“Ridership on the X2 Metrobus line has jumped 14% after Metro changed the way the line is managed.”


“Dear PoPville,

As a dedicated X2 rider for 4 years, the X2 has changed a lot – and the rise of the “bus bunching” last year was noticeable and aggravating. I’m glad WMATA is dedicating more resources to handling this busy route.

Though, while the frequency of buses has increased 6am-7pm on weekdays – there is still a persistent gap in service from 7pm-7:30/45 – which after a long day is never fun.

And on weekends, forget the X2 entirely.”

From WMATA’s post Metrobus X2 Continues to Gain Riders:

“So to improve reliability, we made some changes in December 2014:

To meet demand, we increased the frequency of buses to an even 8 minutes all day long – 6:00am-7:00pm on weekdays.
We deployed a team of dedicated supervisors on the street (at Minnesota Avenue and Lafayette Square) and at the Bus Operations Control Center to ensure even spacing between buses on weekdays. The X2 is now a “headway-managed” route on weekdays, meaning our primary goal is to maintain buses evenly every 8 minutes throughout the day.
We adjusted the scheduled running times by about 15% for all trips.

The results have been impressive: ridership has jumped 14% from 12,700/day in October 2014 to 13,800 in February, overcrowding (particularly during the midday) has been virtually eliminated, and on-time performance has grown to 83% – a remarkable achievement for a heavily congested urban corridor.”

30 Comment

  • Well, good work reducing the crowding and improving the on-time performance. But are you sure that ridership increase is because of something *you* did, and not something like, I don’t know, the fact that it’s much colder outside in February than it was in October?

    • Naw, that couldn’t be it. It’s all due to WMATA being amazing! I mean just look at their track record, it’s gotta be due to them!

    • The easy way to check for that would be to compare it on a year-on-year basis (Oct. 2014 vs. Oct. 2013 and Feb. 2015 vs. Feb. 2014). I don’t have the data, but I’m assuming the WMATA planners do and that they checked it (they’d be pretty bad planners if they didn’t). But the improvements are sufficiently dramatic to convince me that there is something more than just weather at play here. I’m all about criticizing WMATA when they deserve it (a lot of the time), but here they’ve actually done something constructive and positive, so maybe let’s not be so quick to tear it down?

      • Agreed. Also, my personal experience is that people seem to use the bus less when it’s colder out (which sort of makes sense, people don’t want to wait outside). This may or may not be true but the change does seem like it could be significant.

      • WMATA usually cites year-over-year changes when it comes to Metrorail ridership (e.g., Presidents’ Day one year vs. Presidents’ Day the next year). The fact that they’re not doing it in this press release makes me a little suspicious.

      • Believe me, if there’s a WMATA apologist around here, I’m him. But this one stretched my willingness to give them the benefit of the doubt. And you’ll note that I did begin my comment by giving them credit (I did mean it literally, not sarcastically).

    • Since overall bus ridership went down from October to February, yes I think the increase is specific to the X2.

  • I take the X2 every day. It is still overcrowded during rush hour times and has even passed up stops on occasion because the bus is at capacity. With H Street still pumping in more and more residents, it’s only going to get worse.

  • A new ratchet micro-chasm every 8 min!

  • It has gotten better but to say overcrowding has been “virtually eliminated” is ridiculous to anyone who regularly rides the X2.

  • C’mon…
    The X-line is the third-most trafficked line in the city behind the S and 52/4 routes. A quick timetable check shows those come every 4-5 minutes. I’d hardly call running busses every 8 minutes a “remarkable achievement.”

    In addition to weather, the spike in people is also likely the result of… a spike in people. With three entire blocks poised to become 10-story condos, and the building on 3rd and H about to open, this trend will only continue.

    You’d think that if getting people to and from H St was a thing, you could think of other ways to do it other than the streetcar. Like, I dunno, running some more busses.

    • The best thing to do would be to have a dedicated transit lane on H St with physical separation that both the streetcar and Metrobuses could use. But that would probably never happen, as drivers would be sure to go nuts.

      I do hope they do implement a dedicated ROW on K St if they ever actually build out the streetcar to Georgetown.

      • +1. Dedicated lanes, signal priority, articulated buses. Better than a streetcar since it could be done NOW. But, oh wait, this is WMATA so they’d probably have to do 3 year-long studies first.

    • Do you know the name of the building on 3 and H? Is this the one right across from the senate square? Is it a rental/ condo building?

      • I think you’re referring to the new Station House apartment building (701 2nd Street NE). It is directly across H Street from Senate Square. They are apartments and just started leasing.

      • Station House I think it is called. And it seems to be rentals. There will be condos up around 5th and H though if not on the 300 block. Great location….

  • SouthwestDC

    Does it really come every 8 minutes now? I tried taking it once, a few years ago, and it was a 30-minute wait. Didn’t really see the point of taking it again since I could have walked to my destination faster.

  • So as a pretty regular x-2 rider (it is the most direct route work/home), it is still awfully crowded on a regular basis, particularly at rush hour times – but often late into the evening. I think a couple of express buses – with stops at the major transfer spots (7th St/Chinatown, N. Capitol, and 8th St. NE – for the 90/92’s) might be an interesting experiment. I have counted as many as 30-40 people loading on at Chinatown on to one bus which can really slow down the commute across the city. Also given how many people are transferring to the 90’s buses from H St. NE, should the X-3 – which connects Benning St/beyond to Minnesota Ave to FL Avenue NE & NW/U St. – be offered outside of just rush hours?? I think if the general Metro train rider had to put up with some of the overcrowded conditions and slow progress across town that X-2 riders regularly put up with, they would be protesting loudly.

  • Okay – now make the entire system headway managed as it makes way more sense than a schedule especially when responding to traffic and road closures.

  • Buses every 8 mins? I think this is theroretical. They are always overcrowded. What’s more, as noted above, after 7pm on weeknights they are still terribly overcrowded yet run roughly every 20 mins. They need to add buses so that there is one every 4 minutes of they will at all manage to keep up with the increased density along H. I think WMATA needs to do a WHOLE LOT MORE about the X2. I used to catch it daily each way for my commute, but have stopped because it’s either a depressing experience of humankind (much like the 90 and 92), or because I can walk most of the route almost as fast as one overcrowded X2 in peak hour traffic…

    • I would like WMATA to do something about the stabbing and shooting incidents that have happened on the X2 in the past few years.

    • Not to mention in the morning, NextBus will say the X2 is coming in 3 minutes and then it’ll take 10 minutes to actually show up. I wonder if the WMATA is going by NextBus time estimates or when the buses actually show up.

  • On Saturday around 8pm, I rode the X2 from Gallery Place to 14th/H NE. I waited on a very crowded bus stop for about 15 mins. Then a bus showed up, overcrowded and only a handful of people were able to get in. But I noticed that a few blocks down there was another X2. And one right behind that. So we were all able to get on the bus. 3 back-to-back-to-back buses = poorly spaced out but win/win because we all got to ride the bus.
    Oh yeah, and some person tried to pick a fight with the bus driver and then I remembered how loud and crazy the X2 gets.

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