WASHINGTON — People working at National Harbor or looking to gamble at the new casino opening there later this year should have a new, more direct way to get there.
The Metro Board Finance Committee approved a nine-month test of a new bus route connecting National Harbor, Oxon Hill Park and Ride, Alexandria and Huntington on Thursday.
James Hamre, who leads planning, scheduling and customer facilities for Metrobus, calls it “a project that has been a decade in the making.”
Service would start in October to and from Huntington Metro Station in Fairfax County, the Carlyle area of Alexandria, King Street Metro and Prince George’s County. Hamre and Metro Board members believe the route, which will be called the NH2, will easily meet the criteria to become permanent. Typically that means a minimum of 18 riders per hour of service.
In addition to funding from Fairfax County, Alexandria and Maryland, a portion of the costs will be covered by National Harbor’s developer, the Peterson Companies, since they will be able to end an employee shuttle service.
Given the base of employees, Hamre projects about 170,000 riders will use the new route over the nine-month test period.
“We’re very excited in Prince George’s County about this service coming on-line,” Metro Board member Malcolm Augustine said.
“It’s just a very difficult trip as it stands right now,” he pointed out.
The only Metrobus service to National Harbor today is the NH1 from Branch Avenue, which requires people coming from or going to Virginia to take a train into D.C., transfer to the Green Line, then switch to the bus. The only other option for most people is to join traffic on the Wilson Bridge.