Housing Complex

D.C. Seeks Firm to Design, Build, Operate “Integrated Premium Transit System”

streetcar network

When streetcars begin carrying passengers down H Street NE sometime in the next few months, they'll usher in not just the revival of a transportation technology that's been extinct in the District since 1962, but also the first step in D.C.'s "Integrated Premium Transit system."

Today, the District Department of Transportation issued a solicitation for firms interested in designing, building, operating, and maintaining the IPT, as it's referred to in the solicitation. Despite the fancy name, the IPT isn't really anything more than the planned streetcar network and the existing bus network within the District—but brought together under a single operator.

The biggest task of the selected firm will be to expand and run the streetcar network, consisting of a 22-mile priority network—the H Street line, dubbed the "One City Line," which will extend to Georgetown and across the Anacostia River, as well as future lines connecting Anacostia to the Southwest Waterfront and Buzzard Point to Takoma—and a possible 15-mile addition. The company will need to lay new tracks, provide streetcars (the city anticipates needing 62 vehicles for the priority network), and create maintenance facilities.

The streetcar is expected to run during the following hours, with 10-minute headways between trains:

  • Monday through Thursday, 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (midnight);
  • Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.;
  • Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
  • Sundays and holidays, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Additionally, the firm will take control of two bus components: the Circulator and the "non-regional" D.C. Metrobus routes. The latter consists of 20 routes that are contained entirely within the District and not subsidized by other jurisdictions.

The city is hoping that a private operator of the integrated network will be able to complete the network more quickly and cheaply than the city would. "DDOT has concluded that accessing private-sector innovation...is a way to ensure cost-effective and expedited delivery of the IPT in the best interest of the District," the solicitation states.

Companies interested in taking control of the IPT are required to respond by March. The city will then short-list selected firms by May.

Map from the DDOT solicitation

  • Matt

    So lets see...more taxpayers subservient to the ruling class, prices working folks can't afford, lower wages for employees of the sector, less protections for healthcare and sickness related absences from work, less protection from risky private management...This should work out well for the majority *rolls eyes*

  • Sandy K

    For the record, the non-regional Metrobus routes are listed in this GGW article: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/15353/ddot-ponders-privatizing-streetcar-local-metrobus-routes/
    Most are among DC's lowest-ridership bus routes. They are often poorly-designed and too infrequent. I hope this RFP allows the contractor to improve service on those lines in cooperation with DDOT. Otherwise, this is great news. WMATA will never work in the best interests of DC residents, and DC should assert more autonomy over its own transportation system.

  • Another Matt

    I'm generally with you, but I'm also not psyched about the prospect of it being mismanaged by whatever incompetent crony Gray would appoint to run it.

    Sort of a rock and a hard place there.

  • Sandy K

    We have more control over who's mayor of DC than we do over who's on the WMATA board--the majority of which is appointed by the governors of Maryland and Virginia.

  • Corky

    Oh NOW they want to actually plan this transit system before they actually build it? What a novel idea. Unfortunately, we are stuck with the street car tracks on H Street whose construction has created a traffic nightmare that will only get worse, once it is up and running..and stopping.. and running..and stopping, blocking traffic the entire time. Just more of the same DC war on cars.

  • Fran

    I'm not sure I understand the point of the early closing on Sundays and holidays. Sunday night is a weeknight, for all intents and purposes, as are all holiday nights before a regular weekday. Unless they have no intention of serving people who work eves and mids.

  • Eric

    Wow...people. Does anybody have anything positive to say about this? Just all negativity. Like it or not, street cars are happening all across the land. It's not a war on cars, its a realization that thare is more than just one mode of transportation; more than one way of getting people from point A to point B. It will require some adjustments from citizens who have been used to but a single mode for decades. And it will be a bit painful, but it would be less painfull if folks would just give it a chance rather than poo pooing it from the get go.

  • noodlez

    @ERIC-I'M FOR ALL ALTERNATIVE MODES OF TRANSPO BUT DC IS A BEAUTIFUL CITY AND TO HAVE POWER LINES CRISS CROSS CITY SKYSCAPES FOR AN UNNECESSARY STATIC MODE OF TRANSPO WOULD BE A WASTE OF MONEY AND RESOURCES ESPECIALLY WHEN WE HAVE BUSES RUNNING ALONG THE CURRENT ROUTE THAT PROVIDE SOME FLEXIBILITY IF THERE IS AN ACUTE UNRESOLVABLE ISSUE.

    SLIM IT'S BETTER TO POO-POO IT NOW THAN TO EXPERIENCE IT AND POO-POO IT LATER WHILE WE WASTE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN THE PROCESS BECAUSE WE SHOULD GIVE IT A CHANCE.

  • Ricardus

    Will the buses be converted to trolley?
    Think of ecology. With the proposed streetcar network, you will have the traction circuit for both streetcar & trolleybus.

  • chris

    I wish they would just scrap the streetcars and build a BRT system. A streetcar network with take decades to build, cost a lot more, and ultimatly provide worse service than a BRT network.

    Better to use the money to build a BRT network that 1) is distinct from regular buses 2) has a clear network map integrated to the metro map 3) has designated platform stops with next bus timers 4)frequent headways (10 min and ever more than 15 min) 5) signal priority. Basically, do everything you would with a streetcar, but just don't lay the rails.

  • chris

    even more = never more than 15 min

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  • Petworthian

    I hope they evaluate bus rapid transit along with street cars. Best to think this through because once we pick a route we're locked in.

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