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Metro Boosting Bus Service for Inauguration Day

Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I live in Arlington. I would like to go downtown on Inauguration Day but it looks from the appearance of all the closed bridges that they do not want Virginians down there.

That's ok, I'll just take a bus! I have my handy dandy 3Y [Lee Highway to Farragut Square] and it will whisk me downtown over the "buses only" bridges. (Smart!) But I look and look and metro says they are running Saturday schedules which means NO 3Y.

Tell me, why would they close the bridges to everything but buses and then not run them? Yes, there is the Orange Line, but they are going to need professional white-gloved shovers like they use in Japan to get everybody on. Virginians have fewer options than anybody else and now they have limited us even more by not running buses and running buses on a limited schedule.

Have you heard anything different? Please tell me I'm wrong.
Siobhan Mueller

It won't be easy, but it's a little better than that. The transit authority announced today that on Jan. 20 it will be running buses on 23 routes to get 300,000 people in and out of central Washington. The goal is to run them every 10 minutes.

One concern: I count only four of these routes originating in Virginia.

Mueller could take the Lee Highway route, with buses beginning at East Falls Church and West Falls Church Metro stations and ending at 23rd Street NW, by Constitution Avenue. Those buses will be operating as modified versions of the 3B, 3E and 3Y routes, but they'll be using special bus lanes on I-66, 23rd Street NW and Virginia Avenue NW.

Others might try the Wilson and Clarendon Boulevard route (what normally is the 38B), which on Jan. 20 will use the Roosevelt Bridge to reach 23rd Sreet NW at Constitution Avenue, taking advantage of those same special bus lanes.

Metro is going to post the full list of all these routes on its Web site, though as of this writing, I don't see it there. Once it's up, I'll link to it from here.

Also, Metrobus drivers will be selling a $5 all-day bus pass for Jan. 20. You'll be able to buy that as you board on Jan. 20. You can also pay as usual, with $1.35 in cash or have $1.25 taken off your SmarTrip card.

You'll see that most of the special routes for Jan. 20 are modified versions of regular routes. Metro planners are hoping they will be particularly helpful to people who live closer in, and might get shut out of Metrorail because so many people will be boarding at he outer stations.

But one thing Metro will have to make clear to riders: These special buses need some sort of special markings, to distinguish them from your regular bus on that route. The special buses may start at the same places you are used to, but they may skip some of the usual stops as they get closer in, and many will not terminate at the usual place.

Lena Sun is writing a story for Friday's Post and we plan to have a graphic illustrating the special bus plan.

Or, the Lee Highway Route

By Robert Thomson  |  January 8, 2009; 1:34 PM ET
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Next: Meeting the Jan. 20 Challenge in Virginia


We also need buses in South Arlington! It would be good to have a shuttle from the Pentagon to Arlington Cemetary so we can walk over the bridge.

Posted by: sue1047 | January 8, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I definitely agree with Siobhan Mueller's comment that it seems strange that the bridges from Virginia will be closed to all but buses and authorized vehicles, but Metro hasn't yet indicated what kind of bus service they will provide that day - what schedule (Sat/Sun/holiday/weekday) or any special routes.

I live in Alexandria and hope to go via public transit to see the Inauguration Day parade. It would be good for Metro to have buses running along Independence Avenue and then taking the bridges to Virginia.

Also, I believe that one of the 14th Street bridges has a sidewalk - but the bridge will be closed to pedestrians. That makes no sense.

Here's hoping Metro runs lots of buses on Inauguration Day and that, if a Plan B is necessary, we can walk across the 14th Street bridge.

Tony Tighe

Posted by: tonytighe | January 8, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm having the same problem as Siobhan, except mine is the 16Y. I could take other 16s to Pentagon City (since I guess the pentagon transit station is now a staging area? Or is that still up in the air?) ... But then I'm stuck getting on the blue or yellow line. Like sue1047, I'd like to see a shuttle of sorts from Pentagon/City to Arlington Cemetry.

Posted by: anoel | January 8, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Dr. G, is something missing from the end of this post? It looks as though you meant to say something more, or as though you changed your mind and moved the material further up (I see the mention of the Lee Highway route in your third paragraph after the reader's submission).

Posted by: 1995hoo | January 9, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

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