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Maryland Sets New Commuter Bus Schedules

The Maryland Transit Administration has announced its plans to deal with the July-August shutdown of the Frederick Douglass Bridge on South Capitol Street, a major commuter route into Washington. The MTA's decision is the last part of the transit plan for a construction project that probably will give drivers fits.

They'll be diverted to the 11th Street Bridge, East Capitol Street, Benning Road and New York Avenue, none of which is likely to be congestion free, even in the middle of summer.

Metro already had announced its bus route changes. Now MTA says that after listening to passengers, it has decided to bring some of its routes into the Branch Avenue and Suitland Metrorail stations for those who wish to transfer to the subway, but continue in and out of dowtown Washington for the other riders willing to tough it out through the congestion. (The buses will be stuck in the same congestion as the cars.)

While the District Department of Transportation has been urging drivers to take transit across the Anacostia River, it does not appear that the transit agencies are adding significant capacity to handle new passengers. Metro plans to reduce the fares for passengers on the bus routes that will stop at the east-of-the-river Metro stations during the construction, but MTA has not announced any fare adjustments for passengers who transfer to rail.

This is the scheduled MTA announced for the construction period starting July 9:

Route 901: No changes. Riders who wish to transfer to Metrorail should take the 913 line to the Suitland or Branch Avenue stations.

Route 902: The morning trips numbered 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 will go to the Suitland Metro station and then into Washington. Afternoon trips numbered 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, and 32 will operate from downtown and the Suitland Station. Pick up times at the Metro are estimated to be 25 minutes after the last D.C. pick up times. All other trips will operate as they do normally.

Route 903: No changes.

Route 904: The morning trips numbered 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 will operate to Suitland Station and then continue into Washington. Afternoon trips numbered 18, 20, 22, 24, and 26 will operate from downtown and the Suitland Metro Station. Pick up times at the Metro are estimated to be 25 minutes after the last D.C. pick up times.

Route 905: The morning trips numbered 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 will operate to the Branch Avenue Metrorail Station and then continue into Washington. Afternoon trips numbered 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40,
and 42 will operate from downtown and the Branch Avenue Metro Station. Pick up times at the Metro are estimated to be 25 minutes after the last D.C. pick up times. All other trips stay the same.

Route 907: - No Changes. Riders who wish to transfer to Metrorail should take the 913 line to the Suitland or Branch Avenue stations.

Route 909: No Changes. Riders who wish to transfer to Metrorail should take the 903 line or those 905 trips to the Suitland or Branch Avenue stations.

Route 913: The 913 route will be adjusted to serve both the Branch Avenue and Suitland stations.

By Robert Thomson  |  June 18, 2007; 7:15 AM ET
Categories:  Construction  
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Comments

I hope you realize the people who make up the MTA schedules and routes work in Baltimore. They haven't a clue about the ins and outs of downtown Washington traffic. Tourists who don't know where they're going, broken down cars on bridges, accidents, non-stop road repair, Presidential motorcades, roped off streets because the First Lady is giving a speech somewhere, a Supreme Court funeral out of a Cathedral. The MTA folks should be forced to ride public transit in Washington for two weeks and then they'll understand.

FWIW, I always schedule a day off when the White House Christmas tree is lit. The bonehead who schedules this at 5:00 on a weeknight should be shot. Streets around the White House are shut down, traffic is rerouted, gridlock results, K Street is a parking lot.

Posted by: Southern Maryland | June 18, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I echo the sentiments of the first poster. I'd also like to add my disgust with MTA's failure to give fare concessions to those of us who will transfer to Metro. I ride the 905 and the switch will cost me more than $16 extra per week, but I'm not going to sit on the bus for an extra 30-40 minutes each way during the bridge closure.

Even though the 905 will stop at the Branch Avenue metro, the fare will remain the same as if the riders were continuing in to DC. So, in order to get the lower 2 zone fare, I will have to ride either the 913 or 903 (both of which run less frequently). It's really disgraceful. If metro can give a discount during the bridge project, I really can't understand why MTA will not do the same thing.

The responsible thing for MTA to do is more buses to metro and fewer buses across the remaining bridges. Instead, they caved to rider demands and will add to the gridlock rather than help alleviate it.

Posted by: Southern Maryland Too! | June 18, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Oh, yes, riders will have to pay double -- the original bus fare, then the Metro fare added on to it. Forgot about that.

I've tried very hard to boycott the Metro system since they instituted that @(*$&%^% SmartCard system. Metro's employees were robbing them blind so they make the riders jump through their hoops. You can never tell how much is left on the SmartCard -- one machine includes the $5 you paid for the card in the total, another machine doesn't. Drives me nuts. Then you have the tourists and visitors who might only need Metro for one day -- they have to get a SmartCard to get out of the parking garage. Welcome to the Nation's Capital!!!

As for me, I'd rather stay on the bus and take my chances instead of paying for Metro and changing lines at L'Enfant Plaza. What a hassle.

Posted by: Southern Maryland #1 again.... | June 18, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

To help alleviate some of the downtown traffic you should look into having buses that run from the Branch Ave/Lanham areas directly over to Virginia. There are large numbers of people who have to go in-town to go back out to Virginia locations (Pentagon/Crystal City/King Street). Those buses could help reduce some of the downtown overload, and probably cut 30 minutes off my 1.75 hour commute (one-way). Whatever happened to the King Street Express Buses??

Posted by: Kate | June 21, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

To help alleviate some of the downtown traffic you should look into having buses that run from the Branch Ave/Lanham areas directly over to Virginia. There are large numbers of people who have to go in-town to go back out to Virginia locations (Pentagon/Crystal City/King Street). Those buses could help reduce some of the downtown overload, and probably cut 30 minutes off my 1.75 hour commute (one-way). Whatever happened to the King Street Express Buses??

Posted by: Kate | June 21, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I am a commuter and the reason I do not catch metro is because there is no enough spaces by the time I get there. So, of course I have to sit in traffic but now it is even longer because DC finally wants to make a change due to the stadium. It is not fair to those of us who have to sit in traffic, have you all thought about adjusting the lights or making sure taffic control is out so that it wont be as congested. To top it all off this is in the middle of the summer and it is hot outside which means those who dont have ait have to suffer and those of us that due have to waist even more gas just sitting in traffic with A/C on. In conclusion, this is crazy but regardless what we say Dc is going to do what is best for Dc and what brings them in more money. Sincerly, Upset and Angry

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