Last week, Washington Post staffers raced each other by car and public transportation along several typical commuter routes here.Today's report compares commuting by car, bus and subway from far northwest Washington to the congressional offices on Capitol Hill. Bus and Subway
Start: 8:12 a.m. at Nebraska and Utah Avenues NW in the Barnaby Woods neighborhood.
Finish: Dirksen Senate Office Building at 1st Street and Constitution Avenue NE.
Car: 32 minutes.
Bus and subway: 44 minutes.
Bus only: 45 minutes.
"Nobody would actually go that way," said a daily Barnaby Woods commuter. Anybody who wants to go to the Hill would take the Capitol Hill Express (bus). Nobody wants to pay twice and have to do all that transferring."
Maybe they should. The combination of two buses and one subway ride beat the Capitol Hill express by a minute on this particular morning.
The grass was still crunchy from the overnight frost at the bus stop at Utah and Nebraska, where I waited seven minutes for the M-4 bus from Pinehurst Circle that runs regularly between Pinehurst and Tenley Circle on Wisconsin Avenue. (fare: 50 cents).
It took nine minutes to reach Nebraska and Connecticut Avenue NW., where I transferred to the L-7 express down Connecticut. I waited four minutes before two L-7s arrived, bumper-to-bumper, as if the second were being towed on a six inch cable by the first. The bus was jammed by the time it made its last stop at Porter Street before heading nonstop downtown.
I took the last seat, between a man holding his lunch on his lap in a wrinkled brown paper bag crushed between both hands, and a man memorizing a list of vocabulary words in Russian. "Metyell," he said. "Snowstorm."
It took 19 minutes for the L-7 to get from Connecticut and Nebraska to Connecticut and L Street NW downtown, where a stop on the Metro subway Red Line is located. I already had my farecard, from which the machine at the station subtracted 40 cents. The train arrived in two minutes.
I ran for the center car so that I could get off close to the escalator at the Union Station stop. With 26 passengers, the car seemed empty. At Union Station, I decided it was all right to pass on the escalator and made it to the exit gate first only to have forgotten to retrieve my farecard from my handbag to get out.
I ran for the Dirksen Office Building, dodging between cars on Constitution Avenue and making it to my destination at 8:56: