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Blogger Em Hall is on a quest to experience all of Metro system within a year

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By Katherine Shaver
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 30, 2010

Em Hall peered down the sidewalk outside the Rosslyn Metro station on a warm, muggy afternoon last week and eyed the electronic sign displaying the Metrobus schedule.

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"Hmm, 4A, 4A," she said to herself. "4B to Seven Corners? That's too far out of the way. I guess we'll just sit in the shade and see what comes along."

A few minutes later, Hall hopped aboard a 3A bus, headed to the East Falls Church Metro station. During the 20-minute ride, she gave the Lee Highway line high marks for relatively few turns and stops, but with buses running up to an hour apart, it would lose points for frequency.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as the best, Hall awarded it a 7. She also scratched another Metrobus line -- and, after reaching East Falls Church, another Metrorail station -- off her list.

Hall, 30, is on a one-year quest to visit every Metrorail station and ride every Metrobus line. Her count since Feb. 1: 23 Metrorail stations and 11 bus lines. She's ridden buses everywhere from Oxon Hill to Georgetown to H Street NE. She has 63 Metrorail stations and nearly 200 bus lines left to go.

She records her travels on her blog, Metro-Venture.

"Oh, 80," Hall, a onetime improvisational comic, wrote recently of the North Capitol Street bus line. "Why do you torture me so?"

And then there's "my beloved 38B" between Ballston and Farragut Square: "Take a healthy serving of those who cannot or will not take the train, throw in a dash of chic Georgetown shopper, add a splash of regular commuters and you get the ingredients for this bus line."

Sterile Metrorail stations draw a rebuke. The Mount Vernon Square/7th St-Convention Center Station "is quite boring, aside from a lame piece of artwork at the top of the escalators."

Washingtonians' stormy relationship with Metro provides fodder for a dozen or so active blogs, including Unsuck DC Metro, Greater Greater Washington, DCist, Why I Hate DC and The Washington Post's Get There.

Personal odyssey

What makes Hall's different is its personal odyssey. She is just as likely to mention a favorite shoe store along a bus route as she is an update on the transit agency's budget woes.

There have been other Metro quests. In 2001, a Silver Spring man became the first person to ride the entire Metrorail system, then 103 miles, in one day. One year later, a District man fulfilled a dream of jogging to his Columbia Heights home from every Metrorail station.


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