Going to work this morning

I left home this morning around 8AM planning to go to Medical Center to catch the train to work. I took me 30 mts to get onto I 270. It was 10AM when I reached the Old Georgetown Exit. The traffic was at a snail’s pace and It was still a long way to go to Metro. Finally decided to turn around and it took me 20 mts to get back home. Planning to work from home. Hope you all had a better experience going to work this morning. Good luck on your return home.

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My experience was very similar to yours – agonizing and painfully long (3.5hrs to be precise) but with a positive ending. I left home around 9:30AM and made it to work around 1:00PM. Though the main thoroughfare (Rt 355) was fairly clean and dry, the buses were not stopping at certain stops that they are originally scheduled to stop. After a considerable waiting in the cold, I managed to get on the bus to Medical Center. A snail would have made it a bit faster than the bus we sat on. Packed to the gills, the bus inched its way along Rockville Pike, and the bus driver kept telling folks waiting at many stops that there is no more space for her to load anymore passengers. By the time we got past Grosvenor station, there is absolutely no room and that’s when we saw the train rushing towards Grosvenor station. Everyone in the bus had a gasp because this sight of a train running towards Grosvenor was contrary to what we have heard from the Metro half an hour before. When I checked the WMATA website on my iPhone, it says there is limited service to White Flint!!!

Inching further along Rockville Pike, we finally got closer to NIH/Medical Center. That’s when I got an alert from WMATA warning of potential delays due to derailment. When I called my boss to warn of impending delays everyone heard the conversation and I had to explain to them about what I learned from the WMATA e-notification. You can feel the commuters’ frustrations growing inside the bus and the cellphones come out and people are calling to let their employers know of this new situation on hand with Metro.

When we finally got to Medical Center, we had to wait for 10 minutes to catch the train, which was emptied out at Dupont Circle metro due to the track work to fix the derailment problem from earlier (10:13AM). The entire mass of people sieged the Metro station officer, who informed of the availability of shuttle buses outside Dupont metro exit. Huffing and puffing, we made it to the shuttle, which again moved at snails pace towards Gallery Place China town metro. When I reached the Green Line platforms at Gallery Place, I saw this 10 min. wait for the next Green Line train to Navy Yard. The trains doors were not working properly at stations and somehow we all stumbled to our destinations cursing and regretting for venturing to work.

One thing that stood out in this whole ordeal is that no one had a clue of what’s happening unless they had a smartphone of some kind that can capably receive the alerts and notifications. There was a disabled person in the bus who had absolutely no idea of what’s happening in the Metro until she exited the bus. Poor communications between Metro and regional agencies (in this case, Monto. county RideOn bus system) can put passengers’ travel plans in complete disarray and often causing unwanted delays. Had the bus driver been alerted/informed about the fact that Metro was indeed running trains to Grosvenor and beyond (White Flint) she would have unloaded a lot of people in that bus. No one really wanted to be in the bus anyways and almost 100% of the passengers were forced to endure that agonizing delay along slow moving Rockville Pike just because they were told that Metro will be running trains only from Medical Center.

Long story short, next time something like this happens (not for another 100 years, I guess) we better stay telecommute if that option is available or take a day off and stay home. Hopefully the evening commute is a better one than what we endured this morning. Luckily, we have all weekend to recover and recuperate from this maddening commute. Have a great long weekend everyone.