Guest Author - Donna Ledbetter
Earlier this summer, the Washington, DC metro red line experienced a horrific two-train crash between the Fort Totten and Takoma Park metro stations. Several lives were lost, causing the story to make national headlines. After much investigation, reports confirm that the crash was the result of an automated electrical/mechanical failure. Since then, the Washington, DC metro has switched to having its trains manually operated and taking extra caution in navigating trains on the red line.
Metro officials now encourage commuters to factor in an additional 30 minutes to their travel time to account for regular delays. It is advice worth taking both for residents and local travelers. A recent trip on the red yielded 4-minute delays at three stops, turning a 5-minute commute between stations into a 20-minute journey. However, given the nature of traffic in Washington, DC, the metro and other forms of public transport are the fastest and easiest ways to get around. That means making better use of available buses and commuter lines.
For information on how to convert your metro trip to a bus trip, simply log on to MetroOpensDoors.com and go to the trip planner. You will have the option to select a trip using only metro, only bus, or both. You can also include your desired departure or arrival time, but the system will not factor in delays.
An alternative to the trip planner is the NextBus tool, but it only works if you already know the bus number and/or route you want to take. This system gives you a real-time estimate of when the next bus will arrive by using GPS technology to track the buses. You can either call in a number or go online, enter your bus information, and find the next arrival time.
If you have access to a PDA, you can also download the trip planner and NextBus applications to your phone. There is a next train application as well that is not available online.
Voice Activated System
Finally, if you prefer the assistance of a human over your PDA or Internet connection, you can call 202-637-7000. This is a voice activated system.