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No More Metrobus Shuttles to FedEx Field

Dear Dr. Gridlock:
Have you heard the story about the federal bureaucrat who derailed a long-running and extremely effective mass transit program that cut down traffic and saved energy for Redskins fans going to FedEx Field?

Well, that's exactly what DOT has done by requiring the Metro station to FedEx Field bus transit scheme to be put out for competitive bid.

I don't know all the details, but it appears to be a high form of federal nincompoopery that will affect not only Redskins fans but also anyone else trying to negotiate Prince George's County on a Game Day.
Grayson Heffner
North Potomac

Yep. Couldn't have put it better. New U.S. Department of Transportation rules to encourage use of local charter bus services have knocked Metrobus out of the running for special events services. No more low-cost shuttles to the annual air show at Andrews Air Force Base. No more low-cost shuttles from Landover Station to Redskins games.

Morgan Blvd view (2).jpg View of FedEx Field from Morgan Boulevard Station. (Thomson)

Fans will see the effect of this starting Saturday, when the team plays its pre-season home opener at 7 p.m. Far as I can tell, your best transit option is to take the Blue Line to Morgan Boulevard and walk about a mile north along a sidewalk to the stadium. I've done that. It's not a bad walk, and it's safe. No cover in bad weather, though. And for fans who start on the Orange Line, this means a transfer to reach Blue Line trains heading in the direction of Largo.

Metro says it will run six-car trains leading up to the 7 p.m. kickoff. After the game, Metrorail will have additional trains available for fans heading home from the Morgan Boulevard.

Morgan Boulevard has 635 parking spaces and Largo Town Center has 2,200. But parkers will have to pay $25, using SmarTrip electronic payment cards when they exit. Paid parking at these two stations goes into effect at 4 p.m., and continues two hours after the game concludes. Parking at other Metrorail lots is free on weekends.

Under the federal rules, finalized in May, the team would have to pursue a bus lease with a private charter company, rather than use the cheaper Metrobuses. The Redskins said unsuccessfully they sought a season-long waiver from the Department of Transportation.

"Unable to continue our partnership with Metro, we had numerous discussions with a variety of transportation companies, only to find that the best private transportation option would increase the fan shuttle fare from $6 to nearly $20," Mitch Gershman, chief operating officer of the Redskins, said in a statement.

By Robert Thomson  |  August 7, 2008; 10:36 AM ET
Categories:  Events , Metro  
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It's not a new DOT regulation. It's actually been on the books for sometime and if anyone of you had cared to do the research you'd know that. AND it high time the regulation is being enforced. The monoply WMATA and other city transit systems create in doing charter based work makes it extremely difficult for smaller charter companies to compete for that type of contract work. It's akin to Wal-mart vs. just about every mom and pop operation in the US. Get a clue...and fight for the little guy.

Posted by: Alexis | August 7, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand... putting the shuttle business out for bid actually means there are NO shuttles to/from the games?

This sure leaves open an opportunity for someone with a van to do a little shuttling on the side, doesn't it? Are the cabbies aware of this? They could hit the jackpot here, no?

Posted by: TBG | August 7, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Do you mean the Redskins won't provide any shuttle service? A rule like this is stupid if there isn't any replacement service offered.

Posted by: dkf747 | August 7, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

So this means that if Joe Public arrives at Largo Town Center Metro at 1 p.m., parks his car, goes into the city with Mrs. Public and wants to pull out of the garage...on a weekend...after 8 p.m., he'll get charged $25? Wow. Welcome to DC Joe and Mrs. Public.

People who claim Metro offered a monopoly on this, figure now it's going to cost MORE on someone else's system because Metro had a deal with the Redskins. Of course, this other company could try to get the same deal but will they have the man power, the busses available and the know-how to get it done right? Probably not.

This is not a case of Wal-Mart vs. the little man. It takes a big man to do a job such as this and will bus companies want to risk not chartering a few groups on Sunday because they need the busses for the Skins? Will the little man want to risk losing two-day trips that end on Sunday because he needs the busses and man-power for one day in Landover?

This is likened to Sam's Club keeping Wal-Mart down. Not Wal-Mart keeping the mom-and-pop from doing business. It would take too many "little men" to do what Metro can do (theoretically, what Metro can do!).

Posted by: Jarrod | August 7, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

are there any options for the seniors that might not be able to walk the mile distance to/from the stadium.

Posted by: cb | August 7, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Bah! Any takers on a bet that Danny boy will figure out another way to extract money from fans' wallets?

Posted by: Ollabelle | August 7, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

It looks like you're just complaining that my Metro fare won't be subsidizing your trip to see the Redskins. Suck it.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I hate little weeny-boy Danny Snyder and what he's turned my beloved Redskins into. Is there any way we can blame him for this? Please?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"This is likened to Sam's Club keeping Wal-Mart down."

Aren't Sam's Club and Wal-Mart owned by the same company?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

What does this mean for the shuttles that ran from the FedEx parking lots to the stadium? They were MetroBus too, but I only here people talking about the route from the Metro stations.

Posted by: Anon | August 7, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I bet the Redskins raise the parking passes next year even higher

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I bet the Redskins raise the parking passes next year even higher

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 1:33 PM

God bless the free market. Or something like that.

Posted by: Bob | August 7, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Metro Man | August 7, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"Aren't Sam's Club and Wal-Mart owned by the same company?"

Yes, they are.

Posted by: cb | August 7, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Soon the Redskins will implement a "walking to the game from the Metro" fee...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous wrote: "It looks like you're just complaining that my Metro fare won't be subsidizing your trip to see the Redskins. Suck it."

Your comments reflect an ignorance of the real situation. Metro MAKES MONEY off their shuttles (meaning they partly subsidized your Metro ride, NOT the opposite as you claim). Now they won't be making that money, meaning they just lost $1.6 million from their budget. I agree that $1.6 million is a small amount out of Metro's budget, but the idea that this service was a drain on other operations is misguided at best.

Posted by: yrral | August 7, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

One of the posters, Jarrod, commented on the $25 fee that could possibly be charged to "Joe and Mrs. Public". As I understand it, the fee only gets charged at the rate of $25 if your Smartrip card doesn't show a subway trip from the station you parked at to another station, and back. If you parked at Largo Town center and traveled to DC and came back, you would be charged the regular parking fee at the station. Probably 4 dollars or so. BUT you MUST use the same card that you rode Metro with to get out of the parking lot.
The $25 only gets charged if you use a Smartrip Card that does not show a subway trip prior to the game from the station you parked at. The system then assumes that you just parked there for the game.

Posted by: Dave | August 7, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

The Nats shuttles are free from RFK. Of course, the Nats are subsidizing it, but it's hard to imagine that it would be $20/person. Insane.

Posted by: Steve | August 7, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

This announcement leaves me wondering whether it is possible to return my season tickets for the year. Why did they wait to announce this until the week before the game?

Instead of a relatively easy subway/bus ride to the game, our choices now are:

--A mile walk to and from the stadium in who knows what kind of weather -- something that is beyond the senior and handicapped fans who use our tickets.

--Use of the cash parking lots and the roads to them that will be choked even further by all the fans displaced from the subway-bus route.
Is this the best they can do?

Posted by: Tom Connors | August 7, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

You know, Snyder will just use this as an argument for the construction of a publicly financed football stadium in DC for the 'Skinnies. He's already expressed an interest in getting out of Landover he's probably sitting back in his executive chair, a la C. Montgomery Burns, hatching his next plan.

Any how, take solace, 'Skinnies fans. Public transit game-day shuttles are being squashed nationwide, not just in your little bubble of a city. If you've got a problem with that, call your Congressman.

Posted by: DirtyBird | August 8, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Couldn't WMATA establish a MetroBus express route from various stations to FedEx Field? It could be kinda like the DC Circulator with the seasonal National Mall bus route.

Posted by: SRN | August 8, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Redskins Fan | August 8, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I just noticed a news article from San Diego that the Chargers were given a waiver by their regional FTA/DOT office for the local mass transit agency to continue providing game day service to Chargers Field. Why them and not us?? See: and write your Congressman!

Posted by: Grayson Heffner | August 10, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

It’s hard to believe that this transportation rule was made to benefit the smaller charter bus operators, what are they supposed to do; lease 20 or more busses every two or three weekends for seasonal work? How could that possibly be less expensive for the fans?
Oh, what about the fans, the upper deckers, there are more of us up there than there are below and we have even farther to walk under normal circumstances, seniors, the seriously long term no longer transitional season ticket holders, ADA qualifiers and the rest who have no paid reserved parking; we all are victims.
Who knew about this regulation and fought for our waiver? Why did they fail? If in business, should they be free from suspicion or if in public service, should they be elected again?
Yes, like many previous contributors have said, I believe that the whole thing stinks
My solution this year will be to dump my skins tickets for the best price I can get, reinvest in DC baseball and soccer, and sign every petition that I see to change that Washington DC (American Football), 75 year old team name.
Red……, the N word to most Indigenous Americans, and an embarrassment to the to rest of us is no longer a proper or nessisary icon.

Posted by: Phil in Alex | August 11, 2008 1:05 AM | Report abuse

So Phil liked the Redskins until his precious subsidized shuttle was lost, and now they're the N1ggers? Wow

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Didn't the Skins management start preventing people from walking to the stadium a few years back, or start charging people to walk onto the stadium grounds (to prevent people from parking at the nearby mall and walking over)?

And if not, couldn't Metro bus still run a route from Largo or Morgan Boulevard Stations to outside the stadium grounds (atleast would make the walk a quater to half a mile rather than a full mile). Seems like they could still make a fair amount of money on that (heck they could even charge more than the usual $1.35 fare for it. Say $3 each way like other Metro express buses. I would say maybe PG county's "The Bus" could do this too, but that system has never seemed well developed to me.

Posted by: Laura | August 12, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I, like others think Danny is behind this whole thing. We haven't parked in paid lots in years but when we did for the first game and found the price was $40, wow. And for this: No security and no police directing traffic to ease egress.

And PLEASE, explain to me how metro buses are allowed to shuttle paid parkers to the stadium but not allowed to shuttle free parkers from the Metro station!!!!

By the way, I sent emails to my government representatives on 8/11, including Prince Georges County, to date, 8/13, no response from any of them.

Posted by: Robert | August 13, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

My company along with several other companies submitted bids for shuttle service for the Redskins and based upon the numbers we were all provided, all of us come in at $6 - $10 per person.... not sure why $20 keeps getting thrown out there. Also, the new federal rules protect everyone. Not sure why everyone wants their tax payer dollars to subsidize bus service for the most profitable team in the league.

Posted by: Loyal Redskins Fan | August 20, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

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