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D.C. lawmaker pitches Feb. 4 ‘Bus to Work Day’

Riding the bus helps reduce air pollution and traffic congestion, says Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd

A Metro bus near Union Station
Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock

Environmental, labor, and civil rights groups as well as two U.S. states recognize Feb. 4, next Monday, as either Transit Equity Day or Rosa Parks Day—the civil rights icon’s birthday and an occasion to advocate for accessible public transit. Now, under a new proposal by Brandon Todd, the Ward 4 councilmember, it also would be recognized as “Bus to Work Day” in D.C.

Todd has drafted a ceremonial resolution with that aim and is encouraging residents to take the bus on Monday, in part to alleviate air pollution and traffic congestion. Metro supports the effort, according to Todd’s office. Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld will join Todd, members of Metro’s largest transit union, ATU Local 689, and other D.C. officials, including the District’s transportation and environmental bigwigs, at a press conference set for Friday.

“For every passenger mile traveled, public transportation is twice as fuel efficient as private automobiles,” Todd’s resolution reads. “Buses emit 20% less carbon monoxide, 10% as much hydrocarbons, and 75% as much nitrogen oxides per passenger mile than an automobile with a single occupant.” The resolution also notes that bus commuting is “financially responsible.”

As of today, the D.C. area already has an annual “Bike to Work Day” that draws thousands of riders and features dozens of pit stops. This year’s Bike to Work Day is scheduled for May 17.

Todd’s move comes as the D.C. Circulator is offering free service to riders through February. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the free rides last week as part of a month-long campaign. Additionally, Metro saw a dip in bus and train ridership and revenue in January because of the partial federal government shutdown. Average weekday bus ridership dropped 8 percent.