WASHINGTON – A bus touted as an alternative for commuters during Metro’s round-the-clock track work zone that ends Monday night ended up dropping riders off on the wrong side of the river Monday morning.
The DASH AT4 route is supposed to go from the Braddock Rd. Metro to the Pentagon, but instead one bus carried riders across the Potomac and let most of them off near the Agriculture Department building. The driver apparently missed the exit for the Pentagon.
Rachael Harms, who normally takes Metro into D.C., has been taking the bus to the Pentagon during the most recent shutdown of the Blue and Yellow Lines between Reagan National Airport and Pentagon City.
“The main problem for me was just the lack of communication, because I feel like several passengers were trying to figure out what was going on,” Harms said. “And there was definitely like some concern: Like, is this guy taking us somewhere else? Like, what is going on? He seemed lost but … he wasn’t communicating so that just was unnerving.”
DASH Director of Operations Lorenza Myers said in an email that once the driver missed the Pentagon exits, there was no other way off Interstate 395 from the HOV lanes before crossing the river.
One of the riders on the bus decided to stay on to ride back to the Pentagon, but the others got off near the Smithsonian Metro Station.
The driver will go through retraining and a review of the on-board video of the incident, Myers said, to “determine where the mistake was made, actions that could have been taken, and what could have been done to prevent this from happening.”
Harms said the bus entered I-395 around 8:15 a.m. with many riders focused on their phones.
After the driver passed the usual exit, she said several riders tried to talk to him and there seemed to be directions coming over his radio.
At first, she said she thought the driver might have had information about a crash or traffic that he was trying to avoid.
“After that, it was a lot of the passengers just kind of back and forth saying like: ‘Do you know where we’re going? Does anyone know where we’re going? Why aren’t we getting off here?” she said.
As the bus crossed the bridge after sitting in traffic, she said “people were pretty agitated,” and demanded, “let us off” once the bus reached D.C. streets.
“Finally, people were pushing on the doors so he just pulled the bus over and everyone got off together,” she said.
Tuesday, there is no scheduled rush-hour track work on Metro. On Wednesday, the track work zone shifts to the Orange and Silver Lines, so buses and many train riders at Braddock Road and Pentagon City will return to their usual schedules.
“Bad start to a Monday, but that’s kinda why I’m happy I don’t normally take the bus,” Harms said.
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