Metrobus X2 Continues to Gain Riders

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

X2 Ridership growth

The X2 bus on the busy H Street/Benning Road corridor has always been one of Metro’s busiest routes at over 13,000 riders per day.  (If the X2 were a Metrorail station, it’d rank just above Silver Spring and just below Rosslyn!) 

Through most of 2014, the X2’s on-time performance (OTP) averaged about 65% – well below Metro’s goal.  Insufficient running time in the schedule, and disruptions from planned and unplanned detours along the route created uneven spacing between buses leading to “bus bunching” and long gaps between buses.   These service gaps often led to significant overcrowding, particularly during the midday period.

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.

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  1. jnb
    March 24th, 2015 at 09:59 | #1

    Question regarding this report: curious how this relates to the X9 and larger growth rates of bus ridership in the District. I would be curious to see if because the service is more regular, fewer are riding the X9 and more riding the X2?

    Also, what’s the chances that the data underlying this analysis would be published online so that interested analysts could take their own spin through the data?

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  2. Matt Dickens
    March 24th, 2015 at 12:05 | #2

    Is the ridership data based on data from automated passenger counters, or farebox counts, or some combination of the two?

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  3. Justin
    March 24th, 2015 at 12:29 | #3

    @Matt Dickens
    The ridership data here (in the chart, and behind the 14% figure) is from farebox counts.
    The data on overcrowding and OTP are based on automated passenger counters (APCs) and the buses’ vehicle location system.

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  4. Justin
    March 24th, 2015 at 12:46 | #4

    @jnb Over the same time period (Nov to Feb), ridership on the X9 fell slightly (1%), from 1,830 to 1,805/day. So a small part of the difference may be riders switching from the X9, but not enough to explain all the growth. The combined X2+X9 were up 12% in the same time period.

    We always try to post the underlying data here, but in this case the graph is really just a handful of summary numbers. By what dimensions are you interested in breaking it down further?

    Generally, ridership on the Benning/H corridor has been outperforming other major bus corridors in the District (e.g., the 30s, 16th St, 14th St, Georgia Ave, etc.) in the last few months, most of which have been in the +/-3% range over the same timeframe.

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  5. Scott
    March 24th, 2015 at 12:55 | #5

    I would also add that Midday ridership has shown the most significant gains – accounting for most (almost 1000) of the additional riders per weekday.

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  6. Arthur Delaney
    March 25th, 2015 at 15:46 | #6

    I am a daily X2 rider and I didn’t realize overcrowding had been virtually eliminated. Just this morning at 9:15 or so a westbound X2 was too crowded to board at 14th and H Street NE, for instance. What is the definition of overcrowding?

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  7. Lida
    December 11th, 2015 at 10:42 | #7

    overcrowding (particularly during the midday) has been virtually eliminated” BOLD FACED LIE. I ride that bus every morning and evening to/from work. Sometimes catch it for lunch in Chinatown or H St area. Even during the day it’s severely croweded.

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  8. March 22nd, 2018 at 10:05 | #8

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