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Today's Read: Driving by the Book

Metrobus Operators in Job Action: Bus drivers began a work to rule operation on Tuesday, going by the book regarding the status of their equipment and the rules of the road. (Lena H. Sun and Yamiche Alcindor)

If this action is meant to improve safety, it's heartening. If it's meant to slow down operations so that Metro and the public will back off on concerns about how bus operators are performing, it did not appear to be having that effect in the early going. Comments from riders interviewed by The Post and comments appended to the story online indicate people favor the safety action and haven't noticed the slowdown.

What was your experience today? The job action began in several sectors on Tuesday and was likely to affect all Metrobus routes by the end of the week.

By Robert Thomson  |  October 14, 2009; 8:52 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Today's Read  
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Comments

Did I miss something here? Shouldn't metrobus operators have ALREADY been obeying traffic laws and following established safety procedures?

I'm glad they've resolved to do their jobs. Just not sure why they didn't, previous to now, understand that obeying the various rules procedures was a requirement.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | October 14, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm all for safety, but the rule that a bus can't pass another that is stopped needs to be changed on routes that have express buses. I was on an S9 express that was essentially a non-express bus since it had to stop (and back up traffic on 16th) while the non-express buses were picking up/dropping off customers.

Posted by: tj722 | October 14, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: tj722, I'm curious about your experience with the S9. Are you saying that the S9 would stop at non-S9 bus stops only because there were other S buses ahead of it?

(For everybody, the S9 is a limited stop service meant to speed trips between Silver Spring and downtown Washington. It doesn't make all the stops that the other S buses make.)

Posted by: rtthomson1 | October 14, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The S9 did not pick up or drop off passengers, but it did wait behind (and beside) a non-express bus (S4) as it picked up and dropped off passengers at nearly every intermediate stop--blocking non-bus traffic as well. I was puzzled at this behavior--since there did not seem to be any obvious reason for it--until I read the story today.

Posted by: tj722 | October 14, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I share your experience. I usually take the S9 from the McPherson Square terminus up to the last or second to last stop in Silver Spring. On average, save for special events downtown, that trip can be made in 30-35 minutes. My most recent trip took approx 50-55 min. We stayed in the right lane nearly the whole time, only passing one bus.

Going back to using the Red Line seems like a real option now.

Posted by: Mainland | October 14, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

My bus ride didn't take any longer today than any other day, but I was on a Ride-on. I did see a C8 pass our bus though. I agree, why weren't they following the rules before? There is a very easy way to keep your job and not be critized anymore...STOP RUNNING PEOPLE OVER!!!

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | October 14, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

My commute on the 7 am J1 bus between Silver Spring and Montgomery Mall was ridiculously slow. The bus driver averaged, by my reckoning, about 20 mph. Well below any posted speed limit.

The passengers were furious, as well they should have been. He engaged the rear door exit at every requested stop. This is not necessary and very time-consuming. There are mirrors that enable the operator to see if this is necessary or not. I arrived 20 minutes late to work.

This is most certainly a protest instigated by operators and their union. Is it justified in the face of unreasonable pressures from management? Is it an overreach to protect unqualified drivers who have been sanctioned in the wake of recent metrobus accidents?

I'm willing to listen to all sides, but we've got to get off the 'crazy train' and keep the system running smoothly.

Otherwise, people will jump off of buses and into their cars, thus increasing our traffic woes.

Posted by: ciminosp | October 14, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

I agree with tj722. As an s9 rider, the new rules are really frustrating. It seems perfectly safe to allow s9 and other "express" buses to pass regular buses when there is appropriate passing lane. Otherwise, the "express" buses are worthless.

Posted by: AndreaN | October 15, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

" It seems perfectly safe to allow s9 and other "express" buses to pass regular buses when there is appropriate passing lane."

This is no doubt in reference to the poor woman in Trinidad who was hit and killed by a bus last week that was passing the bus that she had just gotten off from and that she had walked in front of. Unfortunately it had nothing to do with whether or not the bus that hit her had an appropriate passing lane or not. The bus stop where the woman had gotten off had no crosswalks and she evidently just darted out into the street.

Posted by: hohandy1 | October 15, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

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