BID Provides DC Circulator Testimony

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

By Desiree

Richard H. Bradley, executive director of the DowntownDC BID and president of DC Surface Transit Inc. (DCST), testified before the DC Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment on Friday, April 26, about the future of the DC Circulator. The Committee, chaired by Councilmember Mary Cheh, held a public hearing on the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request Act of 2013 and specifically covered the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) budget.

During his testimony, Bradley focused on planning and the Circulator’s ongoing expansion, as well as the opportunity to partner with the National Park Service (NPS) for transit that not only connects the National Mall to the city, but also connects D.C. residents to cultural and recreational assets. Among the key points he presented:

• As the Circulator has grown, local support remains strong; 80 percent of its riders are D.C. residents.

• The goal to connect the city to the monumental core—the symbolic and actual federal center of D.C., including the Mall and surrounding areas to the north, east, and south, and extending west across the Potomac River into Virginia—to help visitors expand the scope of their visit and patronize local restaurants and businesses has not been fully realized.

• DDOT is working on this goal, which is reflected in a 10-Year Transit Development Plan.

•  Funding in the FY 14 budget will allow for new Circulator service beginning on March 1, 2015, creating a north-south connection for Mall service, which will link to the new CityCenterDC mixed-use development, the Marriott Marquis convention center headquarters hotel and the rapidly developing waterfront area.

• Funding will also allow DDOT to begin the process of procuring new buses to expand the Circulator fleet and secure the NPS partnership, which will support the service.

• NPS has offered a substantial financial commitment to fund public transit service, as well as a significant in-kind contribution for the facilities required to make transit expansion feasible.

“NPS should be commended for its strong leadership working to improve connections between the Mall and the city, as shown by its work on the Circulator expansion and the recent installation of Capital Bikeshare stations on and around the Mall,” said Bradley. “The District now has the opportunity to fulfill its portion of the partnership and improve access for visitors and residents alike.”

The red Circulator buses are a product of a unique public/private partnership between DDOT, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and DCST, a non-profit organization that includes the DowntownDC BID and its organizational partners. Since beginning service with two-routes in 2005, the DC Circulator has grown into a successful surface transit system which provides daily bus service on five convenient routes throughout the city. Circulator buses arrive every 10 minutes, and the fare is $1.