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Where's the Bus?

Join me at 1 p.m. for an online discussion where, among other things, you can make fun of me for not being able to track down one of the new S9 buses this morning.

I started out in Silver Spring at about 8 a.m., thinking that the "Silver Spring station" stop for the new limited stop service would be at the same place where the other S buses start and stop. Nope. It's a couple of blocks away, in front of the Lenox apartments, on Colesville Road westbound near East-West Highway.

But neither I nor a very friendly and helpful Metro supervisor in downtown Silver Spring could figure that out at the time, so he suggested I get on one of the S buses, the locals down 16th Street. I decided to stay on the S4 till I reached Irving Street in Mount Pleasant. There, I found another helpful supervisor who gave me the S9 timetable and route map -- they're being given out along the route today.

He explained why I hadn't seen any of the nice-looking new hybrid electric buses, with the red, white, blue and gray color scheme and "metrobus express" on the side. There are only two in service today. A bunch of others are stuck somewhere around the Red River, their journey east delayed by the midwest floods.

Instead, Metro is using some of the regular looking buses, so watch for the S9 Limited Stop designation on the buses' electronic display signs. I couldn't wait long enough at Irving and 16th for one of those, so I got on the next bus to arrive, an S4, and took that downtown.

Jim Hamre, a Metro planner who has had a lot to do with recent bus line improvements, later confirmed for me that there was a bit of a gap in service at that hour. He says the route has borrowed the number of buses it needs to operate on the one every 10 minutes schedule. And the new hybrid electrics should be in service on the
line by the end of April.

When I walked into the newsroom this morning, my colleague, staff writer Chris Davenport, said he had no trouble at all catching the S9 and proclaimed it a great success.

During our weekly online discussion today, we can talk about any topic you like regarding local transportation. Are you upset about the proposed service cuts on the Metro, Fairfax Connector and Ride On bus routes, or about the Red Line derailments on Friday?

Worried about the HOT lane construction program along the Beltway in Virginia? Wondering when there will be some relief for drivers along I-270? Use this link if you'd likt to submit a question or a comment in advance.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 30, 2009; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Metro , transit  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Red Line Track Fixed
Next: Metro Detours Md. Bus Route After Crash


I got on the S9 at 16th and Park this morning (got off at 16th and M) (at about 8:30)--I guess I lucked out it was one of the new ones. The driver had to explain to everyone who got on what the new route was etc so it felt a bit slow in terms of pick up etc but I expect it will lead to a significant shortening of my already pretty sweet commute. Can I just add I also love the 43 and am beyond excited about the new circulator in Adams Morgan/Zoo and Columbia Heights

Posted by: ajbouche | March 30, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

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