Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reasons to Be Car Free in DC #11: Limited Stop Bus

Everyone knows the knock on DC Metro buses. They're slow, they bunch up, and make too many stops. Well, Metro and the city of DC have addressed some of those concerns and begun to offer limited stop buses. The buses don't necessarily aim to mimic subway trains, but instead augment train service and local bus service. Mount Pleasant is served by several of the lines including the city sponsored Circulator and Metro's S9 and 43 buses. The 43 isn't so much a limited stop bus. It just skips two stops on Dupont Circle in order to avoid the traffic tie up that is the circle itself. For riders traveling from downtown back to Mount Pleasant, the after work trip is made that much shorter. Like other limited stop buses in DC, they only enhance service, not eliminate it. Riders can still catch local buses that make stops on nearly every block if needed.

The Circulator and S9 are true limited stop buses. The new Circulator from Woodley Park to McPhereson Square has only seven pick up and drop off points for the entire route. The southbound bus makes a stop in Mount Pleasant proper at Irving and Mount Pleasant Streets. The S9 is a breath of fresh air (well, not literally) for 16th Street NW commuters, providing a much faster route from Silver Spring to Downtown. It stops about every five blocks, instead of every block, or every other block. I appreciate the trend and hope it continues, especially with a cross town bus or two. Limited stop H4 anyone?