09/22/2011 09:32 am ET | Updated Nov 22, 2011

Metro Tries New 'Time Frequency Schedule' For Busy Bus Line

WASHINGTON -- When Metro institutes a number of bus changes this weekend across the region, the transit agency will be trying something new with one busy District of Columbia bus corridor: It's getting rid of set schedules. Like other slow and sluggish crosstown bus lines, Route 90/92/93 buses can get off schedule, which leads to bus bunching. That Metrobus line, which links Anacostia and Adams Morgan via Capitol Hill, Florida Avenue and U Street NW, will instead have "time-frequency schedules" weekdays between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.

"It is a first for Metro," agency spokesman Dan Stessel tells The Huffington Post. "The goal is to provide more regular service for customers." Instead of buses hitting particular stops at scheduled times, the buses will serve stops on time frequencies.

What does that mean for bus riders on U Street NW, for instance? A 90, 92 or 93 bus should arrive every 7 to 8 minutes between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Areas beyond where those bus routes overlap -- the 90 bus terminates at the Anacostia Metrorail station, while the 92 and 93 buses terminate at the Congress Heights Metrorail station -- service is every 15 minutes on the time-frequency schedule.

Metro will deploy service operations managers along the route to monitor road and traffic conditions and help pace buses along the way to prevent bunching, a common complaint among riders.

In a sense, the new time-frequency schedule will make the 90/92/93 buses run more like the D.C. Circulator, where there is no set schedule, but buses generally service stops on 10-minutes intervals.

Flickr photo by Mr. T in DC