DC2NY Bus To Go Out of Business?

 Thanks to a reader for sending the below information. I don’t know if I’d call L’enfant plaza a “scary, unsafe” location but it is certainly interesting to know that DC2NY thinks they’d go out of business if forced to move there.  So what do you all think – is it unfair to make all the intercity buses move to this location?

“Your readers who use intercity buses should be aware that new ‘emergency rules’ by the DC DOT are going to force all buses into a scary, unsafe, and inconvenient strip of road in southwest DC –by July 3rd.

DC2NY bus is probably going out of business due to the new DDOT emergency rules, WHEN they go in effect July 3rd. The owner of DC2NY returned my email with a voice mail and said they’d met with DDOT to tell them that they’re not the problem, but he said DDOT doesn’t care. He sounds like there is nothing he can do. New rules go into effect July 3, and the only DC Council person to get back to me was Mary Cheh, who said she was not aware of the new rules. I have it unconfirmed that one other bus company, with 20+ employees, will also leave DC, and I’m working to confirm that.  Looks like jobs will be lost, and minorities/poor will have one less travel option.  (Mayor Fenty and all the at-large council members have not returned my emails.)

The links below are the original story, the DCist story, and the DDOT’s website, which has PDF’s of the rules and the new application for using the strip of road in SW.  The application is really arrogant if you know anything about how these buses work.  For example, no public vending of tickets.  Anyhow, NY and Philly don’t seem to have a problem with the buses.  (The reader comments in both stories are great, too.)

I’d start an advocacy website/log, but it looks like these new rules are going to go in effect nothing short of a law suit, and after speaking with two bus companies, I do not get the feeling they are headed in that direction.

DC should prepare itself to be mightily embarrassed, once again; and we should all look forward to catching our buses in Bethesda after July 3rd.  Maybe you guys can find out what ‘complaints’ were really made about the buses?  Maybe the complaints come from a bus company that has it’s own private loading space and is exempt from the new rules?  Greyhound?  Why the ‘Emergency Rules’ with no live-public hearing, little media coverage, and a 30 day window?  Why weren’t the bus companies informed until 15 days after the rules were entered into the DC Register?”

http://www.examiner.com/a-1446804~Low_cost__regional_bus_companies_forced_to_load_in_designated_zone.html

http://dcist.com/2008/06/18/intercity_bus_terminal_planned_for.php

http://www.ddot.dc.gov/ddot/cwp/view,a,1255,q,563937,ddotNav,|32397|.asp

 

         

22 Comment

  • I can’t comment on the change of pick-up location, other than to say that reducing consumer choice isn’t something I support. That said, I do support moving away from ‘public vending’ of tickets.

    Long story short, after having booked a two-way ticket on a Chinatown bus, I found myself and my girlfriend stranded outside Penn Station surrounded by a growing mob of angry passengers, all waiving tickets and screaming at various bus drivers or employees of Eastern Travel as we watched numerous buses come and go, none of which was destined for DC. No one spoke enough English to explain what was going on. Though the tickets had booked online two weeks prior had us leaving NYC at 4:00, it was quick approaching 7:00 and I was incredibly pissed. I was livid. I was ready to kick some serous ass to get my way on to the bus, and, no surprise so was everyone else around us. Despite my attempts to communicate that I already HAD a ticket, employees began to vend tickets for a bus ride that I had paid for weeks before and weren’t letting me on. I eventually screamed loud enough and looked threatening enough to be offered a seat. But the growing mob outside the bus wasn’t having it. At one point a woman just went off and said “Don’t make me get my knife, don’t you f&%ing make me get my knife!”

    That was my last Chinatown bus ride.

    I applaud the ban on public vending of tickets. If you want cheap ride to NYC I strongly recommend DC2NY, which offers guaranteed seats to those who book online. This way you get your seat and you probably won’t get knifed.

  • This sucks. Can DC government do ANYTHING right?

  • First, not a dangerous location they will need to move to, and easily accessible.

    Second, I’ll be glad to see them stop blocking traffic all over downtown.

    Third, I see how the broke (and the cheap) might lose a travel option, but the assumption that “minorities” will be affected any more than anyone else by that result is confusing.

  • Gallery Place to L’enfant: 10 blocks.

    Not that big a deal.

    P.S. Are PoP’s readers really going to be scared by a strip of road in SW near the mall? We live in Petworth!

  • It’s not merely confusing to say that “minorities” will be affected more, saf, it seems downright racist. Minority and poor and two seperate and distinct categories! A person of color can take the train or fly just as easily as a white person.

  • I’m pretty annoyed with this decision, if only because I have tickets to take a DC2NY bus on July 3rd!!! I was pretty happy with getting on at 14th between H&I (right near my office), but now I don’t know where I’m supposed to go! Hopefully they’ll email me when they have a new location… I can’t believe that the DDOT is forcing them to make the change so quickly that people have already bought tickets for a pickup location that will have to be moved.

    On another topic — considering that people of color are more likely to be socioeconomically disadvantaged than white people (especially within cities like DC), it is just accurate to say that something which affects the poor will have a disproportionately greater effect on people of color than on white people.

  • Anonymous, I hear you loud and clear, it was very poor wording on my part, but I think ‘confusing’ is a good place to start before we jump to racist. I’m going to try and round up stats on the income of intercity bus users as well as the racial background of intercity bus users, and compare them to the more expensive modes of transportation you mention, such as train and air travel. I will also try to assess the impact of job losses when the bus companies go out of business –will the job losses mostly affect minority workers from these bus companies? Are the companies themselves owned and operated by minorities –I think these are questions we really need to address, so if we’re going to address them, I’ll try to be more tactful –but by all means ‘minorities/poor’ was a terrible abbreviation on my part of the larger statistical issues I was referring to, and I apologize, it wasn’t my intent to automatically link ‘poor’ and ‘minority’.

  • L’Enfant is only 4-5 minutes metro ride from Gallery Place. I gotta say I’m getting pretty pissed at all the whining about how L’Enfant is some monumental inconvenience. Some people actually have REAL problems beyond having a four hour trip increased by 5-10 mins.

  • Anonymous said: “L’Enfant is only 4-5 minutes metro ride from Gallery Place. I gotta say I’m getting pretty pissed at all the whining about how L’Enfant is some monumental inconvenience. Some people actually have REAL problems beyond having a four hour trip increased by 5-10 mins.”

    Anonymous brings up a point that actual riders of intercity buses will be able to more accurately address here, mainly, that all we’re talking about is five minutes here. In reality, Dupont Circle is about 15 minutes away from L’Enfant, which is fine if Metro is running according to schedule, but we all know they don’t always run according to schedule, and on the weekend, well, we all know we have to show up at the Metro maybe a 1/2 hour earlier than when we expect our train to arrive. So really, that “5-10 mins.” trip is about 30 to 45 minutes of delay on a Saturday morning if you need to be at L’Enfant by a certain time.

    Heaven forbid the bus rider is coming from Falls Church or Greenbelt. We’re talking about more than five or ten minutes –we’re talking about what tourists and visitors get to see when they arrive in DC.

    In NYC, the intercity buses have stops in some of the most vibrant and amazing places in the city –are we to tell our visitors and tourists to DC that L’Enfant is the best we can do? Some late 1960′s underground shopping mall and overheated strip of asphalt is the best way to welcome people to the Nation’s Capitol? Or do we just not care?

  • @Kevin – those are very hollow arguments for me. Whether you are taking a metro from Petworth to Gallery Place or to L’Enfant you’d be prudent to get to be cautious and arrive early. It’s not like the destination of L’Enfant somehow dictates this more than any other metro location.

    If these bus companies want to be downtown then pay for that right. Buy some space in a lot or work out an arrangement with the city to purchase some curb space that is currently occupied by meter parking. But just letting every new bus company doublepark for 20-30 minutes anywhere they feel like it is ridiculous.

  • Hey Pop – Kevin’s posts are pretty hostile towards your readership. Read both my posts and his and it’s clear who is “on the attack”.

    Kevin wrote:
    “Your first paragraph refutes nothing. It basically says L’Enfant is equally distant from any other point on Earth. Please prove that. It takes longer to get to L’Enfant from Dupont than Gallery Place.”

    That’s not what I said at all. My point was that this extra 30 minutes you’ve added before boarding a metro would exist regardless of destination. You are adding that time cost to L’Enfant like it’s a new burden. But if I was getting on metro in Petworth to ride to Gallery Place I’d have that same incentive to leave on the early side for caution. It’s not like I can perfectly time any train from Petworth and my destination doesn’t change that. So that 30 minutes being portrayed as a new time impact from L’Enfant is disingenuous. The new time cost for a Petworthian is merely the extra time it takes for the Green/Yellow like train to go from Gallery Place to L’Enfant and that is 5 minutes.

  • Kevin – just to make your typing easier: SAF is my initials. My name is Sarah. (And hence, I’m guessing that you can now tell that I’m female.) (Sorry – I assume people know that because once in a while I remember to sign my comments.)

    Oh, and my issues with those buses blocking traffic have been at metro center and chinatown.

  • As someone who walks by the pick up spot at 11th & G (Bolt and Megabus) every day and sometimes catches a Metrobus there, I’m very glad they are moving the locations. The passengers waiting for the NYC buses clog the sidewalk and the buses often stop in ways that force those waiting for the Metrobuses to walk into the street to get on the bus. While I can appreciate Mr. Ricche’s concerns for “intercity” bus riders, my bigger concern is for “intrAcity” bus riders. The NYC buses should absolutely not be permitted to usurp Metrobus stops.

  • sorry but these buses are out of control. I used to live across the street from one of their loading locations on 5th st and i currently work down the street from the 14th st. location. these buses used to be pretty low key years ago and caused very little inconvenience for residents. im not sure what their data shows, but anecdotely ridership has now clearly boomed creating more frequent buses blocking traffic and more riders blocking the sidewalk and more locations across the area. the spots at 8th st and h and 5th and H can be some of the more problematic locations. i’m surprised it took the city this long to address it. Lenfant plaza isn’t some backwater out of the way location. its a few metro stops away from the current loading zones and tourists will have a very nice starting point for the trip into dc: a few blocks from the smithsonian castle and the mall.

  • I agree with Adams Morgan — those buses park in metrobus stops and it is incredibly annoying and simply does not seem legal.

  • what’s wrong with Greyhound? I never had a problem with Greyhound tickets or service, and there’s a pretty established system for waiting on an orderly line on both ends

  • thank goodness they’re moving! they’re such a nuisance in china town. they aggravate an already crappy traffic problem in that part of town. i work near l’enfant plaza, and it’s not only safe, it’s easily accessible from all parts of the city. does anyone really think that riders are going to stop taking these busses because they have to go five minutes south of china town?

    no way, jose. they will go to wherever these cheap busses are. that’s a fact.

  • I’m also glad they’re moving and consolidating. Nothing is more annoying than having to run around the city by metro to catch “the next” bus that is leaving from across town, when the one you were supposed to be on is already booked. We have a fabulous metro system to get around the city, why do we need express buses to NY to leave from multiple locations?

    It seems like after a transition period, this would be a lot more economical for the bus lines too, no?

    As for the safety issue- I don’t think the proposed location seems unreasonable dangerous. Especially if it becomes the new hub for the out of town buses- that in and of its self will bring more traffic, which will bring more cabs, police etc. Soon enough there will be vendors to sell you food while you wait for your bus as well. Sure, maybe there won’t be quite the selection as Chinatown or Dupont, but come on- this is the bus. You get what you pay for. Its not a God given right to have fabulous bars and lounges available to those waiting for the cheap bus to NY.

    I’d see the real “threat” to the bus companies here is competition- with all of the companies based out of the same location, they’ll have to keep up with one another in terms of pricing and scheduling and service (ie, if one company screws you over, you can walk to the next one). How is that not great for the consumers?

  • Parkwood Person’s post nailed it.

  • Sure, the distance from Chinatown to L’Enfant isn’t that far, and it’s a short ride on the metro between the two spots — when the metro is actually running, which it often isn’t super-early in the morning when I want to take the bus.

    But what about all the AU kids and others getting on the bus on 41st and Albemarle? The Tenleytown/AU metro stop is a haul from L’Enfant, I’m guessing Bethesda stops are closer.

  • KJ, if I recall correctly the bus stop at AU was moved to Bethesda at least two years ago. Something about the bus company not securing the proper permits to operate in DC. I used to live in McLean Gardens, and the first time I tried to find the bus that stopped at AU, I was told it had been moved to downtown Bethesda.

  • @Jason – checkout the WHOIS for ricche.biz, looks like a DC resident. i saw the wedding thing you did, but all his stuff is about dc, my 2 cents.

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