Photo by Beechwood Photography on Flickr.

Prince George’s County has fixed its schedules so that TheBus and Metrobuses traveling to the same places in Greenbelt stagger their departure times, helping riders make the most of the service that’s available.

In December, I wrote about the scheduling of Greenbelt’s revised bus service. Greenbelt is now served primarily by 3 bus routes: Metrobus G12, Metrobus G13/G14/G16, and TheBus 11. The lack of coordination when making schedules for these routes meant that all 3 buses would arrive at common points at the same time.

Riders found it frustrating to see 3 buses leave simultaneously and then be forced to wait 30 minutes for the next synchronous departure.

New Greenbelt bus frequency chart for midday weekdays. Click to enlarge. (Full day chart)

The hard work of Transit Riders United of Greenbelt and elected officials in Greenbelt has paid off. As of yesterday morning, the routes are now offset by several minutes. Riders should not have to wait more than 16-18 minutes for a bus during rush hour if they’re headed for parts of the city where the routes overlap.

While the bus schedules are not staggered by the optimum 15 minutes, the offsetting is clearly an improvement.

It should be noted that the G12 and G13/G14/G16 are a line family. The buses on those routes meet at Greenbelt Center for a timed transfer, so the red and green dots on the above chart should always be right above one another.

The Prince George’s route 11 overlaps mostly with the G12 or is within 2-3 blocks of the G12 at any given time. So, the best way to schedule this route is to offset the 11 from the G12 by about 15 minutes.

The new schedules don’t offset route 11 by exactly 15 minutes, and some riders will face a 20 minute wait between some bus departures, but most riders will average about 15 minutes between departures. An exact staggering of times is not possible, since the G12 and G13/G14/G16 wait for 5 minutes at Greenbelt Center, whereas the 11 does not. This makes the offset timing difficult.

Prince George’s County Transit should be commended for listening to the concerns of riders and making a positive change. Hopefully, the result will be shorter commutes for residents and better transit ridership in the county.

Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master’s in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Dupont Circle. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is an employee of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. His views are his own and do not represent those of his employer.