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Riding the DC Circulator

From Dr. Gridlock: Just got back from a test ride on the DC Circulator. I'm now a fan. It would be a bargain at the normal fare of a dollar, but you can't beat today's free ride, part of the celebration of the service's first anniversary.

There are three routes through the center of Washington. I took the east-west route, starting my trip at 16th and K streets NW, riding down to Union Station and then looping back to the service's westernmost point at Wisconsin Avenue and M Street in Georgetown.

bus interior.jpg
Interior of the DC Circulator. (Robert Thomson)

Now I know my experience so far is limited, but I can tell you that buses came along very frequently -- definitely within the advertised range fo five to 10 minutes apart.

The only way I noticed you could tell that today's ride is free is to see the red cover on the fare box. I could not spot any notice at the bus stops or on the exterior of the bus. Many people seemed surprised about the free ride when they boarded.

Riders were a mix of tourists and locals. A driver I talked to confirmed my impression on that. He said many suburban rail commuters board the Circulator at Union Station in the morning.

I have one suggestion: If you're not real familiar with your destination, ask the driver for help. I sat in the back, and found that either the driver wasn't announcing stops or that I couldn't hear what he was saying. If I were a tourist on my way to the White House, I would have missed the stop at 16th and K.

By Robert Thomson  |  July 28, 2006; 1:39 PM ET
Categories:  transit  
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