A couple of weeks ago, we offered a $52 gift card to Seasons 52 for the most memorable transit story. We received some fascinating entries that range from the icky to the bizarre to the frustrating to the inspiring. And, that sounds about right for the standard transit experience in these parts. Here are some of the entries:
My most memorable Moco transit experience was the 7 hour bus ride home in the snow, when I was 8 yo & we got home at midnight! — Sara
My 70 Express Bus to Germantown broke down on I-270. Twice. On the same trip. — John
I had a doctors appointment in The Rock Springs office park in North Bethesda at 10:30 one morning. I live in downtown Silver Spring and said easy, I’ll take the J2. The route planner said it will take 52 minutes, I gave myself 90 minutes and left at 9am. I guess there was too much rush-hour left because it took 40 minutes for the bus to travel the 3 1/2 miles on east-west highway to Bethesda. I would have saved 10 minutes driving as I’d not have to stop at every stop along the route. After leaving Bethesda and then Medical Ctr metro, the bus before 10 apparently is supposed to turn south, and take Battery Ln to Old Georgetown, this driver went north to Cedar Ln per the non-rush hour route, to find you can’t turn left before 10am. We sat for 15 minutes waiting to turn before the bus decided to just run the red light, of course upsetting a few people on the bus expecting to get off near Old Georgetown and Battery Ln. I ended up being 10 minutes late, so a total of 100 minutes, to travel from Silver Spring to North Bethesda. Safe to say I drive now when I need to get over there! — B. Gull
I believe that my most memorable Montgomery County transit experience involved being offloaded from the Red Line twice in quick succession back in March 2011. — Ben S.
I boarded the Rideon Bus 30 toward Medical Center at Bethesda station. The temperature outside was at least 100 degrees and there was no air conditioning on the bus. After the other riders got off at their stops, I was the only rider remaining. The bus broke down and would not re-start. I did not know where I was. It was too hot to sit on the bus and wait a half hour for the next one to arrive. I was not carrying a cell phone. I got off the bus and flagged down a passing car. The driver was kind enough to go out of her way and take me all of the way home. I offered her a reward and she kindly refused it. — Gail S.
Since moving up to the White Flint area, my worst commute–by far–has to be the blisteringly hot day last summer when there was calamity on the red line during the morning rush. I arrived at the station at approximately 8:30 AM to find it packed with people–never a good sign at a station whose platform is rarely crowded. After waiting only a couple of minutes, a train arrived, and I ran to the end of the train to be able to board it, because the center cars were jammed with people. I squeezed ontot he end car, thinking that I had made it, only to find that the train was sitting…and sitting…and sitting. The car filled with people, and even with the open doors it was suffocating on the train. It was only after sitting at the station for 15 minutes that I learned there had been not one, but two incidents on the line that morning necessitating single-tracking up and down the line. Eventually, the train lurched forward, but had to stop for extended periods at every station, all the while with more and more people attempting to crowd in. By the time we reached Woodley park–one station before my typical exit at Dupont, the train was beyond capacity. And so, of course, we learn that the train must sit at the Station for an undetermined amount of time before proceeding. I’d had it by that point, so I exited the station and began the walk down Connecticut, across the Taft Bridge, and on into Dupont Circle, finally arriving at my office at 10:35 AM, hot, sweaty, tired and grumpy, and a full 2 hours after I had descended onto the White Flint platform. All I can say is…ugh. — Ben
Our Honorable Mention goes to Terry who writes: I boarded a Red Line train at Silver Spring, heading into DC. Also on the train was an older couple dressed for a formal event. At the Takoma Station, a man got on the train who looked homeless and was agitated. He was talking to himself and got louder and louder as he walked around the train. The older man in the tuxedo got up and went to him, introduced himself and started to talk to him in a calm voice and respectful way. The older man got the homeless man to sit with him on the sideways facing seat and chat. You could feel the energy in the homeless man melting away. By the time we reached the next stop, they were happily and calmly talking like old friends. The homeless man got up, said his goodbyes, and exited the train in a much better state than he’d boarded it in. I know this was a comparatively small event, but I really admire what the man in the tuxedo did. Most of us would hunch down and avoid eye contact. He didn’t. He treated the homeless man with dignity, cut off an escalating scene in the train, and helped the homeless man to feel better.
And our WINNER of a $52 Gift Card to Seasons 52 is Cara who writes: My most memorable transit experience in Montgomery County was taking the bus to the hospital the day my son was born. My husband and I live near the Whole Foods Rockville, and had planned to take the 5 bus to Holy Cross Hospital. But the J5 came first and we were afraid we might have missed the 5, so we took that instead of waiting. It was snowing that day and, as usual, any driving on the Beltway during snow felt like a life-threatening experience, but we arrived in Silver Spring safely. About a mile of walking later we arrived at the hospital and later that day welcomed an 8 lb, 10oz baby boy.
Trusting transit, in the snow, to get you to the hospital in time? Now, that’s memorable! Thanks for playing everyone — keep an eye out for another opportunity to win something fun from our White Flint partners!