Who needs GUTS when you have the D?
Last week, we discussed some Georgetown residents' opposition to GUTS buses running along Reservoir or Q Streets through the Georgetown neighborhood. They want Georgetown to route the shuttle along a 4.7-mile circuitous route on Foxhall, Canal, the Whitehurst, K, and New Hampshire Avenue instead of the current 1.8-mile, more direct route.
But why does Georgetown need a shuttle from campus to Dupont Circle at all? Right now, there's a bus that goes right from the Reservoir Road side of campus to the same intersection of 21st and Q that GUTS uses: the D3 and D6 buses. The route is identical, except the D buses stop on Reservoir instead of looping around Lot A just inside campus.
Blue: Current Dupont GUTS route. Green: D3, D6 route. Orange: Afternoon/evening alternate Dupont GUTS route. Red: Proposed Dupont GUTS route. View larger map.
As Jasper pointed out on a different thread, in many cases yellow school buses duplicate the same routes as transit buses. That's wasteful, since most people can't hop on a yellow bus even if it's going exactly where they need to go and isn't full. Likewise, a person going from Dupont Circle to Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown can't take the GUTS bus, since it doesn't stop on Wisconsin and they're not allowed to ride GUTS.
We could improve transit for all if Georgetown applied the money it spends on the Georgetown-Dupont route to WMATA to add service to the D3 and D6, and subsidize students' rides on them. If the D buses stop too often along the way, we could even create a D9 express bus. Most of the people coming from Sibley don't need to stop at every block along Q, either, so the D9 could run local from Sibley to Georgetown and then express from there. Besides, the GUTS schedule estimates a 15 minute trip from Georgetown University to Dupont Circle, while the WMATA schedule actually claims it's even less than that.
Plus, the D3 and D6 also continue on to E Street very close to Georgetown Law. An express D9 could go there after stopping at key spots, such as Metro stations, downtown; students do sometimes go to downtown DC as well. There isn't a bus route that duplicates GUTS' Wisconsin Avenue route as closely, but if WMATA just ran the GUTS shuttles, other riders along Wisconsin could benefit.
Georgetown isn't entirely stupid; according to the Georgetown Voice, they've thought about this:
Besides rerouting most of its 29 GUTS buses, the University is looking to reduce their numbers by potentially replacing them with Circulator buses that would stop closer to campus and encouraging use of other WMATA buses. (Keep in mind that both make additional stops and neither is free.)Not all residents share Lewis's view. If the GUTS buses driving on Q became public ones available to all, and stopped at Wisconsin and other major places, then residents and shoppers in Georgetown would benefit even without more vehicles having to drive on Q. Georgetown students, faculty, staff and visitors, neighborhood residents and visitors would all get more options. Georgetown should to start thinking of its buses beyond just "get[ting] people on and off campus." If they do, they might devise a transportation system for the University and the neighborhood that almost everyone can enthusiastically support.
[Georgetown ANC Commissioner Ron] Lewis said this was not a desirable solution if it meant that WMATA would increase the number of buses running through the neighborhood. A University administrator stressed that it was only a suggestion, and that coming up with a plan suitable to neighborhood residents was difficult because, "we haven't looked at these buses ever any other way than the way we get people on and off campus."
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