In breaking entertainment-related news: the H Street Shuttle Bus will cease operations this Sunday. The bus provided free service from Gallery Place to the up-and-coming Atlas District.
Managed by the H Street Business Cooperative and operated by U Street Parking and Transportation, the shuttle had been being funded through a grant from the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, but that money has since disappeared, according to Patrick Stewart, co-founder of the cooperative and former director of the Atlas Performing Arts Center.As everyone in the world will point out, the H Street Shuttle exactly duplicated the X2 Metrobus route, and overlapped a bit with the 90 buses as well. On paper there was no possible justification to spend taxpayer money on this shuttle bus. That's because it's difficult to put on paper that white people are afraid of riding on the X2. I ride on city buses a lot, but the rowdiness of the X2 is a bit unnerving at times, and sometimes people get shot at the bus stops. However, I'm not about to ask the city to pay for a completely separate Yuppie People Mover just because I'm afraid to ride on the bus with the 'scary' black people. If I don't want to ride on the bus that's already been provided for me, then I'll take a cab. If I have enough disposable income to be trekking from some other part of the city to H Street NE for a night of drinking, I can afford the cab ride from Gallery Place.
"It is a pretty big disappointment," Stewart said.
Why should people going to bars be given a special transportation system? What about the other people who have to ride on the X2 to get to and/from their jobs or grocery shopping? I'm sure they don't exactly enjoy riding on a bus full of loud people being rowdy, rude and sometimes violent. Let's have some undercover transit police ride on the X2 route every few days and make some visible arrests and get the message out that harassment, fare jumping, etc are not permitted. The answer to "the X2 is scary" isn't "have the city pay for another bus."
If DDOT wants to spend money on this route, let's talk about expanding the Circulator. Have it duplicate the streetcar route so people get used to where the stops will be. Let's spend those dollars on something that can serve both the 'party-goers' and the people who live near H Street. As it stood, the H Street Shuttle smacked a bit of "separate but totally not equal at all."
So for those of you up-in-arms about the ceasing of this bus line, I bestow to you the WIHDC's Smallest Violin award.
Besides, what does any of this matter? The people going to the H Street bars all drive their cars from Northern Virginia anyway.