Metro rolls out more buses for crowded 16th Street

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Local,Liz Essley,Metro,Metro and Traffic

Metro is rolling out new bus service Monday on the busy 16th Street corridor in an effort to relieve crowding and cut down on long wait times.

Commuters along 16th Street Northwest, which connects midtown D.C. with popular neighborhoods including Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, have complained that they have had to wait in the cold as bus after bus, stuffed full with passengers, passed their stops. The problem gets worse on the southern end of the corridor, where S-line buses arrive already loaded with commuters from neighborhoods as far north as Silver Spring.

"People in rush hour have been waiting in the cold for 30 minutes," said Kishan Putta, a Dupont Circle advisory neighborhood commissioner who campaigned at bus stops and heard countless complaints from constituents about the problem.

The problem was so bad that taxis would prowl the street's bus stops, ready to offer rides to those passed up by the bus, Putta said.

"A bus would go by completely full, and people would be standing there throwing their arms up, and a taxi driver would honk his horn and pull over, and one or two people would get in," Putta said.

But Metro recently promised more buses for the morning rush hour, adding nine southbound trips for a total of 66 trips along the street on weekdays from 7:30 to 9:15 a.m.

The new buses will service the southern part of the corridor, between Harvard and H streets.

"Because the buses will start service at Harvard Street NW, passengers at bus stops south of Mount Pleasant should find it easier to find room to board," Metro officials said in a statement.

Community members met with Metro in January, and Putta said he emailed the agency about every other day, urging them to come up with a solution. He's happy with the one they found, saying he expects the nine new trips to carry about 500 more people.

"I think a lot of people who have given up on the buses because of that will want to come back to the buses," Putta said. "And that will be more revenue from Metro."

lessley@washingtonexaminer.com

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Liz Essley

Staff Writer - Transportation
The Washington Examiner