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Blue City Pledged Its Buses Would Go Electric. Now It’s Making Drastic Route Cuts

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser proposed cutting routes for its DC Circulator bus program in half to save money after the city pledged to shift its buses to all electric or zero-emissions.

The city is set to have every new bus be either electric or zero-emission by 2030, which is projected to make the entire fleet electric or zero-emission by 2045, according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Bowser’s new budget proposal, which was unveiled Monday, would cut the city’s Circulator bus routes in half, she acknowledged in a Wednesday press conference; another city administrator acknowledged that the electrification program had been costly in the same conference.

In addition to going electric, D.C. has moved to make all bus rides free, which is expected to take effect in the summer.

“What you will see in my budget proposal is we don’t make huge new program investments, and that is the context that we entered this budget year in, and that I hope continues throughout the discussion,” Bowser said in the press conference. “We also, because we’re having this transit discussion, looked very closely at our costs for the DC Circulator, the ridership of the DC Circulator and how it fits into the larger transit discussion, and made the decision to recommend eliminating three of the six routes.”

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