Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Could DC Metro make do with night owl express busses?

Last week the Washington Metro held meeting and again hinted  that it could not afford to “patronize” night owl life in the area, as it put on the table a proposal to end Friday and Saturday night service that now runs until 3 AM. 

One possible proposal, that could work about 8 months of the year (when it is warm), is to run express bus service along the same routes as Metro and stop only at or near those stations.  Busses would have to run frequently enough (maybe every 10 minutes in some routes) to handle the volume that is spread along many train cars. The Orange Line into Arlington and Falls Church gets heavy after-midnight use. In addition, the Orange line bus could make one stop in Georgetown, near Wisconsin Ave. and M Street.  

I used to ride the “2V” and “2T” busses home from K Street near George Washington University to Arlington back in the 1960s, in the days of O Roy Chalk. The traffic on M Street to Key Bridge did indeed slow things down. 

An “express” service, which would run except when there is heavy snow or ice, could develop credibility with riders and give Metro more time to finish needed repairs with lower cost.  It could run all night, rather than stop at 3 AM.  Metro would have to publish the service well, online and with signs, and provide online mobile-ready information as to arrival times.  

See earlier coverage here Feb. 14

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