New Rush-Hour Express Bus to Run on 16th St. NW Between Silver Spring and Downtown

By Lena Sun
Friday, February 13, 2009

Metro is planning to add rush-hour express bus service along 16th Street in Northwest Washington to speed the commute and ease congestion along the third-busiest line in the bus system, officials said yesterday. The new route, the S9, will run between Silver Spring and downtown Washington.

The concept is similar to the Metro Extra service on Georgia Avenue, a limited-stop bus run that has proved popular.

The 16th Street version could begin by the end of next month if approved by the full Metro board this month. It passed a board committee yesterday.

The S9 would have fewer stops than the S1, S2 and S4 routes, which currently make up the line. The line carries 16,000 riders a day and has all the chronic problems of long-distance routes that must pass through heavy traffic. Riders complain that buses are often late and that when they do come, three arrive at once.

Instead of making 82 stops from the Silver Spring Metro station to Federal Triangle or Potomac Park, the express would make 16 stops between Silver Spring Station and McPherson Square.

Buses would be scheduled to arrive every 10 minutes during morning and evening rush hours. That should save six to eight minutes on travel times over the entire route, officials said.

The new service would use a distinctive blue and silver hybrid-electric bus with "express" branding, the transit authority said.

The express service is a demonstration project, costing about $3.6 million over the next two years. The District would pay for it. If the project is successful, it could eventually be incorporated into the regular Metro budget.

Track Work Affects Blue, Yellow Lines

Weekend track work will shut down the Pentagon Metrorail station, a significant portion of the Yellow Line and some of the Blue Line in Virginia throughout the holiday weekend. Riders should plan more time for their trips.

The Yellow Line will operate only between the Huntington and Pentagon City stations. The Blue Line will operate only between the Franconia- Springfield and Pentagon City stations, and between the Largo Town Center and Arlington Cemetery stations.

Metrorail riders in Virginia who are planning to ride the Blue or Yellow lines will need to board a free shuttle bus to get north of the Pentagon City station from 10 p.m. today through closing Monday. Southbound riders who want to go beyond the Pentagon will need to do the same. Metro will provide free shuttle bus service between the Pentagon City, Pentagon and L'Enfant Plaza stations. Regular service will resume Tuesday morning.

In a change from previous announcements, Metro will provide shuttle bus service between Pentagon City and the Arlington Cemetery and Rosslyn stations. See Metro's Web site at for more details. Metro's Trip Planner will not reflect the track work.

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