Brutal Bus Line this Morning (Bonus Snow Hawk)


@alexandrarowe tweets us:

“welcome back from snow day. line at 16th and Park for S-line buses that seem never to come @Metrobusinfo @PoPville”


In completely unrelated news, another reader spots a Hawk looking for breakfast at Union Station.

23 Comment

  • This makes me think: I’ve always been curious why lines form at certain bus stops but not others. Is it just social norms that develop over time? Did somebody just say one time, “hey, there’s a line!” Or is there something more concrete that I don’t know about? I’ve stood at plenty of crowded bus stops where it’s just a mob of people trying to get on the bus (like the 42/43 south from Adams Morgan during rush hour) and plenty of equally crowded stops where people line up in an orderly fashion, reminiscent of boarding the BART in San Francisco. Any thoughts???

    • I”ve been wondering about this too. The Dupont-Georgetown circulator has an orderly line every morning. I mean, I like the idea since I think it’s fair (the people who have been waiting the longest get first dibs), but how do you enforce? How does it happen?

    • I’ve noticed that as well. People line up very orderly for the 5A out to Dulles, I’ve always assumed because people tend to freak out about getting to the airport on time. I definitely prefer it that way though. When people crowd around mob style I’m always tempted to put on my best British airs and say “excuse me, there is a queue here.”

    • I’m also very impressed with that line! I commuted for a few years on the 42 bus and the 30s buses and there were never any lines, just a mob of people trying to get on the bus at the same time.

  • I’m not sure that S buses never come–they’re just hopelessly overcrowded on many days an fly right past stops. Once that stop reaches that level of insanity, it seems more productive just to walk two blocks to the CH Metro.

  • Horrible line for the 42 bus as well. From I could gather by looking at the WMATA vest clad ppl riding along the drivers in the 6(!) busses that skipped my stop, the geniuses at WMATA decided that today was the best day to enforce their “no overcrowded buses” policy. The subway also appears to be on a holiday/Sunday schedule. The cherry on top was AT&T network issues underground. Yeah!

  • The buses along North Capitol were a nightmare as well, particularly as you neared NY Avenue where traffic was snarled. The city really needs to sit down and think about where bus stops are placed, how far apart they are, and traffic patterns. They also need to make sure the snow that gets plowed up onto the curbs and sidewalks are cleared from the bus stop areas. This morning was horrible trying to actually get on the bus without stepping in 2 feet of black snow/slush.

  • And all Muriel can say is we need to study, study, study, and study some more about the potential for bus lines on 16th street. Despite the fact that every day more people commute in buses than in private automobiles.

  • There was an accident involving an S1 bus and 2 vehicles just a few blocks north of here, so traffic was inching along due to a 1.5 lane closure. Couldn’t see much but there did not appear to be any serious injuries.

    S buses come pretty frequently during rush hour. I would estimate the average is every 3 minutes.

    • The responding wmata vehicles also periodically blocked all south bound traffic on 16th, so that didn’t help. In theory they arrive that frequently, in practice they’re much more sporadic and usually full by Park or Irving.

    • What heavenly place do you live that S buses arrive every 3 minutes? Don’t get me started on the S1 buses that are always bunched together, meaning the next arrival of one is 15 minutes away, but oftentimes there’s not a single S bus for 8-10 minutes, meaning that the first 3 that arrive will not be stopping because they’re full of the people at stops above your stop who also were waiting 8 minutes. Anything below Park St after 8 AM is a nightmare.

      • I live on Newton and get on the bus at 16th and Newton – one stop north of Park – most of the time. Occasionally I walk down to the Park Rd stop if it’s nice weather or I want to grab the express because I’m in a hurry. In particularly bad weather such as yesterday I usually opt for the metro to avoid traffic and the cold/rain.

        I said they come an average of every 3 minutes. It’s definitely true that many buses tend to come one after another but the average still holds. In the 2+ years I’ve been riding the S buses, I’ve only have to wait more than, say 5-10 minutes, a handful of times.

        I feel like judging public transit is primarily about expectations. I have a ~30 minute commute where I can usually find a seat, listen to music, read, whatever versus my family in the midwest that have 45+ minute drives to work versus colleagues that live out in the burbs with 60+ minute commutes. Neither have what I consider the luxury of just sitting there reading while being shuttled to work. I’m not saying wmata is perfect but it’s really convenient for what I think is probably a non-vocal majority.

      • Yes, Park Road or Irving seem to be the dividing line. I used to live down by Euclid, and the S buses were always a s-show that I rarely if ever took in the mornings. Now I live right by park and it is much better getting on the bus.

  • Always worth walking a few blocks north to Oak.

  • Today made me insane. The 16th street buses are a disaster. I get on at Park (we do it mob style) but I would say there was a good 15 minute wait and maybe 50 people. Roar.

    • You were lucky if your wait was only 15 at Park- mine was closer to 35. What a mess. I should have given up and walked to metro, but nextbus promised me 9 buses were only 2 minutes away.

  • I either take the 16th or 14th St. bus lines to work and they are nightmarish in the morning, especially the 16th St. lines. Rather than spend money on worthless street cars for H St that, this city needs to spend those funds on increasing the number of buses on both 14th and 16th st.

  • I must have just missed this mess. I left my place at 9:10 am and hopped right onto a S-1 bus. Wasn’t packed until Harvard St.

  • I got on an S1 at Park Road around 7:40 this morning and didn’t have any trouble. Must have happened right after.

  • WMATA will only allocate additional resources to a given bus line if they receive a sufficient number of complaints. If everyone who has written to PoPville also submits a complaint, we may actually see some movement on this.

    You can access the complaint form here:

  • jim_ed

    There was also a wreck this morning much further north on 16th St where some intrepid Maryland driver managed to run straight into a lamp post going southbound, just before Walter Reed, which snarled traffic all the way back to the traffic circle at the city line. That could have added to the S bus misery.

  • The red line was also a disaster. Trains were so full at Van Ness, nobody could get on. I waited 30+ minutes before I got a space, and then only because I muscled my way onto a car.

    WMATA seems so bad now, and it’s only going to get worse as more people take public transportation. Is there a nonprofit that advocates for commuters? If not, we need one!

  • I only take the S buses before 8 and after 9, rest of the time I walk to the Metro. Looks like that policy served me well today.

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