Hucker to Metro: Don’t cut the J5 bus route
Please support County Councilmember Tom Hucker, and hundreds of workers, shoppers and students in their efforts to save the J5 Metrobus by signing this petition. The J5 is the only express bus between Silver Spring and Twinbrook. Click here to sign the petition to WMATA to save the J5.
The last run on the J5 route is scheduled for Friday, June 23. Metro cites low ridership and high subsidies as reasons for the elimination. Eliminating the route would save $388,362 in annual subsidies, it says. Click here to read Councilmember Hucker’s letter to WMATA.
“Many people depend on the J5 route every day,” Hucker said. “If Metro needs to save money, it should consider other options such as reducing the number of daily runs or reroute it, rather than eliminate it entirely.”
So far, more than 125 residents have signed a petition asking the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to reconsider its decision.
The petition – which can be found here – is organized by Javel “Jay” Wilson of Takoma Park, who for two years has been riding the J5 from Silver Spring to his job across Rockville Pike from White Flint Mall in North Bethesda.
“Until two years ago, I drove to work,” Wilson said. “Then I learned of the J5 and it made no sense to drive and sit in traffic. So I was able to give my car away to a friend in need and now I take the bus every day.”
The mass transit alternatives, such as Ride On’s Route 5, would be a downgrade, he said.
“On a good day, I’m on the J5 bus 25 minutes to get to work,” Wilson said. The Ride On bus would take 15 minutes longer, he said.
Wilson figures he’s gotten the word out about his petition to only about half of the J5 riders – those who, like him, ride from Silver Spring to Twinbrook in the morning.
“I have to work every day, so I haven’t had contact with the southbound riders in the morning,” he said.
Hucker is asking Paul J. Wiedefeld, WMATA’s CEO and general manager, to consider less drastic alternatives than eliminating the J5 route. Those include fewer daily bus runs and rerouting the bus off the Capital Beltway and onto Routes 410 and 355, which would also relieve pressure on other Ride On routes.
“Elimination of this route will significantly impact the daily commutes of many County residents who rely on it to get to work, school, and home in a timely manner,” Hucker wrote in a letter to Wiedefeld.
“As you know, residents who rely on public transportation often do so of necessity and avoid costlier modes, including Metrorail, to make ends meet,” Hucker wrote. “While WMATA has suggested alternative routes, including the Red Line, it is important to note that each alternative route would require additional fare payment, longer travel time, or route transfers, all of which directly affect a rider’s commute.”