DC experiments with new, innovative transit options

The District is beginning some experiments with new options for public transportation.

Launching in some of the District’s trendiest and busiest neighborhoods, the city has announced a new partnership with Circuit aimed at improving transit and mobility in the area around the Southwest waterfront. Circuit offers on-demand mini shuttle service using electric vehicles — many of them built like oversized golf carts — to provide that first and last mile of transportation.

In D.C., you’ll see them start transporting people around the National Mall and Tidal Basin to the north and west, to the areas around Audi Field and the Navy Yard.

“We’re excited to see what you might do here,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “D.C. residents are going to continue to challenge us with big ideas about what we could do here in Southwest that we may implement across the District of Columbia.”

Currently, Circuit operates in several cities including Chicago, Boston and Miami, and across eight states. It uses local drivers who work directly for the company to provide on-demand transport through its mobile app.

Steve Moore, the executive director of the SW Business Improvement District, echoed city leaders saying the Southwest waterfront area is the perfect opportunity to experiment.

“The L’Enfant station serves five Metro lines, and if you add VRE daily — that’s larger than Union Station by 10,000 riders a day,” said Moore.

Before the pandemic hit, the intersection of 9th and Maine Ave SW was the second busiest pickup and drop off point that Lyft served in the region, Moore added.

“There’s really a lot of activity here,” said John Falcicchio, the deputy mayor for economic development. “What we want to do is make sure … that people get to visit these amenities and know how to get from Point A to Point B, have an enjoyable time, and make sure they come back again and again.”

“What we find works here, we’re going to take to other neighborhoods too, to make sure that those residents get access to that same great mobility option and those same great mobility options and those same great amenities and job opportunities as well,” he added.

The service is expected to begin by next spring.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up