Under the headline "Banishing buses to L'Enfant," GreaterGreaterWashington.com's David Alpert reports:
DDOT is planning to force all low-cost bus carriers, like Bolt Bus, DC2NY, and the Chinatown buses to stop loading in Chinatown and at various other spots around the city (a few pick up in Dupont Circle), reports the Examiner (via DCist). Instead, all buses will have to load and unload at a special zone at 10th and D Southwest, right by the L'Enfant Metro. This seems like a terrible idea.He also rightly points out, "At L'Enfant, there's nothing." Seriously, it's a dead land.
As a native New Jerseyan, I've traveled often from DC to the New Jersey/New York area. When I was a student at GW, to save money I took the bus. I remember the long slogs via metro to Union Station and then carrying my heavy bags from there to the Greyhound station several blocks away in a rather desolate part of town. When my trip back to DC would arrive late at night, walking several blocks in that desolate area didn't feel very safe. (Since then, I've noticed that buses make an extra stop at Union Station, eliminating the walk--though you still get a better seat if you get on the bus at the main station.)
These days, I mostly take the train or drive. With Amtrak's financial problems, their prices have gone up and up--veering me toward driving when I don't need to do work on the train. But now with record-high gas prices, the cost incentive to drive is nearly eliminated.
It was a huge breakthrough moment when I came across the new bus service DC2NY, which runs buses from DC to NY for $30 or less, with wireless Internet service, and which leaves from Dupont Circle! What convenience! (They even pamper you with free bottled water, and take a vote about whether to have a movie.) No longer do I need to slog my bags on a metro, then walk to a station, wait, and check in--I merely walk a few blocks to Dupont and board the bus. And the neighborhood is totally full of people, very safe.
Dupont is also quite proximate to GW. If I were still a student, I'd much rather go there than Union Station. Or, as an activist-type, I'd probably run a campaign urging people to contact DC2NY, asking them to make a stop at GW! At least around breaks when lots of students go home.
DC's proposed new policy would cut off all flexibility and convenience--dooming travelers who want to be cost-efficient to go to desolate areas of town, and dooming creative business types like the DC2NY crew from figuring out new markets and matching demand with supply. I almost wonder if someone in the government is friends with a businessperson in L'Enfant and was lobbied to bring travelers there against their will.
Anyway, David Alpert has set up a new Facebook group to protest this potential decision. Multiple people have joined while I was writing this post--obviously it's a hot cause. Hopefully, smarter heads will prevail at DDOT.