So long, Blue Bus — we hardly knew thee.
Actually, many of us knew it well, especially those with a penchant for riding Metro and who are so over the walk to Foggy Bottom. In that case, it’s a safe bet you’re pretty familiar with the slot-machine jingle of coins in the fare box and the bumpy, trundling ride of what sometimes seemed like a giant Advil mounted on axles. Whatever your thoughts on its aesthetics, though, you just couldn’t beat the shortcuts by which is swiftly ferried passengers to Rosslyn or Dupont stations.
But, lest anyone start to panic, let’s be clear: this is no eulogy. The Blue Bus, officially known as the Georgetown Metro Connection, is here to stay — it’s just enjoying a slight makeover. Beginning Aug. 29, the popular D.C. Circulator will take over the route, offering greater capacity, support for SmarTrip cards and, well, the little buttons that let passengers open the back doors (you have to admit, they’re pretty cool).
The biggest change, though, is behind the scenes: with the switchover the Georgetown BID, which has tenaciously funded the Blue Bus program since 2001 despite citywide slashes to transportation budgets, will relinquish control of the route to DDOT.
“The Georgetown BID is glad to see that bus service will continue to flow seamlessly through Georgetown between Dupont Circle and Rosslyn, via the new Circulator line,” said John Wiebenson, Deputy Executive Director of Operations for the BID. “The [Blue Bus] has served the community well over the past nine years and we’re happy that commuters and visitors alike will benefit from the integration of the Circulator into this bus line.”
It’s a transition that will, no doubt, be a load off for the BID, but carries with it the risk that the service could later be scrapped entirely if the transit agency deems it too much of a cash drain. Circulator’s route up Wisconsin Avenue, in fact, was given the chop last year before an explosive public outcry forced DDOT to backpedal and reinstate it.
The city is unlikely to try such a bold reduction in spending for a while, at least within the borders of Georgetown. For now, residents can cash in their quarters for SmarTrip credits and ride to their heart’s content. The new Circulator will make stops every 10 minutes at the Rosslyn Metro station, the intersections of M Street and 33rd, Wisconsin and 31st, and several others leading up to Dupont Circle. For the full list, visit www.dccirculator.com.