Talkin’ Transit: Loose Ends

Photo courtesy of
‘Three-Wheeled Taxi’ courtesy of ‘M.V. Jantzen’

A couple of updates to tie up on the transit scene – and then I need your help!

Pedicabs on the Mall: You all remember our report on the harassment of the pedicabs by the Park Police? Well, I’m happy to report that since then, there’s been no further incidents, according to Ben Morris of National Pedicabs. So go and enjoy the ride around the Mall! I’ve also gotten word that a new pedicab company is starting business this weekend as well, so please support this great eco-friendly way to enjoy the Mall. (The grass could use the break, frankly…)

DC, Metro and money: WTOP reported this morning that the District has racked up a tab of a whopping $1.2 million in unpaid expenses to Metro, all centered around the Southeastern bus garage located a block from Nationals stadium. The District had said it would cover the cost to move all the Metrobuses out of that garage and operate them from other facilities. (This is known as “deadheading costs.”) The city’s cost is $400,000 a month, and the deal stretches back to the fall of 2007.

Photo courtesy of
‘Bike on Board’ courtesy of ‘M.V. Jantzen’

In February, the DDOT notified Metro it wouldn’t continue funding the costs. However, the deal wasn’t ended, according to Peter Benjamin, who is head of Metro’s Finance, Administration and Oversight Committee. The District is currently debating taking the difference from a future real estate deal between the city and Metro – expected to be DC Village – but nothing has been formalized. Meantimes, the District continues to rack up debt.

Metro supporting “Bike to Work Day”: On a more positive note, WMATA began installing hundreds of new bike racks at various stations in order to improve access and accommodate more cyclists who use the transit system. All told, there’s an increase of 20 percent in the number of racks at various stations and stops. The project is expected to be finished by Friday for Bike to Work Day.

Tourist Tips: For our next transit feature, I want to have a list of some great tips by our readers for the tourists about to hit the area this summer. Let’s be proactive about this – in comments, give us a great tip (or more) for tourists to keep in mind when using transit / transportation in the area, if only to keep us locals from biting their heads off. I’ll compile all the suggestions and post them in two weeks!

(If you don’t want to post in comments, simply send them in an email to bhrome [at] welovedc [dot] com. You can use that email to give any other heads-up regarding transit in our region as well.)

Having lived in the DC area for ten years, Ben still loves to wander the city with his wife, shooting lots of photos and exploring all the latest exhibits and galleries. A certified hockey fanatic, he spends some time debating the Washington Capitals club with friends – but everyone knows of his three decade love affair with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A professional writer, gamer, photographer, and Lego enthusiast, Ben remains captivated by DC and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

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6 thoughts on “Talkin’ Transit: Loose Ends

  1. this is not a tip for tourists, but a tip for those of you who bring your tourists in the city: you are responsible for your own tourist, so educate them about how to use the metro before you go somewhere, don’t let them get off the escalator and just stand there, don’t let them stand on the left. if everyone takes responsibility for their own tourists, then the metro will be a better place to ride this summer. that is all.

  2. Wheelie bags and enormous strollers are HIGHLY undesirable during rush hour. If you MUST use these things, please try to restrict travel to non-rush hour times. In fact, please plan to restrict your travel time in general to any time BESIDES when I’m there!

  3. VRE is also celebrating National Bike Day. It’s new rails have fold bench seating where bikes can be tied. There is room for 2 bikes in each car

  4. Two tips:

    1. Some stations are so close together it’s not worth a transfer (The two Farragut stations are the most obvious, but you can also easily get to the Mall and Smithsonian museums from Archives or L’Enfant stations).

    2. Pay the extra $5 the first day of your tip and get a SmarTrip card, which will pay for itself in reduced hassle – especially since you can run it to a negative balance on Metro trains.

    3. (Extra bonus tip): When taking Metro to the Zoo, exit at Cleveland Park, since that’s a nicer walk to the Zoo entrance than the walk from Woodley Park.

  5. Do NOT under any circumstances stand at the gate searching for your Metro card. If you do not have it ready when you get there, step to the side out of everyone else’s way until you find it.

  6. I know this would be chaos, but how far is Metro willing to go to encourage bike use? Right now, you can’t take your bike on during rush hour…