Residents outraged after Metro says it may eliminate bus line that serves many

OXON HILL, Md. -- On December 8, the MGM will open to the public.  The $1.8 billion dollar project has brought thousands of jobs to the area and is expected to bring at least 25,000 visitors to the National Harbor every day.

However, not everyone is excited.  In fact, long time Oxon Hill and Fort Washington residents told DCW50 they were stressed because the P17, P18, and P19 bus lines that take them into the District for work, could soon be eliminated.

“There are a lot of elderly people that don’t have cars that depend on this bus, there are a lot of people that just don’t have cars, and with this bus they are able to get to and from work,” expressed Tawanna Bentley.  Bentley has lived in southern Prince George’s County for decades. She and another commuter, Anthony Mitchell, collected hundreds of signatures on a petition to try to save the bus route that serves as an only means of transportation for many residents.

Metro reported it is considering getting rid of up to fourteen bus lines as part of the 2017 budget.

Metro officials reported there being about 1,100 people that ride the P17, P18, P19 daily.  However, the bus line is still on the list of routes that Metro says would be most cost-effective to eliminate.

Meanwhile, a new bus line was added to the system.  The NH2 runs from Old Town Alexandria to the National Harbor.

“Just last month they opened a bus line to run across the Wilson Bridge to bring the good residents of Alexandria across here to spend their money.  But the people who actually live here in Prince George’s County, who spend $5,000 or $6,000 dollars in taxes, we can’t get to work downtown on a commuter bus,” expressed Mitchell.

An issue Prince George’s County council member Obie Patterson raised to Metro’s General Manger, Paul Wiedefeld, in early November.

“What was the rationale to add a bus, but yet cut a bus?” asked Patterson.

“The NH2, that was a combination of jurisdiction and private dollars funding that. That’s different because all the other routes are just jurisdictionally funded, there are no private dollars going towards them,” explained Wiedefeld.

Metro officials went on to say, a private company is pumping $500,000 dollars into the route that runs from Alexandria to the National Harbor.

Wednesday, Metro staff said they were still in early stages of deciding which bus lines will be cut.

Bentley, Mitchell, and hundreds of others just hope Metro’s budget cuts do not cost them their jobs.

Metro said a final list of bus routes that could be eliminated as part of Metro’s 2017 budget will be released in the last board meeting of the year.  Next, there will be planning meetings open to the public in January or February.  The final budget will be approved in March.