We Love DC » Blog Archive » Foggy Bottom Metro Line: The scene for my commute yesterday – it took me 10 minutes to get from the platform to the top of the escalator. Sometimes DC is ridiculous – but I have to admit that I haven’t gotten over the excitement of commuting by train.
Remember how I was in love with DC’s mass transit? Today it can suck it.
Item #1: suicidal bus drivers. I have no idea what compels the drivers of the 22A to play NASCAR between the hours of 5pm-7pm, but my ride home has gotten consistently worse, and one of these days I really am going to either get tossed out of my seat entirely or throw up on someone. Really, really sick of it.
Item #2: sinkholes. Shane just waited in the 20mph wind (with gusts up to 35mph) for 45 minutes for a bus that was delayed by a sinkhole that apparently didn’t affect any of the other drivers on the road. He’s on his way home from a conference in Beltsville, MD – about 25 miles away – and it’s easily going to take him two hours to get home.
I’m in Chicago at the moment, in my hotel room on the 15th floor, and in lieu of taking a break from working on handouts, I present you with a short list of things I love about the DC Metro in comparison with the Chicago El, which I spent ~1:20 on this evening.
- No Food And Drink is a giant pain in the ass at times, but it results in MUCH cleaner subway stations and cars.
- (Mostly) Polite drivers announcing the next stop well ahead of time, as well as the current stop, so that even if you’re not staring at a map, you know you are approaching x station. This is especially useful if you’re traveling with a giant red suitcase that is the size of two small children.
- Cell phone reception! Underground! Under the effing Potomac, for that matter! I tried to send a text from the Blue Line today, but no dice until I actually physically exited the station. Now, I know this wouldn’t be an issue if I were above ground – but it’s not an issue, at least where I travel, in DC underground!
- Clear indication in each station when the next train is coming, which train it will be, and how many cars are attached to that particular train.
I know, I know, Chicago’s transit system is massively under-funded. Massively. For me right now, though, it’s just another reason why I’m really not interested in living in Chicago at any time, now or in the future, even though lots of people I love and treasure live or have lived there.
I started my job in the District yesterday, which also means that I started commuting by Metro yesterday. So far the following things have happened in the course of my commute:
- Almost got hit by an SUV while crossing Columbia Pike
- Got on the 16G bus going in the wrong direction
- Saw a roach on the 41 bus
- Lots of stopping and starting on the Orange (kind of like stop-and-start traffic, except on a train)
I assume at some point I’ll get my sea legs and won’t get tossed around in the Metro quite as much – when I was in New York, I envied Erin Fae’s ability to just stand in the aisle and not move, whereas I fell all over the place. It was the same case this morning – with every stop and start, I had to adjust my stance to keep from crashing into the nice woman reading the paper in front of me. I wonder if this has to do with one’s center of gravity – or if perhaps this is some sort of innate thing that comes from years of train-riding. Hmm.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned here how much I enjoy riding the 7:30 bus. At or around 7:30, just about every bus that passes through the Terminal arrives there, crowding in and allowing passengers to change between buses. The drivers get off and say good morning to each other. After a few minutes of shuffling, the buses make their way out in a long winding line, flagged on and out by someone from the MTD. The sight of all the buses lined up and that one guy waving them all off on their way is enough to cheer me up, even on the worst of mornings.