If you wake up in the Leesburg area Monday morning and the Metro transit strike is still under way, you might consider coming to Washington this way:
For about $15 a person, you and two friends can rent an airplane and pilot at the Leesburg airport and soar over the traffic jams below and land at National Airport. From there you can take a cab into town or an airport limousine.
Even without taking such an extreme or expensive measure, the end of bus and subway service does not have to mean an end to commuting or resorting to the automobile. For the the more traditional minded commuter, there is commercial bus and rail service. For commuters willing to stretch their imaginations, their legs or their money, there is a range of alternatives from charter airplanes to hitchhiking.
Here are some of them:
Buses - Both Greyhound and Trailways run buses that commuters may use. Both companies say that if demand justifies, they will add buses. Depending on the length of the ride, fares range from about $1.35 to $3 for a one-way ticket. Multiple ride tickets that reduce cost per trip are also available.
Some routes have designated pick-up and drop-off spots, but many buses can be flagged down from corners and Metro stops along the route and will drop riders off at a variety of locations.
Greyhound offers frequent commuter service from Beltsville and Brandywine, to its terminal in downtown Washington. The bus from Beltsville follows Rte. 1, passing through Riverdale and Hyattsville. The buses from Brandywine pass through Clinton and Silver Hill. Another bus route run by Gold Line travels old Rte. 5. Both merge on Rte. 5 in Clinton.
Once a day at 6:30 a.m., a Greyhound bus leaves Gaithersburg for Washington, traveling down Rte. 355 through Rockville and Bethesda.The bus, which arrives at 7:35 a.m. in the District, begins the return trip at 4:45 p.m. Another once-a-day bus leaves Largo at 7:20 a.m. and arrives at 8:15 a.m. Still another leaves Tysons Corner at 6:45 a.m. and arrives in Washington at 7:30.
More information about these routes and about Colonial Transit bus service from Fort Belvoir can be obtained by calling Greyhound on 289-5100. The Fort Belvoir bus passes by the army base about 7:15 a.m., stops in Alexandria at 7:25 and arrives in D.C. at 7:50. The return bus leaves Washington at 5:45 p.m.
Trailways runs buses from White Oak., down New Hampshire Avenue beginning at 6:45 a.m. through 8 a.m., providing four buses a day. Still another leaves White Oak at 10:30 a.m.
On another Trailways route that passes through Fairfax Circle, buses begin leaving the Manassas Mall at 5:15 a.m. and end at 7:15 a.m. The last bus arrives in D.C. at 10 a.m. The number for Trailways information is 737-5800.
RAIL - Amtrak, Conrail and the Chessie System (formerly the B&O Railroad) run some trains that commuters might use. Most are usually full of regular commuters, however, and there are no plans to add additional cars.
Amtrak's Blue Ridge leaves Martinsburg, W. Va., at 6:50 a.m. and passes through Harpers Ferry, Brunswick, Gaithersburg, Rockville and Silver Spring to arrive at Union Station at 8:30 a.m. Reservations are not required. Nor are they required for the Cardinal, who orginates in Chicago and passes through Manassas at 7:24 a.m., Alexandria at 8:05 and arrives in Washington at 8:35 a.m.
Two other Amtrak trains pass through Alexandria before 6 a.m. and require reservations. Amtrak also runs some service from Baltimore to Washington.
The Chessie System runs seven trains into Union Station every morning that pass through Montgomery County. Many of the trains originate in Martinsburg, W. Va. They take 45 minutes to arrive in the District from Gaithersburg, 36 minutes from Rockville and 15 minutes from Silver Spring. They arrive at Union Station between 6:45 a.m. and 10:21. From 4:25 to 7:40 p.m. six trains retrace the route.
The Chessie System and Conrail run six local trains every rush-hour between Washington and Baltimore. Three are run on the old B&O line by Chessie through Hyattsville. Riverdale, College Park, Berwyn and Laurel. Three others are run by Conrail along the old Pennsylvania Railroad line with stops at Landover, Lanham, Seabrook and Bowie. The full trip from Baltimore takes about an hour.
In the morning trains arrive at Union Station between 6:38 a.m. and 8:47 a.m. In the evening they leave between 5:05 and 6:10 p.m.
BICYCLES - Rentals have been up since advent of the strike in spite of the heat and the air pollution, said Larry Black, co-owner of Georgetown Cycle Sport. Other people have been talking about buying or fetching bikes from basements and garages for repairs, he said. The strike "has made them think about an easier way to get to work," he said.
Bicycles rent for about $7.50 a day or $25 to $30 a week. The heat and the air are bad and "bike commuting takes dedication and planning," he said.
Still, there are advantages. "I do it myself, and the strike hasn't affected me at all," said Black, who rides 21 miles a day from College Park to the store in Alexandria.
THUMBS - Sizable numbers of people were opting for hitch-hiking yesterday on Wisconsin and Connecticut avenues in the District. In D.C., Maryland and Virginia, it is legal except on limited access roads such as expressways, freeways and the Beltway, although police generally caution against hitchhiking at all. It is not legal to step off the curb and onto the street to stick out a thumb.
BOATS - For prices ranging from $5 to $15 a day, commuters can rent a canoe and paddle across the Potomac, avoiding traffic jams on the bridges. In good weather, when the Potomac is not choppy, and with proper equipment including life jackets, canoeing across the river is safe, canoers said.
Once across the river, the problem is what to do with the canoe. "There are a number of places where you can put into the river (on the Virginia side), but I don't know what you could do with it on the other side," said Dale Schaffer of the Del Ray Rental Center in Alexandria. Canoes are also available in D.C.
A trip from National Airport to Hains Point takes about a half hour, he said. A canoe trip from Virginia to the Bolling Air Force Base in Anacostia can be done in 10 minutes, according to Charles W. Lundmark, coach with the Washington Canoe Club. Even under normal circumstances, the same trip by car takes about 40 minutes, he said.
Willem Polak of Potomac Boat Tours said that his firm has been working on providing charter commuter service between the Pentagon and Bolling but that he does not expect to begin it by tomorrow.
AIRPLANES - Century Aviation will rent airplanes and pilots to commuters at the Leesburg, Va., and Frederick, Md., airports, said president Ralph Sumpter. "To a lot of people, time means money," he said. Charter planes are also available from Suburban Airservice Inc. out of the Laurel Airport to National Airport.
FEET - For commuters who live near work, walking and jogging are obvious answers to the dilemma.
CARS - For commuters who decide that the only answer to the bus and subway strike is an automobile, the District and suburban jurisdications will still be trying to make life easier tomorrow.
The extended rush hours, from 6 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m., will be in effect again. Parking restrictions on commuters will be relaxed in downtown Washington, Georgetown and other areas. In Arlington but not in D.C., residential permit parking programs will be suspended.
In Washington it will not be necessary to feed parking meters all day to remain parked by them. "No parking" signs and signs that limit parking will remain covered, allowing more on-street parking. D.C. officials cautioned, however, that this does not mean commuters may park anywhere and warned against parking during the extended rush hour on streets where parking during rush hour is prohibited.
Montgomery County and District spokesmen said there are no plans to expand government-on transportation programs, such as the Ride-On program in Montgomery County and transportation of the elderly to clinics.