For many Metrobus commuters -- those who work for private industry -- the transit authority's announcement of some holiday schedules frequently in an infuriating Catch-22. The catchis about to get uncaught.
The holidays in question are those when federal workers have the day off but many in the private sector must work. George Washington's Birthday, Columbus Day and Veterans Day are the most conspicuous examples.
On such days, Metro has blithely announced in the past, Metrobus routes will operate on "an augmented Saturday schedule." Fine and dandy, except that on some routes, most notably in Virginia, there is no Saturday service -- period.
How, then, could a commuter on, for example, the No. 17 line serving Kings Park or the No. 18 line serving Springfield, which run only Monday through Friday, figure out how a nonexistent Saturday schedule is augmented? Many other Virginia lines run only sketchy Saturday service.
After many complaints -- some printed in this column -- Metro has taken steps to cure the problem. In the newest editions of many timetables, which were issued Sept. 2, it is now listing "Supplemental Holiday Service" on such bus routes in Virginia. "We are now working up similar info for the D.C. routes," Allen Long, Metro's deputy public affairs director, told Metro Scene. Maryland routes run on an ad hoc holiday-by-holiday basis.
For the benefit of holiday travelers over this Veterans Day weekend, incidentally, the Metrorail system will run from 6:30 a.m. until midnight Monday. That means travelers arriving at National Airport and Union Station during late evening will be able to get home by train. The Metrobus system will run that day on an "augmented Saturday schedule."