Dear PoPville – Starting Monday Expect Bus delays?

Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

“Dear PoPville,

Yesterday afternoon (22 Oct) on the 36 bus our driver announced that starting Monday (27 Oct) all buses would be delayed. He said there were several reasons- all buses could not go above 25 MPH, they could not start moving if anyone was still standing near the driver (like adding money to their Smartrip) and they would have to limit stops to pick up passengers if there were too many people standing. The driver mentioned something about a new contract trying to force the old employees out because they make too much. He also mentioned something about a new 3 strike policy that would automatically turn a violation into two day suspension. Have you heard anything about this? These don’t seem like the worst ideas considering the stories I’ve read on PoPville.”

16 Comment

  • I have never been on a bus in the city that went faster than 25 mph so I dont think that rule is going to mean much. Are these new rules or something the drivers are doing to make a point about the contract?

    • I’m guessing this guy is conducting a personal “grass-roots campaign” about a contract that he doesn’t like or something. All those rules sound like things that have always been rules. Maybe he’s mad because they’re now trying to get the drivers to actually follow them?

    • It reads to me more like WMATA is enforcing rules (these already exist, as far as I know) so that the older, better-paid drivers will be reprimanded for breaking them and therefore be fired, allowing WMATA to hire younger, cheaper drivers.

      • WMATA, actually fire employees?!? I thought not even napping while driving a Metro train was enough to get a WMATA employee fired.

    • wikipedia / work-to-rule

  • Get on a bus off-peak hours, and they are flying. I love it.

    • Yup. I was unfortunate enough though to get the slowest driver ever on my regular route a few years ago. I used to have to take the N4 towards Friendship Heights at the same time everyday. The driver would never drive above 15 mph, despite the complete lack of traffic, and he would actually anticipate yellow lights and stop at the green light to make sure it was clear, before he’d proceed. He turned what was a 15 minute bus ride into a 45 minute one.

  • Most of these seem like terrible ideas. What problems are they going to solve? Why should the 79 go 5 mph below the speed limit on Georgia Ave? I’m already sick of the unreliable buses that decide not to stop because they’re too full. I’ve had 3 70 buses in a row go by without stopping at Georgia and Decatur. That’s 20 minutes. Too unreliable for getting to work.

    • I should add — I’d hate to be the driver forced to decide whether to pick up someone who’s been waiting for 20 minutes and risk a supervisor deciding “nope, this bus is too full”. If there’s a suspension on the line, I’d start skipping every stop once I had more than a few people standing.

    • I don’t know. I ride the bus a LOT, and while I hate it when they fly by my stop, I hate it more when I’m on a bus that’s bursting at the seams and more and more people keep piling on. (The 63/64 are really reliable.)

      • Shhh! That’s a secret!

        I hear you on the full buses. But when it’s “be late to work / meeting” or cram on to a bus, I usually prefer the later. But maybe I’m taking buses just a little further downtown? More seriously, the underlying problem is that WMATA doesn’t keep track of when this happens and where their buses are too full. They only way they know is if you write in to complain (at least that’s what they told me when I wrote in to complain!) So they can’t make intelligent decisions about where more capacity is needed.

      • Stupid people in the back won’t sacrifice their personal space to move to the back of the bus.

  • A few years back bus drivers slowed all buses down by not passing one another . For example an S9 wouldn’t pass an S4 or S2. Needless to say 16th St was a mess.

  • Get on an S9 during rush hour, they sometimes still don’t pass the S2/S4s … particularly in Columbia Heights.

  • This could be interesting. On a packed bus one morning earlier this month, I stood on the wheelchair ramp, hands on the dashboard, pressed up right against the right front window. I’d ridden S buses creeping down 16th like that before, but this was on a 7M keeping up with 55+ mph traffic on 395. File under stupid but fun.

  • “The driver mentioned something about a new contract trying to force the old employees out because they make too much.”

    Sounds like this is a classic “slowdown” passive labor protest, to me.

    “New contract? I’ll show you” LOL

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