Board Approves 2015 Bus SOGO

November 20th, 2015

State of Good Operations (SOGO) changes coming to a Metrobus route near you.

Metrobus planning presented the annual 2015 Bus State of Good Operations recommendations (PDF) to the Board on November 19. The package was approved and customers will see some changes starting in December. The remainder of the changes will roll out with Metrobus’ March and June schedule changes. 

Staff provided SOGO proposal information at outreach events and pop ups, including at the Pentagon Transit Center

Staff provided SOGO proposal information at outreach events and pop ups, including at the Pentagon Transit Center, photo by WMATA

The annual SOGO process seeks board approval for changes to Metrobus service. Every year,  planners put together a comprehensive list of Metrobus routes they want to improve in the coming year. Any major service change must be approved by the board. A major Metrobus service change is defined as

  • Change in span of service on a line of more than one hour in a single fiscal year,
  • Change in revenue miles on a line of more than 20% in a single fiscal year,
  • Change in route miles on a line of 15% in a single fiscal year, or
  • Projected change of 10% of the riders on a line in a single fiscal year.

This year, planners were tasked with improving service, reliability, travel time, and crowding while keeping the proposals budget and cost neutral.  The recommendations must not have a disparate impact on minority populations or a disproportionate burden on low income populations.

To develop service plans, planners use your input.

Customers may have seen Metro staff at bus stops, rail stations, and community events, asking riders what they thought of the proposals. Listening to feedback from  passengers who use the service is critical for successful plans.

Between August 18 and September 21, we attended 29 outreach events, distributed 4,000 fliers, collected nearly 7,000 surveys, received 530 emails, and held a public hearing. Signs about the proposals were placed throughout the region and on the buses. An email blast was sent out to 36,495 registered SmarTrip card users. Customers could check the schedule for outreach events at the new website.

With all the input we received using Metro’s new — and award-winningPublic Participation Plan, we completed a Title VI equity analysis, held discussion sessions with jurisdictional partners, and amended proposals as needed. The final staff recommendations presented to the Board included 57 service change proposals and 3 tariff proposals. 13 of the service change proposals were amended from the original docket after taking into account everything we’d seen, heard, and learned in the 5-week public hearing period. 24 proposals were removed from consideration — including elimination of the 5A — for the current service change cycle.

This was our first year using the NEW Public Participation Plan.

Instead of asking our customers to attend a public hearing to tell us their thoughts, we used a more targeted effort to meet customers out on the routes they ride. We hope to refine the process in our 2016 SOGO process. Tell us, did you participate in the process? How would you improve the outreach?

Staff was on the ground, collecting input from our bus passengers

Staff was on the ground, collecting input from our bus passengers, photo by WMATA

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