Mass Transit The Best Bet for Inauguration Day

By Robert Thomson
Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Government officials and transportation agencies are conspiring to make it difficult, if not impossible, and more expensive for employees who must work on Inauguration Day to get to their jobs.

Your lame suggestion is "Call Off Work on Inauguration Day, Employers." [Dr. Gridlock, Dec. 14] There are thousands and thousands of public safety, hospital, hotel workers, food service and transportation workers, all of whom need to get to work to support the millions of visitors expected on the Mall.

Do you want them to stay home? Does Metro want them to stay home? Does MARC want them to stay home? Do the planners of this fiasco want them to stay home?

D.C. Russell Capitol Heights

Washington won't be shut down Jan. 20 and neither will its transportation system. But because there will be a security cordon around downtown Washington, because use of some bridges will be restricted and because there may be limited access to some commuter corridors, transit still looks like the best bet for getting to work under these difficult circumstances.

Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. suggested that riders add at least an hour to their normal travel times.

"This is going to be a nightmare," he said of the anticipated congestion. So he's planning to run rush-hour service on the trains for 17 straight hours, from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. That's a lot of people-moving, and it sure sounds better than trying to drive in until you encounter a police barricade.

MARC and VRE say they are charging $25 a round trip because they need to cover the cost of providing an extra service on a holiday that will help ease the traffic congestion likely to occur in Washington.

No Free Parking

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