Expansion of DC Circulator Suspended


Expansion of the popular DC Circulator, including a proposed extension of the Rosslyn–Georgetown line to the U Street corridor (which Georgetown business have pushed for), has been suspended following two embarrassing audits of the bus system, formerly thought to be in good shape.

Safety, maintenance and financial problems were first discovered in August 2015 by an independent consulting firm commissioned by the D.C. Department of Transportation. Their audits revealed an average 2.9 critical defects, deemed “unacceptable by any standard,” and 22 overall defects per bus in a sample of 44 of the Circulator’s 67 buses. A second audit in January 2016 showed improvement, 0.5 critical and nine overall defects per bus, but that audit sampled only 22 buses and noted that “15-20 buses are consistently down on any given day for repairs.”

DDOT owns the buses, but pays $750,000 to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to manage them. WMATA outsources operations of the system to First Transit, which has a two-year $41.6 million contract.


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