (PDFs):

X2
• Metro Express X9
X1 and X3


Reports and Publications:

The following are downloadable documents that supported the Benning Road-H Street study. Some of the files are large with many graphics; please allow adequate time to download.

Frequently Asked Questions (Dec 2010)

Final Report (Jan 2010)
Newsletter, including the draft recommendations (Jan 2010)

Presentation, final round of public meetings (Nov 2009)
Display boards, final round of public meetings (Nov 2009)

Presentation, second round of public meetings (Sept 2009)
Display boards, second round of public meetings (Sept 2009)

Rider Survey Results (August 2009)

Presentation, first round of public meetings (July 2009)
Display boards, first round of public meetings (July 2009)


Events:

Metro Express X9 Implemented:

December 20, 2009: The Metrobus X9 limited-stop route was put into service, with a ceremony at Minnesota Avenue Metro station featuring several prominent elected officials from the Washington region. Below left, the ribbon-cutting that inaugurated the new service; and below right, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham addresses those in attendance in front of a new Metro Express X9 bus.

..

Final Round of Public Meetings Held:

The third and last set of public meetings for the Benning Road-H Street
Line Study were held on Tuesday, November 10, 2009, at Sherwood Recreation Center and Thursday, November 12, 2009, at Marshall Heights Community Development Organization. Both meetings started with an open house at 6:30 pm and were followed by a presentation and group discussion at 7 pm. At the meetings, Metro presented draft recommendations for the study and listened to riders' comments about potential service improvements for the line.

Second Round of Public Meetings Held:

The second round of public meetings for the Benning Road-H Street Line Study were conducted on September 22 and 24, 2009, at the same locations in Northeast DC along the X Line corridor where the first two meetings were held.
The focus of the second round of meetings was to share concepts for improvements to the X Line and gather participant feedback on the ideas.

Public Meetings Held in July:

Two public meetings were held in July 2009 in support of the Metrobus Benning Road-H Street Line Study.
The purpose of the meetings was to hear rider comments, questions, and suggestions about ways to improve transit service along the Benning Road-H Street corridor. The project team also discussed the preliminary results of the rider survey that was distributed on the X1, X2, and X3 routes in June.

The first meeting was on Tuesday, July 14, at Sherwood Recreation Center (640 10th Street NE) and the second was on Thursday, July 16, at Marshall Heights Community Development Organization (3939 Benning Road NE). The program for both meetings consisted of an open house from 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm and a presentation and group exercise from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

The study team heard valuable feedback from participants used the information that was received as a guide in creating a package of improvement concepts that was presented at the second round of public meetings in September.

Rider Survey Conducted:

WMATA and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) conducted a rider survey on June 25, 2009, for the Metrobus Benning Road/H Street Line Study. Surveys were available on X1, X2, and X3 buses on the day and evening of the survey, and respondents had the option of placing their completed surveys in pouches on the buses or mailing them in later postage-paid. The purpose of the survey was to receive feedback from riders about what works on the X1, X2, and X3 routes and what needs improvement. Input from riders was used to develop study options and recommendations for enhancing service on the line.