Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why I'm Married to My Car

Last weekend we had occassion to go to Rhino Bar & Pumphouse on M Street in the middle of Saturday afternoon. (Buckeye football is very important in our household, and the local OSU alumni association holds game watches at Rhino.) Facing a $28 round trip cab fare and tip (three people, two zones) we elected to take the Metro bus. Mistake.

We jumped on at 14th and P right on time. Then we sat and sat some more. Apparently it was time for a driver shift change, and the new driver could not be bothered to show up on time. Once he did arrive, he spent a good five minutes chatting with the driver going off duty. During this time passengers in the back of the bus heckled him. Loudly. Our fellow passengers then requested every stop between 14th Street and Dupont Circle; no passengers disembarked during our wait in order to walk the one to five blocks to their destinations. Our average speed for the first half of the trip was two miles an hour, and the total duration of our 17 block ride was a half hour.

Now, Mr. 14th and You is a better citizen than I. He will not contribute to pollution and congestion by driving when it's not strictly necessary. He also happens to hate driving in the city. I, on the other hand, love my car. Driving a five speed with the sun roof open makes me happy. I have my limits; tight parking in certain neighborhoods and rush hour traffic quickly diminish my happy driving experience. However, both my husband and I agree that we would have been far better off parking on Wisconsin north of R Street on Saturday than taking the bus. We came to a similar conclusion when a southbound 14th Street bus between R Street and McPherson Square took over twenty minutes to get us to our destination.

Granted we could have opted for the Dupont to Georgetown mini bus on Saturday. But is it too much to ask that something be done to improve Metro bus travel in the city? Do we have to have stops on every block? Could we add a certain number of express buses with fewer stops on their routes?

3 comments:

Mr. 14th & You said...

The bus driver wasn't the least bit courteous, either.

I *want* to view the bus system in this city as a viable option, and I'm certain there are a few routes that are. But my experience has been pretty much as described here--but is late, driver is surly, bus makes too many stops, etc.

YoYo in DC said...

Sorry for your bad trip. I purposely try to walk, metro or take the circulator to avoid crowds and long trips. Lately the circulator has become very crowded and makes every stop but I still refuse to drive, I guess I am too lazy.

Btw, I love the name of your blog!

Mr. 14th & You said...

No, yoyo--you're not lazy! Not driving is a good thing, trust me. I'm typically a far happier person when I'm not driving (long bus rides with surly drivers notwithstanding).

Oh, and props go to my wife for the name of the blog. I can't remember the name I suggested, but I'm sure it was much more lame.