Fixes proposed for full buses on 16th Street line

After one bus passed them by, riders were able to board the S2 during rush hour on 16th St. Friday. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

WASHINGTON – A busy commuter line for Metro bus riders is becoming more and more of a hassle as full buses pass riders by at the stops.

Waiting at a bus stop at P and 16th streets, a full Metro bus passes right by Connie Rineheart.

“Well, during rush hour that happens quite often,” she says.

Rineheart chalks it up to rush hour. But some riders are complaining of being late to work because buses are full of passengers by the time they reach their stop, and can’t pick them up.

“You have to work late and you get off and you’re tired and you’re standing here at the stop and the buses keep going. It’s very frustrating,” says Khadijah Hill, who rides the 16th Street line to and from work everyday.

More and more commuters are choosing this bus line to get to work – 1,000 more riders than last year, says Dupont Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kishan Putta.

He says he was surprised when Metro agreed to provide a short service from Columbia Road to downtown to ease the rider congestion on 16th Street.

“It was a very much needed bandage, but a bandage that has outgrown its use because so many new people are riding the buses,” Putta says.

The 16th Street line is one of the longest in the city, and a new transportation survey from Metro shows while buses are only 3 percent of the traffic along 16th, they move 50 percent of the people using it.

In response to this, Putta suggested to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board on Thursday that they consider four options to help the line:

  • Add more buses
  • Add longer buses
  • Add managers to patrol lines
  • Create a designated bus lane along 16th Street

Hill is in favor of more buses, as she rides the S9 Express bus and thinks longer buses would slow her trip.

“When they are full, they are full. You can’t pile more people on. That’s a hazard to the driver and the riders,” she says.

She thinks adding more buses will improve reliability and ease customer frustration.

Putta plans to put the options before the board to be included in its 2015 upcoming budget hearings.

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