Greater Greater Washington

G2 bus to Georgetown U won't resume until spring semester

When DDOT's renovation of O and P Streets in Georgetown completed last month, students expected the main Metrobus serving Georgetown University to resume its route to campus. To their surprise, WMATA announced last week that the G2 route will not resume its normal route until December.


P Streeet, NW. Photo by DDOTDC on Flickr.

Under normal circumstances, the G2 follows O and P Streets through the neighborhood all the way to the main gates of Georgetown University, but for the past 18 months it has ended at Wisconsin Avenue.

ANC Commissioner and Georgetown student Jake Sticka said, "This is particularly unfortunate given that the new campus plan bans students from having cars. This is an unexpected hardship for students going to internships in town."

WMATA spokesperson Dan Stessel says that because WMATA believed utility work would continue after the September street renovation, "service restoration was included in the next schedule pick, which is December." Metrobus operators select routes based on seniority in what is known as the pick system.

As it turns out, there is no utility work happening on the G2 route right now. In fact, DDOT won't allow digging on the affected streets for 3 years, unless there's an emergency, to protect the street work that was completed.

Nonetheless the G2 won't go to the university until December, because restoration wasn't in the schedule pick.

Stessel says "no one should be surprised, as this is what we said we would do all along." Some ANC commissioners, though, said they don't recall hearing of any delay.

Communication with residents was a source of frustration in the early months of the O & P renovation project. DDOT responded with a website and other improved communication to help residents change their routines to avoid construction hassles.

Without the G2 bus, students and university employees can get to Dupont Circle using the University-provided GUTS shuttle and the D2 and D6 Metrobuses. These routes pick up from the west and north ends of campus. That's a good walk from the classrooms on the east end of campus and from the off-campus housing where many students live.

Ken Archer is CTO of a software firm in Tysons Corner. He commutes to Tysons by bus from his home in Georgetown, where he lives with his wife and son. Ken completed a Masters degree in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America. 

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Very odd. They could just have the G2 follow the D6 route and terminate at Georgetown Hospital. I think WMATA is forgetting that the G2 isn't just an intern bus; there are some working-class people who rely on it to get to their jobs over at Georgetown.

by Tom Veil on Oct 4, 2012 3:39 pm • linkreport

Without the G2 bus, students and university employees can get to Dupont Circle using the University-provided GUTS shuttle and the D2 and D6 Metrobuses. These routes pick up from the west and north ends of campus. That's a good walk from the classrooms on the east end of campus and from the off-campus housing where many students live.

Good thing, then, that the neighbors have prevailed upon the University repeatedly to modify the Dupont GUTS route to make it as circuitous and inconvenient as possible. New to the current campus plan is the stipulation that once DDOT allows a left turn onto Canal Road from campus during rush hour, all GUTS buses will be required to enter/exit campus via Canal Road. The Dupont GUTS will have to take Whitehurst Freeway and a route through the Foggy Bottom/Dupont area from the south that will turn it into a potentially 30-40 minute trip during rush hour, compared to the 12-15 minute ride it is now.

Thanks, neighbors!

by Dizzy on Oct 4, 2012 3:45 pm • linkreport

Tom,

The issue isn't that there's no viable route for the buses to go. It is that the bus drivers picked that route on the assumption that it would only be so long/time-consuming/difficult. The preferences of bus drivers holding seniority cannot be compromised by something as piddling as the needs of the riding public. What do you think Metro is, a public service?

by Dizzy on Oct 4, 2012 3:47 pm • linkreport

"the new campus plan bans students from having cars."

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.] Register your car in DC if it is so important. There is no ban, simply a very basic requirement. If you choose not to do so, got bus/metro/bike share. [Deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by flanagan on Oct 4, 2012 3:49 pm • linkreport

As a GU employee who takes metrobus to campus from Dupont in the morning, I am a little frustrated by this, but it's only a few block walk from the D2/D3/D6 to campus, so not a huge deal.

There are actually two larger issues. The first being lack of a consolidated stop on the Dupont side. The only place D2/D3/D6/G2 stop together is at 22nd & P, so you have to choose whether to wait for the G2 or not. NextBus helps a bit with this. The other thing is D2/D3/D6 are very, very bunched in the morning, with all 3 frequently running in a line. I think this is scheduling, not traffic causing it. Also very frustrating when you miss them, because it's 10 minutes until the next one.

by kstne on Oct 4, 2012 3:51 pm • linkreport

@flanagan

... register your car in DC if it is so important to you. There is no ban, simply a very basic requirement. If you choose not to do so, got bus/metro/bike share.

I'm not sure how "registering in DC" is relevant. Read the language in the Campus Plan:

Subject to reasonable, very limited exceptions, all Traditional Undergraduate Program students (as defined in Condition 9) shall be prohibited from bringing cars to campus or parking their cars on the street in Georgetown, Burleith, and Foxhall. Violations of the revised parking policy will be part of the Code of Conduct.

Nothing in there about registering your car in DC.

by Dizzy on Oct 4, 2012 4:05 pm • linkreport

@flanagan: Hey John! If only it were that simple! Alas, it isn't. To quote from the proposed conditions adopted by the Zoning Commission:

"All Traditional Undergraduate Program students (as defined in Condition 9) shall be prohibited from bringing cars to campus or parking their cars on the street in Georgetown, Burleith, and Foxhall. Violations of the revised parking policy will be part of the Code of Conduct."

Doesn't matter if you register with DC to satisfy the recently passed RPP modification, you still can't park in 20007.

by Jake Sticka on Oct 4, 2012 4:07 pm • linkreport

I don't understand. Why is it a big deal for the G2 to continue five more blocks now that the construction is over? If the road is open, drive on it. It's not like it's a new route. Have the drivers forgotten their way? This sounds like the epitome of bureaucratic bullshit. "Oh we're not scheduled to resume that for three more months, so there's nothing we can do about it until then."

by Marian Berry on Oct 4, 2012 4:15 pm • linkreport

No need to be rude, Mr. Flanagan...especially when you're in the wrong.

by Georgetown Student on Oct 4, 2012 4:40 pm • linkreport

The line for the GUTS bus is around the block at 8AM - the demand is certainly there.

Let it also be said that the G2 has got to be one of the slowest buses out there. Going around both Dupont and Logan circles - not the best routing. I wonder how adding this additional leg will impact headways.

by Ben on Oct 4, 2012 4:45 pm • linkreport

I think it is a shame that the G2 won't be resuming its normal route until the end of the year. I would also note that, in addition to students with internships and university/hospital employees, there are many school of continuing studies programs which are housed on the undergraduate campus at Georgetown. For many, the G2 was a means of reaching campus for their night classes.

There are clearly other public transit options, although less convenient to these portions of campus. I'll be very happy when this service finally resumes.

by WL on Oct 4, 2012 4:46 pm • linkreport

How is not a violation of equal protection under the law to be prohibited from parking on a public street because of who you are? (the campus is another matter)

by Kolohe on Oct 5, 2012 6:24 am • linkreport

students and university employees can get to Dupont Circle using the University-provided GUTS shuttle and the D2 and D6 Metrobuses. These routes pick up from the west and north ends of campus.

Crocodile tears from the ANC, because that same ANC has forced the GUTS shuttles to take massive detours. It's one thing to openly oppose everything that GU wants. It's another thing to laugh in their faces when you achieve what you want.

@ flanagan:Register your car in DC if it is so important.

To register a car, you need to own it. A lot of students loan a car from their parents. And that's aside from the fact that it would not matter as others have pointed out.

by Jasper on Oct 5, 2012 8:08 am • linkreport

While this is the usual poor communication and anti-customer attitude we've come to expect from WMATA and Dan Stessel, it's really ATU 689 we have to thank for this. Union work rules really hamper WMATA's ability to be flexible on scheduling.

Note: I support unions in principle, but unions like ATU 689 give organized labor a bad name.

by Phil on Oct 5, 2012 8:47 am • linkreport

At most transit systems significant construction detours are initiated and terminated at the "picks" that occur 3 or 4 times a year. This is true at WMATA and other transit systems. Significant route detours have schedule implications and can't easily be changed in between picks. For operational efficiency and because the labor agreements require it, significant route changes need to happen at picks.

by steve strauss on Oct 5, 2012 11:21 am • linkreport

Thanks for clearing this up, Steve. I thought the article's treatment of the cause of this was misleading. It has very little to do with the pick process and the union work rules. It has everything to do with the fact that Metro only changes its schedules 4 times per year and this is a significant schedule change that will increase running time and influence how buses are allocated to this route versus others, etc.

Metrobus is a vast, complicated network where every resource is meticulously scheduled, including the deadhead trips to and from the garages to the starts and ends of routes. While the frustrations with schedule adherence make Metrobus often feel like a free-for-all for riders waiting for late buses, schedules do exist, and cover every second the bus is out of the garage. It is simply not possible to implement a change to this complex web every time a street reopens after a construction project ahead of schedule.

by MDE on Oct 5, 2012 12:26 pm • linkreport

@MDE

Reasons why I don't buy that:

1. A whole slate of bus schedule changes just went into effect October 1. It has been clear that the project would be finished by mid-September for quite awhile now.

2. What is required here is not some complex re-engineering of the schedules, with many attendant follow-on effects, but merely a reversion to the previously existing schedule. A return to the status quo should be much simpler, since all of those timings, coordinations, etc. already existed.

3. As best I can tell, the only real schedule adjustment that went into the curtailed G2 was having the bus idle at its new terminus (Wisconsin and Dumbarton, outside of Five Guys) for the length of time that it would've taken the G2 to complete its original loop to 37th Street and back (about 5-6 minutes). So the actual adjustment should be very simple - just get rid of this idling time!

by Dizzy on Oct 5, 2012 1:13 pm • linkreport

If it was only that simple. If it was a smaller system, it could be in fact an easy fix. However the pick of bus routes would mean an entire section of routes would have to be picked by drivers. One thing that could have helped would have been if DDOT knew at the time the pick occurs (which could happen up to two months before the schedule change) that construction would have been completed, then you can effectively return G2 to normal operations. Union work rules are at play unfortunately...but the timing of construction update/completion and then the drivers would have to pick these routes out of the garage (or section) that the G2 is in probably was not fully known. As for the issues with the ANC...can't speak on those.

by Will on Oct 5, 2012 5:01 pm • linkreport

I agree with @Dizze. Bus route detours occur all the time. I don't understand why WMATA can't just "detour" the G2 route back to the university to get it away from the Five Guys. Riders are now inconvenienced due to poor communication and planning between WMATA and DDOT. Someone dropped the ball. That's fine, oversights happen, life goes on..., but there needs to be some flexibility to correct this sort of thing.

by Transport. on Oct 5, 2012 5:51 pm • linkreport

@ Transport: Someone dropped the ball.

Absolutely not. Georgeotown (the neighborhood) got exactly what it wanted: less bus service to GU. After all, Georgetown is a quiet neighborhood in a rural area of the country.

by Jasper on Oct 6, 2012 6:26 pm • linkreport

So there's no confusion, I'm a different person from "flanagan."

Anyway, more to the point, in an e-mail to me back in July James Hamre, Director of Bus Planning at the Metro Board said, "The G2 will be returned to its regular route when construction on O and P Streets is completed and the roadway is restored, which is expected to occur in fall 2012."

by John Flanagan on Oct 7, 2012 5:53 pm • linkreport

The O and P St construction/restoration/reonnovation was a stupid project, anyway. The city wasted a tremendous amount of money and time to keep some antiquated cobbles and rails. I'm sure the neighbors like the benefit of pretending that they live in a small town in the 60s, but they got it at a huge cost for everyone else. Those roads are virtually impassible on a bike. That construction shut down a main public transit connection. That construction was more expensive that a normal asphalt paving operation.

The GU-Neighbor spat is irritating to watch. I feel really badly for the students caught in the middle of this nonsense. And stuff like this (getting the city to spend a ton of money on them while inconveniencing everyone else) really just makes the neighbors look bad.

by Ronald on Oct 8, 2012 9:53 am • linkreport

The Georgetown neighborhood gentry is 100% on board with this and would rather the G2 never traverse their village strets west of Wisc.

Less riff-raff, you see..

by Dane on Oct 8, 2012 2:33 pm • linkreport

Geez -- I just realized that they rebuilt the road with "rails", but not with REAL rails (no streetcar coming back here). Fakery is wasteful. The cobblestones will last a long time, so there's something to be said for that.

by Nathanael on Oct 9, 2012 5:21 pm • linkreport

Any thoughts on the best way to appeal this to get WMATA's attention? I know there's a G'town student petition (thanks, John Flanagan), but if calling a certain office or writing to a particular person is going to make more waves, I'd rather do that (and try to get my fellow Georgetown grad students on board as well).

by Martha on Oct 10, 2012 9:30 am • linkreport

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