Friday, July 20, 2012

Going Out of the Way for Safety

From Colin:
Friday evening, some friends and I, along with thousands of other people, attended the monthly Truckeroo outside Nationals Park to enjoy fantastic food and mediocre beer, unbeknownst to us that our trip home would take us nearly three hours.

I had no troubles getting to the Navy Yard stop from Van Dorn Street, thanks to the abundance of Rush+ Yellow Line trains, but when we headed into the Metro station shortly before 10 p.m. that night, I had a Skywalker-esque "bad feeling about this" moment.

After waiting 20 minutes for our first train to take us to L'Enfant Plaza, I checked my phone to discover that not only would we be waiting another 20 minutes for our second train towards Huntington, but that we would also have to take a shuttle bus from Pentagon City to Braddock Road due to scheduled track maintenance.

While I would like to point out that closing down essential stations on two lines starting at 10 p.m. on a Friday night is borderline moronic, that, my friends is not the end of the story, nor the most major of inconveniences we experienced that night.

At this point in our travels, we were on track to make our trip from Navy Yard to Van Dorn Street in just about an hour and a half. At Pentagon City, we were ushered without incident onto a waiting shuttle bus and made good time to Crystal City and Reagan National Airport.

However, after leaving Reagan, things went truly pear-shaped.

As it was dark and very difficult to see out of the bus windows, nobody on the full bus realized that our driver had accidentally gotten onto the George Washington Parkway in the northbound direction.

Only after the trip to Braddock Road seemed to be taking way too long did any questions arise, and only after seeing the Potomac and the Lincoln Memorial on our right did we begin consulting our smartphones' GPS programs.

Sure enough, we were on our way toward McLean where perhaps we would get a glimpse of the CIA campus before making our way back home.

After spending a few seconds in disbelief at the blue dot on my Google maps, I yelled up to the bus drive, "Where the hell are we going?" In the following minutes, the rest of the bus came to accept the fact that we had gone more than a half an hour out of the way and plenty of angry comments and some yelling ensued.

Our driver finally turned us around just outside of McLean and brought us circuitously back toward Alexandria where we arrived at the Braddock Road station more than an hour later than we should have.

And here's the icing on the cake. Expecting some comment or apology from the driver, I hovered near the bus (bus number B356) for a second only to hear him quip sarcastically to an offloading passenger, "Hey, safety first, right? That's what's most important."

I'm not exactly sure what his point was and yes, he did avoid crashing the bus, but a simple, "My bad" would have sufficed.

Luckily, our friends who had parked at Braddock Road offered us a ride home rather than allowing us to enter the turnstiles once again, most likely to wait 20 additional minutes for a Blue Line train home.
Other items:
More track work this weekend (WMATA)
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