“do you get many complaints about the fact that ONE bus line services the Rhode Island Ave NW corridor?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Phil

“Dear PoPville,

G8 buses along Rhode Island Ave

Do you get many complaints about the fact that ONE bus line services the Rhode Island Ave NW corridor? I’m not a huge complainer, but oh my gosh, FOUR buses passed me by this morning because they were packed to the gills with people. Not to mention service along this line was totally suspended during that minor snow event we had last week. I can walk to the metro, though untreated sidewalks make that treacherous business too, but why is RI so under served and who can I harass about this in govt?? I feel for my older neighbors. There’s so much fuss about the stupid trolleys (I’m from Pittsburgh, rode them around when I was young, and remember all the good reasons the city got rid of them decades ago!) but no one seems to be responding to the needs of the existing and growing communities elsewhere. One more line or a few larger buses would probably do the trick!”

43 Comment

  • I wanted to get from Home Depot to home w/o dealing with Metro track work-related delays and I stumbled onto this. The alternative was going a couple blocks to that ratty shopping center on the other side of the rail tracks from HD and getting off near the library.and going half a mile. Connecting upper RI Ave better with Logan, etc. would pay off in log term benefits for multiple neighborhoods.

  • I used to ride this line to work and it was painful. The schedule was always irregular and I’d always be running for the bus or missing it because NextBus said it was coming later than it did. Also there was always like 45 minutes between each bus. It was ridic.

  • I ride this bus to work most days, and pick it up at North Capitol and Rhode Island during the height of rush hour without problems. The closest I came to not getting on was the day after the recent metro smoke fiasco, when many were (understandably) avoiding metro.

    With the Bloomingdale and Eckington neighborhoods changing, these buses are going to get more crowded and this will become more of a problem. But if you’re having trouble catching this bus on a regular basis, you’re probably trying to pick it up at 1st, 2nd or 3rd and Rhode Island, and honestly, you’re not an unreasonable walk from the Shaw Metro. If you require more door-to-door service, there are taxis and various other ride-sharing services.

    • Meh — I find a lot of Bloomingdale residents have attitudes like this. I don’t find a 10-12 minute walk to the Shaw metro a particulary reasonable start to a commute, since you’re then looking at metro and all that entails, and likely another walk to your office building at the end of it. (This is a long-winded way of agreeing with OP that the public transit situation in the neighborhood isn’t great, and I don’t think acting like hoofing to Shaw metro is quick does much about that.)

      • Obviously that would depend on the circumstances. But if you’re working downtown, then no, I don’t find the Shaw Metro very attractive since you’re already so close. Another 20-25 minutes on foot and you’re where you need to be.

        • Agreed! I love being able to walk from Bloomingdale to my office downtown. It’s one of my favorite things about living there.

      • I walk to the Shaw metro, commute to VA, and walk another 10 minutes to my office and I like it. It’s a good amount of exercise and my commute is about 45 minutes door-to-door. I fail to see how someone can object to that, especially with podcasts, books, etc. to keep you occupied and make the most of your time.

  • tonyr

    On a related note I was thinking of checking out the Hecht’s warehouse development sometime. Looking at the Metro maps, it seems that RI Ave. has one more bus line than NY Ave. Not everything is better in NY it seems. I know that it’s practically a highway, but you’d think that there’s be some service; no bus, no metro, no streetcar.

    • yeah, I always feel for tourists, homeless people, and anyone else who winds up in one of the hotels on NY ave. It can be a long walk to the NoMa metro!

  • This drives me nuts. We are in Bloomingdale and it does not seem to matter what time I get to a stop in the morning. The buses are full and there are still many people at stops waiting. They run right pass, one after the other. The buses do loosen up once they arrive at Shaw, but not significantly. I rarely get a seat, which is fine, but it becomes very tight standing too. You would think that the growth along this route came as a surprise to the city for how poorly this bus line serves it. I will throw my two cents in too, if anyone has a good suggestion about who could be contacted. It seems like not enough people disembark for the buses to be able to adequately service RI below North Capitol. I would be curious if that’s true above it. The buses can also become standing room only in the evenings, well past 6:30.

    • What drives me crazy is that WMATA has no way of counting the number of people who can’t get on a bus because it’s too crowded. I am sure WMATA is completely clueless about where overcrowded areas are.

      • I agree. I live on the 30’s bus lines… there’s 4 of them now and sometimes they’re STILL overcrowded and can’t pick people up (although in this case, I think better bus spacing would help. I often see 2 or 3 different buses at once and then none for 30+ minutes depending on the time of day).

      • The only way they can know this is if you submit a comment form on their website. Please do this so they realize this is a big problem!

        • Oh, they’ve probably gotten dozens of comments from me about various things but… alas, change is slow.

  • The only way WMATA is going to make any changes to the G8 is if enough people complain. Please submit comments to http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/contact_us/ridercomment.cfm. I submit EVERY time the bus is late, skips a stop, over crowded etc. Please do the same.

    • +1 PLEASE write to WMATA if the G8 doesn’t stop for you! A bus operator told me that that you should get the bus number and submit a complaint every time a bus fails to stop. This is the only way to get WMATA to take notice.

    • YES, I’ve been doing this for two years now. Recently they discussed putting an express bus line there, but shelved it in favor of putting more buses where there’s already plenty of service. There’s NO reason there shouldn’t be an express bus line from Woodridge to CT Ave.

  • I ride this line. I think one issue is that the commuting population in the Bloomingdale area has sky-rocketed and Metro hasn’t caught up yet. I moved to Edgewood a year ago and in the last 6 months it has been way worse/harder to get a spot than when I first moved, and a lot of that is that section of Rhode Island between N. Capitol and 7th. Maybe they can increase the # of buses? As for snow they do need to figure that out. I live on one of the streets in Edgewood that would make it dangerous to get from Rhode Island Ave to Brookland station, but I imagine there has to be some way to reroute around those places? Seems silly to shut down whole Rhode Island/Downtown section just to avoid Edgewood. Unsure.

  • Agreed! Plus the RI corridor, extending in to NE and beyond, was entirely overlooked in the long-term DC plans for both the new streetcar lines and new circulator lines. This area seems totally underserved by public transit, at least relative to other parts of DC.

  • Also have you considered the 80? If you’re getting on around Bloomingdale, you can walk to North Capitol and take the 80. It goes basically the same places downtown if not further, so if you’re getting off past the Convention Center downtown it may be a better option. That is what I currently do in snow and in the evenings there are more buses that are less crowded. It takes maybe 5/10 minutes longer.

    • The 80 is a longer route with people using every stop, so make sure you plan ahead. Also the p6 could be an option depending on where you’re going.

  • I am also frustrated that the G8 turns down 9th St. There should be a bus going all the way down RI to M St.

    • This is a good point. RI is actually a pretty quick street, and I think there would be demand to quickly get across town this way. That might be a good additional route they could add.

    • I always assumed RI west of Logan Circle was restricted to bus travel because it’s narrower. But I have no real basis for that assumption.

  • +1

    I have it a little easier, being in Bloomingdale and not up by Eckington or the RIA Metro, but I am still consistently surprised how few good bus lines there are, both in route and in regularity of service. In other parts of the city, bus was my #1 form of transport and now I hardly ever ride it just because it never makes sense.

  • Not sure of current status, or what changes will be implemented, but WMATA has been studying this corridor for bus service improvements:

    • This report is actually out, and helpful. One of the (long-term) recommendations is a G9 Express bus that would run from Mt. Ranier, down RI Ave., through Logan Circle, terminating near McPherson Sq.

      Of course, it would probably cost more, and wouldn’t stop at every block through Bloomingdale/Eckington.

  • I walk from RI/Florida to Farragut and back every day. I’ve never found bus transit to make much sense for my circumstances, even though I live and work on this line. We get some use from the P Street line, but I’ve never actually considered this much of an option.

  • “Maybe you shouldn’t live there?” Really? That’s a proactive solution. And this whole dismissive of Bloomingdale residents thing… come on now. When I was young, you were bourgeoisie if you complained about having to take the bus at all, now you are bourgeoisie if you complain that the bus that does run on your road won’t pick you up. If the bus line is there, I’d like to be able to use it. Period. There’s nothing wrong with that. I do walk to the metro most days because I can’t get on the bus. Some of us don’t have cars, so it’d be nice to take advantage of the closest form of transportation that exists when we’re carrying more then ourselves. The line exists, it needs to be improved so it better serves a growing community. How can one even get judgy about a factual situation like that??

  • I really don’t understand Metro’s NE bus planning strategy. The busiest corner near me, 4th and RI NE has three lines serving it on a regular basis, but none of them provide redundancy to each other. The P6 just zigs and zags through Eckington only to be caught up in traffic on N. Capitol and NY Ave en route to Downtown. The D8 does one of the most circuitous bus routes I’ve ever been on to Union Station and the G8 is perpetually unreliable and doesn’t even connect to the 80’s buses at RI Ave Station.

    • I don’t understand the transit planning in NE at all. Most current plans almost entirely leave this quadrant out in favor of duplicating existing service. I agree that some kind of dedicated right of way service from Navy Yard to Walter Reed would be nice, but given that the green line already runs along most of that corridor why not prioritize areas that basically have no workable transit? Wouldn’t that go the longest way to relieving congestion and encouraging redevelopment of blighted areas?

  • Thanks, all. I’m fine with walking to the metro (I don’t even mind walking to work sometimes when I’m up early enough and feeling spry), but then I transfer to the red line. Sometimes I’d just like to be able to get on that one bus, on a route that someone else pointed out already exists, and just be done with it because it gets me so darn close to work on its own. I’m no diva, I just couldn’t believe that a city so close to downtown was so underserved by buses. Also… I just flat out don’t care for the underground here. I love the buses that are well routed, and adding more in areas that need them seems like it could take more stress off the whole subway system, which has been showing its age these past years. I had no idea about NY Ave! Wow!! I’ll write to metro…

  • I had exactly the same problem recently several times and decided not to take the bus anymore. ever. same for the metro as they let people die on it for no good reason. dc public services resemble a warn-torn fragile state not the capital of the most powerful country of the world.

  • This city is baffling. The G8 is clearly serving too many people and it’s been that way for years. Why don’t they just add more rush hour buses? Or add some sort of Circulator to pick up the dozens of people waiting to get home from the Shaw metro everyday? This isn’t just about Bloomingdale, there are clearly lots of hard-working people waiting and waiting to get home. I really don’t get it.

    • Yeah…welcome to the S line down 16th for YEARS AND YEARS and they are just now getting around to address it. And that’s Dupont/Logan. Good luck getting them to pay attention to Bloomingdale/Eckington just yet.

  • I’ve given up trying to use this bus line. It’s always about 30 minutes or more between buses. Usually when I come back from the airport with luggage and the wait is 45 minutes, I just walk the 20 minutes to my house. If the bus ran frequently, it would be much more usable. I’m surprised that Rhode Island Ave is slated to get a streetcar, but they can’t even maintain the bus service. At least the 80 bus runs frequently, though the traffic on North Capitol Street is so bad that it’s often faster walking downtown than taking the bus.

  • Another alternative from Bloomingdale to downtown is taking the G2 from 3rd over to 16th and P and then catching one of the S buses going down 16th. Or you could take it to Dupont and change to a 42/43. Yes the transfer is annoying, but free, and the time involved often is about the same as the G8. Basically I can tell from NextBus how crowded the G8 is going to be; if there’s a long interval before the next bus, you can expect it will be full when it gets to 1st.

  • I’ve sometimes found Nextbus to not be helpful with the G8 from downtown at the end of the day around 5 or 5:30 p.m. It will show that buses are coming in 5-10 minutes….and then nothing for 30-40 minutes. I would have walked home or taken the Metro if I had known no bus was coming.

  • I connected with DDOT about 14 months ago to suggest the Circulator run a line from the RI Ave Metro to Dupont. DDOT was less than helpful.

    • To be fair, DDOT has held public meetings and solicited public input on new Circulator routes — I’ve been to one such meeting and have completed online surveys a few times. One criterion for a Circulator route is that they like for it to connect two _different_ Metro lines, and/or areas not served by Metro. With the Rhode Island Avenue and Dupont stations both being on the Red Line, I don’t think they’d be very interested in such a route.

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