Could you hang on a minute? I’m not quite done with this column. And I figure you have to be used to waiting by now — especially if you’ve ever attempted to board the Red Line.
It’s been the year of delays in local transportation. Constant track work has made Metro a mess every weekend, and too many weekdays haven’t been much better. The D.C. Streetcar, which was supposed to start rolling on H Street months ago, continues to leave us hanging. No one has ever said exactly when the Silver Line would debut, but that project has been postponed twice recently.
There are a bazillion other loose ends: the M Street cycletrack, the Silver Spring Transit Center and the completion of that perennial latecomer, the Metropolitan Branch Trail (21 years and counting!). And even the stuff that actually did happen in 2013 has left us waiting for something better.
Here’s a wish list for next year.
It seemed like D.C.’s taxi drivers employed every stall tactic imaginable to avoid accepting plastic. Because they did. When credit card readers became a requirement this fall, that should have been the end of it. Instead, passengers keep winding up in the backseats of cabs with busted equipment and are forced to pay in cash.
Are the drivers lying? Maybe not all of them — and a few appear to have valid complaints about getting ripped off because of the situation. Until these problems are fixed, however, D.C.’s reputation as one of the worst cities in America to take a cab isn’t going anywhere.
A Sweeter 16th
Back in March, WMATA introduced beefed-up bus service on the 16th Street corridor to address the insane overcrowding of the S routes. For anyone who’d been left behind at a stop while buses packed with bodies drove on by, it was a triumph. For a few months. Then even more people moved into the neighborhood, and everyone’s back at square one — and stranded at stops again.
What we really need are dedicated bus lanes. That would speed up each trip, so drivers could complete additional loops and carry more passengers. (And maybe persuade people that we need more bus lanes in the area, period.)
Cinderella had until the clock struck 12 before she needed to exit the ball. But we need to leave Baltimore way before then if we want to take advantage of the new weekend MARC service — the last train of the night heads out from Baltimore’s Penn Station at 9:15 p.m. on Saturdays (the same time as during the week). That’s way too early for anyone who wants to go out to dinner or see a show.
Hey MTA, add an 11:30 p.m. train and we’ll have ourselves a date.