Metro Passengers Get Diverted In a Big Bus Fuss

By Robert Thomson
Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

On July 19, Metro had to cope with several trains experiencing difficulty along the Orange Line. Metro's response was foolish and caused bus passengers to be denied service.

I exited the Pentagon Metro station about 11:15 a.m. to board the 11:26 a.m. 10A bus to Hunting Towers. When the bus pulled into Pentagon Station, a Metro field employee approached the bus and told the driver that it was being diverted to Ballston Station to provide shuttle service to passengers stranded at that station because it had to be temporarily closed [because of a track fire]. The Metro field employee announced to me and the other waiting passengers that the 11:26 a.m. departure was being canceled and that the next bus would leave at 11:56 a.m.

I believe that this was not an appropriate solution to the problem at Ballston, and Metro took this action without considering the needs of their bus passengers.

I ride this bus often, and it is a popular route. The bus that was diverted would require at least 20 minutes to travel from the Pentagon to Ballston Station and would be able carry at most 55 passengers, when hundreds of people were stranded. Since Metro has a bus yard in the Ballston area that doesn't operate on weekends, it would have made much more sense to open up that yard and use the empty buses for shuttle service.

Metro should never respond to rail service disruptions by denying service to its bus passengers. Even the field employee who announced the bus diversion agreed with me that this decision made no sense.

Kim Herter


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