By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 9, 2009
Metro is running 23 special bus corridors on Inauguration Day to carry 300,000 people in and out of downtown Washington who might not be able to get onto jammed Metro trains or live too far to walk to inaugural events, officials said yesterday.
"Taking Metrobus is a good option for people who are located beyond a 2- to 3-mile walking distance to the National Mall," General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. said.
The buses will run every 10 minutes from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 20 and will travel into the District along major thoroughfares, including 16th and North Capitol streets and Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Georgia avenues.
Most of the routes originate in the District and Maryland; only four begin in Virginia. Although the special service will bring people closer to downtown, and in some cases within a few blocks of the parade route and the Mall, people should be prepared for a substantial walk, officials said.
In anticipation of increased ridership from Northern Virginia on Inauguration Day, the Fairfax Connector will run extra bus service on routes to five Metro stations in Fairfax County, said Beth Francis, marketing chief for the county's Transportation Department. They are: West Falls Church and Dunn Loring-Merrifield on the Orange Line; Franconia and Van Dorn Street on the Blue Line; and Huntington on the Yellow Line. The remaining Fairfax Connector routes will run enhanced Saturday service, meaning Saturday schedules but with more bus trips.
Although widespread bridge and street closures will restrict personal vehicle access, Metrobuses will be allowed to use both and will use special bus-only lanes through Georgetown from Wisconsin Avenue to Washington Circle (23rd Street and Pennsylvania Avenue), for example, bypassing regular traffic.
The special corridors will be in addition to normal Metrobus service, which will be operating on a modified Saturday schedule. Metro's fleet is not large enough to run regular weekday service and special inaugural service.
The special service buses will be traveling -- in all but two cases -- on existing Metrobus routes that are being modified for Inauguration Day.
That means riders along Connecticut Avenue, for example, will see their regular L2 bus, which goes to Adams Morgan before heading downtown, every half-hour. But they will also see the L4, which travels directly to downtown, running every 10 minutes as part of the special inaugural service. The buses will have signage designating which service they are providing.
On Inauguration Day, riders will also be able to take a special crosstown shuttle bus from North Capitol Street to Washington Circle and 23rd Street NW, and a special shuttle from RFK Stadium to L'Enfant Plaza.
Metro will be selling a one-day inauguration bus pass. Bus passengers can buy the $5 pass when they board and it will be good for the entire day. The passes are intended to help out-of-town visitors who might not have exact change for the $1.35 one-way cash fare or an electronic SmarTrip card to pay the $1.25 SmarTrip fare.