Last week, Washington Post reporters and editors became commuters and raced each other by car and public transportation along several typical commuting routes. Today's report compares commuting by car, car pool, bus and subway along Northern Virginia's heavily traveled Shirley Highway.
The ride was leisurely from beginning to end. At 8:05 a.m., I boarded the 27P bus in the southern corner of Springfield Mall and paid the 90-cent fare. The bus had been waiting there 10 minutes. The driver, new to the route, waited to leave until all prospective passengers in sight had boarded. When the bus left at 8:13, three minutes later than its scheduled departure, only 11 passengers on board.
We entered Shirley Highway (the express lane for buses and car pools). The bus made it in 15 minutes to the Pentagon, where I got out and walked about 20 feet to the subway escalator. I bought a Farecard for the 40-cent trip, placing $5 in the machine and receiving $4 change in quarters. As I was walking through the gate, the waiting doors closed.
Four minutes later, another train arrived. My car, the second from the rear, was two-thirds empty. I sat the whole trip, arrived at McPherson Square and walked two blocks to The Post.