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The Weekend and Beyond

Happy Holidays, everyone. Here's a look at what's coming up that may affect your travels.

No Track Work
There are no scheduled maintenance projects to slow your travels on Metrorail this weekend or next.

Paper Transfers Ending
Metro and many of the suburban bus systems will end the use of paper transfers next Jan. 4. Our Commuter page for Jan. 4 will focus on the consequences for riders, but basically, a free bus-to-bus transfer will be available only by using the SmarTrip electronic fare card during a three-hour window after the first fare is paid.

Also starting Jan. 4, train and bus riders will notice that they get the same 50 cent discount whether transferring from rail to bus or bus to rail.

Greenway Tolls Increasing
On Thursday, the basic toll will increase by 40 cents to $3.40 for two-axle vehicles at the Mainline Plaza/Route 28, Ox Road and Loudoun County Parkway. But during the most congested hours, the tolls at those locations will increase to $4. The congestion times are defined as 6:30 to 9 a.m. eastbound and 4 to 6:30 p.m. westbound.

Metrobus Schedules Changing
Starting Sunday, the transit authority is making changes to the schedules or routes of almost three dozen bus lines across the region. Metro does this periodically, adding service in some cases and subtracting it in others or just modifying the schedule to bring it n line with the times buses actually arrive at their stops.

The full list of changes is on Metro's Web site. But here are some highlights: On the Pennsylvania Avenue Line (Routes 32 and 36), Metro discontinued weekday buses going to Farragut Square from the Southern Avenue Station at 10:20, 10:50, 11:20 and 11:50 a.m., and 12:20 and 12:50 p.m. On the Naylor Road Line (Route M5), buses will run every 20 minutes on weekdays between 4:30 and 9 a.m., and every hour after 9 p.m. week nights and Saturday night.

On the Colesville-Ashton Line (Z2), the 8:01 and 8:31 a.m. buses from Silver Spring on weekdays will be extended from Randolph Road to Bonifant Road to accommodate students attending Thornton Friends School.

On the Columbia Pike-Farragut Square Line (Route 16Y), weekday buses will run every 7-1/2 minutes between 7:15 and 8:30 a.m. and every 10 minutes between 4:55 and 6:25 p.m. One morning bus and one afternoon bus will be added.

2009 Benefit Increases
The Internal Revenue Service's monthly Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit limit for transit and vanpool commuting will increase from $115 to $120 and for parking from $220 to $230 in 2009. For the first time, employers also will be able to reimburse employees up to $20 per month for expenses incurred in bicycle commuting.

Buying SmarTrip Cards
Metro riders now can buy SmarTrip rechargeable fare cards at 190 CVS stores across the region. They go for $10 each, which includes $5 for the card and $5 of fare value.
A decal that says "SmarTrip sold here" is on the door of each store participating in the program. SmarTrip cards can also be purchased on Metro's Web site, or at Metro sales offices, retail outlets and commuter stores, all Metrorail stations where parking is available and some Giant stores.

New Signal at Interchange
Maryland's State Highway Administration is installing a new traffic signal at the Interstate 70/Route 29 interchange in Howard County. The signal is being placed the crossover to reach the northbound Route 29 ramp to westbound I-70.

Drivers heading north on Route 29 and planning to make a left to reach westbound I-70 will have to stop at the new signal before proceeding across southbound Route 29. Two flashing yellow beacons are being installed along southbound Route 29 south of Route 99 in advance of the new signal, and along northbound Route 29, there will be new "Signal Ahead" signs adjacent to the left-turn lane. The safety project is scheduled to be completed in March.

By Robert Thomson  |  December 26, 2008; 8:42 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  
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Next: Cable Fire Cuts Power For Some in Northwest


Greenway tolls increasing...LOL. That's what all of you people who think we should "cut taxes" and "privatize" everything, including infrastructure are going to get.

Posted by: thetan | December 26, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The money for bicycle commuting is welcome. But, really, encouraging commuting by bicycle is not the best way to get more people to choose walking and cycling over driving. A better way is the 1-mile Solution:

Posted by: arcline | December 27, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

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