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Metrobus Problems at Friendship Heights

During a Live Online discussion Monday, a reader asked about bus service changes in Northwest Washington related to the problems with the low ceiling at the Friendship Heights terminal. Later, Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel wrote in with an explanation of some temporary measures Metro has taken and how they will play out. I thought I'd post that for everyone.

This was the reader's question.

Friendship Heights, D.C.: There seem to be unpublicized bus service reductions between Friendship Heights and Tenleytown. Several times I've been on Wisconsin Ave and gotten on a northbound 30-series bus, labeled for Friendship Heights, and the driver stopped at Tenleytown, saying his route ended there because he was driving a natural gas bus. The bus schedule doesn't indicate that any runs stop at Tenleytown, and neither does Metro's Web site.

Why can't they continue until the stop right before the FH bus terminal, or barring that, at least make the electronic sign on the front of the bus read Tenleytown, and update the bus schedules? I'm a regular rider and can start to look out for natural gas buses, but how are tourists (say, heading to dinner in Friendship Heights after touring the National Cathedral) supposed to know?

Steven Taubenkibel: Last December, Metrobus operations returned to the Friendship Heights bus terminal upon completion of a two-year renovation project and adjacent construction outside the terminal.

However, Metro made a decision not to send the Compressed Natural Gas buses (CNG) inside the terminal. While the CNG's can fit inside the terminal, the clearance is just a few inches.

As a temporary measure, we made a last minute decision to have some of the CNG buses that come from the Bladensburg Bus Division cut back at the Tenleytown-AU Metrorail station, an established terminal for some of
the 30-line trips. This affected eight of the 35 trips scheduled to arrive at Friendship Heights between 5:30 and 9:30 a.m., and five of the 36 trips scheduled to leave Friendship Heights during those same hours. Two of
34 trips arriving at Friendship Heights between 3 and 7 p.m., were also affected.

We are updating the computer programming on these CNG buses to provide codes for these trips to display the Tenleytown Station destination. We are also revising our schedules to show these trips are ending at Tenleytown.

The plan for the June 2007 schedule change is to reassign these trips to operate from the Western Bus Division, which does not have CNG buses, so that all trips on the 30 line can go back to serving Friendship Heights.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 13, 2007; 4:55 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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