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Suburban Buses Are Free Today

You can ride most of the suburban bus routes for free today on our second Code Red alert day of this summer. The idea is to lessen the amount of auto emissions that contribute to pollution.

The Metrobus routes in Maryland and Virginia are included in the free ride program, which is subsidized by the suburban governments. The District does not participate, so you still have to pay on the Metrobus routes in Washington.

Many of the buses have "Ride Free" signs displayed or make a reference to the Code Red day, or an ozone action alert. Free Metrobuses put a red bag over the farebox.

With the temperature again likely to be around 100 degrees this afternoon, Metro will probably have the same restrictions on trains as it did yesterday afternoon: The trains will be spaced out more on all lines, and will be moving more slowly on the above-ground tracks.

The MARC and VRE suburban commuter lines will likely be slowed by heat restrictions imposed by the freight rail companies that own some of the lines.

By Robert Thomson  |  August 2, 2006; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting  
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Next: Advice for the Afternoon Commute


Do free bus rides on Code Red days really get people out of their cars and onto the bus? What's the evidence that this program has any effect?

Posted by: Walter | August 2, 2006 8:07 AM | Report abuse

If I could put in my 2 cents for all of yesterday's complainers in the comments section "Why would they want people to use mass transit and then cut back on the amount of mass transit??". Folks, think about it for a second, the energy used to run your car is different and with far different consequences than the energy used to run a metro train. Code Red = poor air quality, so they want to at least TRY to cut back on air pollution by gettin folks out of their cars. Unfortunately, metrorail is an ELECTRIC system, which means through a series of transformers and backup generators it eventually leeches it's power off that very same power grid that runs that air conditioner that you love to crank up as soon as you get home! So while trying to get people out of their cars helps the air quality problem, they've unfortunately created an even larger problem if they pull too much off the grid (by having too many trains on the tracks at the same time and pulling power) and cause a blackout. 100 degrees and record electric demands are extreme circumstances that happen a few times a year, quit complaining and deal with it!

Posted by: PJB | August 2, 2006 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Just came back from Afghanistan with 120 F weather and with periods of no electricity, coming back makes me realize what a country of whiners we are. Some of us are enduring extreme conditions back in Afghanistan and Iraq, and all I here in DC is how intolerable the weather is. I wish they could do a tour in those places and try sleeping at night with 100+ degree weather.

Posted by: El Loco | August 2, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Laura - Yea, that's what I thought about the buses too. But I've been hearing differently these past couple days, that it's a pollution issue??

Posted by: PJB | August 2, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree El Loco. People complain waaaaaay too much here. Is it so terrible to have to wait 6 minutes for a train instead of 2? I understand it means the cars may be more crowded, but come on. This happens for a few days every summer. Let's be flexible and everyone will get home just fine. People around here are just spoiled and want everything as quickly as possible. It's this incessant need for instant gratification.

Aren't the busses also free on code red days to encourage people to take the bus instead of walk somewhere? Preventative measure against heat stroke and other heat illnesses type of thing?

Posted by: Laura | August 2, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I usually walk from work to the metro, but on days like today, I really do appreciate and take advantage of the free buses. I enjoy my walk, but on a day like today, it seems just plain stupid to be out in that heat and humidity.

Posted by: Western Ave | August 2, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

This is the time of year that makes me love being from DC. I think it's gorgeous out. All you damn "hardy" mid-westerners who tell us that "we don't know how to handle a small snowstorm" suddenly become the biggest wusses.

Posted by: OD | August 2, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Actually, a lot of Midwesterners still don't use air conditioning, and it is much more miserable in the Midwest then it is here, especially in cities by rivers like Cincinnati and St. Louis. It's the East Coast whiners who refuse to go without air conditioning when the temperature hits 70 degrees who are the problem.

/grew up in the Midwest

Posted by: Daedalus | August 2, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday the Orange line from Ballston to metro center had no a/c, it was like be berried alived

Posted by: Stacy | August 2, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I have to second the comment on people complaining too much. Trying to be critical, people only begin to think of themselves and think more should be done so that they can be accomodated. Granted we best know our experiences and trials, but Metro doesn't cater to any one person or even group for that matter. They do the best they can to accomodate everyone that rides the rails be it running fewer trains so as not to overburn the electric system or tracks, or even redesigning the cars removing poles if that means people will move away from the doors so people can get on and off faster.
While this weather has been inconvenient for me, all I can do is laugh when I see a packed pull into the station as I know I won't be able to get on that one. Although I feel putting more eight-car trains in service could alleviate some delays and crowding issues riders encounter.

Posted by: LAB | August 2, 2006 5:21 PM | Report abuse

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