Friday Question of the Day – Will you ride Streetcar?

stupidiest marketing campaign ever

It may have may have one of the most ridiculous, to put it mildly, marketing campaigns and it may not run on Sundays (which I still can’t believe hasn’t caused more outrage) but I will admit that I’m going to ride the Streetcar. When I do super long walkabouts and my route takes me to H Street – I can see myself occasionally riding it to Union Station.

So, while it has been fun giving them grief [latest from the Economist “The catastrophic execution of the streetcar project has somewhat obscured the fact that even if everything had gone smoothly, the planning itself is rotten.”], nevertheless I want you to be honest – will you ride the Streetcar? How often do you think you will? What’s your scenario?

Actually it just occurred to me, I do many of my walkabouts on Sunday oh well…


84 Comment

  • andy

    Yes, once after the hubbub has died down. More often if it proves useful.

  • I just don’t see where it would get me if I’m visiting H Street…I don’t mind walking 5-10 blocks between bars and hop in my uber back home to Logan.

  • canadianexile

    I live a couple of blocks from the 8th St stop and can imagine riding it down to 13th if the weather is really bad or to union station if I have a suitcase (and the weather is bad). If it is extended downtown, definitely. But like andy says, it depends if it is useful or not.

    • I suppose a 3 block walk with a suitcase in the rain/heat is better than 11 or so blocks, but assuming they’re going to charge fares before long, for a few dollars more wouldn’t a a taxi or uber directly to Union be vastly easier?

      • Tsar of Truxton

        Agreed. Uber would likely be the minimum, so $4 (door-to-door). I would think this will cost something close to $2.

      • canadianexile

        good point. uber would probably be easier once the streetcar isn’t free. and pretty much the same price when there are 2 people.

      • Actually if you are taking Bolt, Greyhound or one of the other bus lines, the streetcar works best because you enter Union Station garage where the busses and Circulator are stationed.

  • Not gonna be able to do it

  • I live on 8th Street SE. Regardless of whether I walk or take the bus up to H Street I’ll end up right in the middle of the corridor, and walking the last five blocks or less to my destination seems more logical than taking the streetcar. But I’ll do it once or twice just for fun.

  • It doesn’t go anywhere useful for me so no, I won’t be riding it
    What a giant waste of money

  • When they expand the system, sure.

  • Absolutely. We live at 13th and G, own a business at 4th & H and our daughter’s school is at the Eastern terminus (the new 2 Rivers).

  • How is this any different from a bus that already goes down H St.? Just seems like it was a bunch of money to go along a pre-existing bus route.

    • It’s for the people afraid of the bus.

      • I take the bus every day and wouldn’t mind a more reliable option, if this is actually that. Which it probably isn’t. I constantly have to wait a super long time for the buses, they’re never on any sort of predictable schedule, and many times the bus will be so full it stops picking people up and blows right by me during rush hour when I need to get to work. And it’s cramped as heck and people are rude.

        I don’t expect this to be much different, but it’d be lovely if it was.

        • That said, this doesn’t actually go far enough to get me to where I’m going so I may not take it very much. But the reason is not because I’m afraid of buses, it’s because it doesn’t go far enough.

        • I tried to take the X2 once and ended up waiting 45 minutes for it– that was the last time I used the bus. But I was trying to get to Dupont. I wouldn’t have bothered just to go down the street.

    • The idea is that permanent rail stimulates development in a way that bus lines don’t.

      • Ask the folks in West Philly how that worked out.

      • The streetcar cost $200 million, right? It would’ve been cheaper to stimulate development by just handing out $150 million to developers. If we spent the remaining $50 million on better bus service, people using public transit would’ve been better off as well.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      The idea was to have a whole network of streetcars that go places the metro doesn’t. This is just the first phase of many. Hopefully, the rest will be cancelled. The issue is more the execution than the idea.

  • Hope they staff a patrol officer on the streetcar this weekend.

  • I’ll do I as long it’s free. I live 4 blocks from either 8th/12th & H depending which way I go. I don’t think I’m that lazy to walk either direction along H street to get to where I’m going. But this is coming from someone who doesn’t think the metro is convenient(Unless you live/work/grocery/gym) above a stop. Sure it’s an alternate method of transportation- but I’d rather just jump in a taxi/uber or drive around the city.

  • Tsar of Truxton

    Never say never, but it just doesn’t seem like a route I would ever take (I have never taken the X2 either), and it doesnt have the allure of the street cars in Nola or SF to take just to say you did it. I am sure all the people that used to take buses down H will now take the street car, but for most people who want to get to H an uber/taxi is going to be cheaper and more convenient than Metro+Streetcar.

  • We live on the west end of H St so I could see using it to get to the other end if the weather isn’t nice enough to walk. That is, if it doesn’t take longer than walking would- and I have my doubts.

  • I live off H street, I would maybe take it during winter or inclement weather, just because I’m too close to really take an Uber without feeling silly but far enough where I don’t like walking in the freezing cold.

    That is, however, if they come at reliable intervals. I know with Metrobus, I’ve been stuck waiting at the bus stop for 40 minutes in the cold during rush hour on several occasions lately. Having to wait outside a long time would defeat the purpose

    I could also see taking it home rather than walking home from bars at night, because I’ve often gotten bothered by the men gathered around 8th street, so it would be nice to bypass that. Although that section is getting better. Sometimes I want to Uber home from the far end of H st just to avoid walking through that area alone but it’s just so close to home that I feel silly doing so.

    • I would also be more of a weekend rider, so the fact that it doesn’t go on Sunday is insane to me. That’s when people go out for brunch and stuff…

  • Should have just been a new Circulator route.

    • Agreed. A new circulator route would have already been in service and useful to people for YEARS, at this point. And so, so much cheaper.

    • +1. But a Circulator route would not have attracted the kind of investment that the promise of a streetcar has accomplished.

  • Where’s the option for “I would if it ran on Sunday?”

  • No, out of function and principle.

    Doesn’t connect anything to anywhere. Useless headways and so the transportation utility of it is zero.

    The principle part is, I refuse to patronize (loose term considering they aren’t even charging fares for it because they haven’t figured out how yet to charge fares!!) such an internationally embarrassing boondoggle appropriately names “rolling blunder”. 5 years late and at 2.5 times the advertised cost.

    The shameful part was, I was a fan when they started this, now the entire thing is beyond silly.

    • Hopefully they find a way to charge fares. Otherwise, it may partly serve as a moving shelter for homeless people or others with no place to go – particularly during bad weather.

  • Comment Artist

    Where exactly is the western terminus? Is it on the bridge that goes over the Union Station railyard? It really doesn’t look like it would ever be a convenient means of transit for me, unless I was just taking it a few stops down H Street, like, from one bar to the next. But if I’m going to H Street in the first place, I’m most likely driving there.

    • You drive to go bar-hopping?

      • You drive, park and walk just as you would on U st or Adams Morgan.

        • Why are you driving to any of those places? The parking is already bad for people who live there, not to mention unnecessary noise and air pollution. Think about others.

          • Plus, you know, drunk driving.

          • I have been here for my entire life and I have never been big on public transportation. Never really been my thing honestly. Use it off and on but never when hanging out or going out on the town.

          • Interesting. I always liked driving, until I moved here!

          • In Phillipe’s defense: 1) Everyone who visits bars does not drink for personal reasons or because they are the designated driver; 2) Everyone does not live convenient to metro train; 3) Metro bus on weekends and holidays can be nightmarish with transfers to get to H Street just to transfer to a streetcar; 4) Everyone is not keen on habitually taking Uber and Taxis; and 5) Some people like driving their own cars. Y’all are quick to judge.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            Our society would be much safer if those people who were not “keen” on Uber or Taxis would change their stance when going somewhere to drink. A cab/uber is always cheaper than a DUI.

          • @TKE98 – You listed a whole lot of options there. Driving seems pretty low on the list with so much else to choose from, particularly cabs and Uber if you’re not into transit.

            I still don’t see why anyone would drive to a nightlife destination. Then again, I live in one of those neighborhoods so am one of the people being affected by those who want to drive everywhere.

        • “You drive, park and walk just as you would on U st or Adams Morgan.” You’d have to be a masochist to want to drive and park in either of those neighborhoods on a Friday or Saturday night.

        • TKE98, those five reasons are all very well and good… but the “why” doesn’t matter if someone is driving under the influence.

      • Yes if you have basic self-control you leave in the car. If not there is always uber.

      • Comment Artist

        That depends on your definition of bar hopping. Not everybody goes out with the intention of drinking until they drop.

        • You don’t have to drink until you drop to not be in shape to get behind the wheel.

          • It only takes one drink to be over the limit if you’re a small woman (happened to me).

          • Comment Artist

            And some of us are responsibly aware of our limits.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Phillipe – virtually everybody believes that they are aware of their limits. A lot of people who believe that are correct. But a non-negligible proportion of them are wrong, too. I don’t know you personally and don’t have any idea whether either of the above characterizes you or not, but in general, this isn’t something to take a stranger’s word on.

          • Exactly HaileUnlikely. I’d always assumed one of two drinks was fine because that’s what everyone always says. It wasn’t until I got a DUI that I actually looked at the chart and realized I could be over the limit no matter how little I drink. Guys and big people can get away with a lot more though.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Aside from differences between different people, the effect that a given amount of alcohol will have on the same person at different times depends very strongly on too many factors to enumerate here but include nutrition, hydration, and sleep. One of my friends recently spent the night on my couch after coming over for dinner and a couple of beers, which ordinarily would not affect him noticeably at all, but put him on his @ss because he had been eating poorly and not sleeping enough because of work-related stuff.

          • Yeah it’s really a gamble. If you’re on your period or medication it screws up the math even further. Best to just avoid the risk, and besides, the driving and parking will drive anyone to drink more than they originally intended. 🙂

    • To Philippe’s original point, though, it’s often more convenient to drive to H Street if you’re going there for something other than drinking. When I’m venturing up there, usually either to Atlas Vet or Yoga District, I drive because it’s fast and easy. I don’t really see that changing unless parking becomes impossible.

  • HaileUnlikely

    It is not out of the question that I’d give it a whirl if I find myself attending an event at the Atlas sometime, but other than that, I don’t really have any reason to go over there (too old for the bars and stuff)

  • Nope, never. Well maybe once to entertain my toddler #choochoo

  • Bummed it doesn’t go straight into the Union Station area for a quicker more convenient connection to Metro. Then it would make a lot more sense, especially to take on a crappy day out or something.

  • No—not much need for or interest in H Street. I’d be interested in a streetcar network, but not this single line.

  • It doesn’t really go anywhere that I need to go and given how poorly it was implemented, I don’t think we’ll see anymore streetcars in DC. I would have rode the hell out of a line running up and down Georgia, but I don’t see that ever happening.

  • my answer: Yes, when it comes before the X2 or when the x2 is full.

  • justinbc

    I’ll definitely take it back from Giant / Whole Foods when I’ve got arms full of groceries.

  • Nope. Taking metro to Union Station, then exiting and walking all the way to this stop, then waiting for a described “10-20 minute” headway is INSANE. I have a high tolerance for waiting for metro/bus but that’s not worth saving $8 or something on an Uber.

    • Exactly. Until the Uber business model falls apart, a single streetcar line that’s not easily connected to other public transportation will be worse than useless.

      That being said, I hope that they continue to build the planned network, AS LONG AS they build them with a dedicated, separated, lane.

  • I’m offended by the #choochoo hashtag. Trains, not trolleys, go choo choo. It’s like the DC government is advertising their incompetence. It EXUDES: We DGAF!

  • I plan on taking it to Union Station, and Kaiser pretty often. For those fans of the X 2 and X 9, they don’t connect to Union Station either.

  • I already take the X2 to Chinatown every morning. If I can cut money off of my commute cost by taking the (for now) free streetcar and transferring at Union Station, I’ll ride it every day. Basically, as long as it’s cheaper than the X2 for the foreseeable future, I’ll use it to get anywhere on H St from my place off of Benning.

  • If it had gone all the way to Union Station I could see taking it occasionally since my office is north of Union Station and I might for some reason want to go to H street, not have my bike with me, and find a streetcar before a bus arrived. Since it doesn’t go all the way to Union Station I don’t see any use in it for me. I go to H Street as a destination maybe once a year as is and a streetcar isn’t going to change the fact that it’s a bit out of the way and hard to get to since the street car doesn’t go anywhere I’d be coming from!

  • Nope. I’ll ride the X2 and wave as I pass everyone in the streetcar

  • I didn’t vote because my “probably not” answer was not an option. I typically drive on the weekends, the only time I would ever go to the H street area. And I enjoy walking. The stretch of streets that the streetcar covers would not compel me to ride it just to visit two different businesses on the same day.

  • I’m sticking to the X2, but looking forward to a less crowded bus when people start taking the streetcar while it’s free.

    Also – am I the only one that doesn’t get the ChooChoo 7 hashtag? It’s a streecar not a train & what’s the 7? This is a genuine question.

  • Looking forward to seeing the selfies with 30 seated passengers and 120 standees, the capacity that DDOT claimed to demonstrate that this provided better transportation than simply having more frequent bus service along this route, which would also allow passengers to continue on to the destinations that they want to reach. It would also be interesting to see what the dwell time at each stop would be if the streetcar is carrying this capacity load, especially when they start collecting fares, so there either is entry through the front door only, or extra staff going up and down the aisle to make certain everyone pays.

  • From http://www.dcstreetcar.com/riding/fares/:

    “Additional payment options will become available as DC Streetcar joins other local and regional transit operators like WMATA in implementing a new and advanced fare collection system. Because the transition is expected within a few years of the streetcar’s launch, SmarTrip is not payment method for streetcar fare.”

    Seriously? If WMATA’s new fare collection system were imminent, as in any time within the year, this might make sense, but WTF? At least they’re consistent with not connecting to Metro.

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