So, we can all basically agree that DDOT rolled out the Circulator in a pretty ham-handed fashion. Despite the fact that the takeover of the Blue Bus was well known to be coming, there was no official word coming from DDOT or the Circulator website (which, for what it’s worth, is registered to the Downtown Business District Corp., so perhaps they control it).
But more troubling is the sudden change of the old route. As you may be able to tell from above, the Union Station-Georgetown route now stays enters Georgetown on K St. before turning up Wisconsin towards M. This change has some benefits but a lot of drawbacks. (As previously discussed, the new route mirrors the old Blue Bus route but removes a couple stops including the stop in front of the Marriott).
The Benefits: It will get you to Georgetown a bit faster. M St. (particularly on weekends and during evening rush) gets pretty backed up going westbound. Staying on K will avoid that (although K St. itself, particularly just west of Washington Circle, can get bad itself). Second, some argue this will avoid the confusion an redundancy of running two Circulators along the same road.
The Drawbacks: Getting to east Georgetown from downtown will be more difficult. You either have to transfer to another bus or walk all the way up from M. Also, Penn and 24th is a very popular place for people to pick up the Circulator to Georgetown; that stop is gone. Finally, splitting the line up like this will add confusion and tourists will likely struggle with it.
Maybe the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, and people’s behavior will adjust to the new routes (wouldn’t an effective communications campaign been a good way to start that off?), but at least initially it seems people aren’t too happy with the changes.
And it goes without saying (but of course GM will go ahead and say it) that involving, or at least informing, the community before making this decision was the least that DDOT should have done. Maybe they took away a lesson from last year’s attempted route change that notifying the community will only result is headaches. GM definitely hopes that’s not it, but it’s a definite possibility.
6 responses to “Where the Circulator Goes Now”
Not in favor of the rerouting to K. It helps to have M as the “designated” bus corridor. It’s easier to explain to people that you just need to go to M to find the bus. Start modifying that by saying “well it depends on what direction, because there is another bus on K” and their eyes start to roll back in their head and they go into palpitations. Sure, the veterans of transit are adaptable by nature. It’s the casual rider and tourist that this will mess with.
I know M is crowded, and it might be the busiest bus segment in the city.
And while this is about “Georgetown” the changes have made it harder to get to Trader Joes as well.
Yeah, all of the passengers on my WB Circulator Monday afternoon (including me) were unaware of the change and the driver ended up stopping at a non-stop right after the circle just to let a bunch of us off.
I wish they would keep the old route on Penn long enough to still go by Trader Joes. But I guess by that point it would be impossible for the bus to get back onto K.
I agree with the commenters regarding the downsides of the change of route on entering Georgetown — it was much better entering on M Street because that is more centrally located than K Street. From M, you can get quickly to the Four Seasons and points north and south of M; from K Street, you pretty much have to walk north unless you are going to the harbor. For commuters who who work downtown and live in the east village, this is a loss in convenience.
Moving the route to K is a non-starter for me. The convenience factor goes up in flames.
All the Metrobus 30 routes stop at 24th and Penn and head where the Circulator used to go. So does the 38B. Wasting more public dollars running yet another bus does not make any sense!
Speeding up service to Georgetown, which the change does, makes the whole line more reliable.
Thumbs up DDOT.