DC pulls funding for Privileged People Transit System to H Street NE

Patrick Stewart reacts to some bad news.

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.

From DCist:
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.

"It is a pretty big disappointment," Stewart said.

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.

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.


  1. Don't they have ipods loaded with Nickleback to block out the rowdiness. Ride the bus like the rest of us! There are usually three clustered together waiting to serve you.

  2. Well, they ARE building a street car line along the street. So that will serve both crowds. So some of this will be moot in a couple of years. But in the meantime, I think expanding the circulator is a fine idea.

  3. "in a couple of years"

    HAHAHAHAHA!! Oh, that's a good one. "A couple of years"... in DC!! Hahahahahahaha. (heehee)

  4. I've never ridden either the X2 or the H Street Shuttle, but if one was free and the other costs money, I can see why people would be upset... I always prefer something free over something that costs money :) Did it stop between the Atlas District and Gallery Place, or just a direct route between the two? What days/times did it run?

  5. As someone who works on H St NE, I just wanted to jump in and make a few points about the shuttle.

    1. While the shuttle does serve many of the same stops on H Street as the X2, the fact that its route runs from 7th and H NW and does not make another stop until 5th and H NE is HUGE. It cuts travel time roughly in half.

    2. People assume that the shuttle is only used by people coming to drink on H Street but this is false. Many of our staff and customers live near the H Street NE corridor and use the shuttle as a way to get to Chinatown for metro access or to patronize the area bars and restaurants as well as attend events at the Verizon Center and other venues near Chinatown/Gallery Place.

    3. As someone that rides buses with great frequency (at least 6-8 times/week), I can say that the shuttle is often a much better option to get from NW DC to H Street and the surrounding area. It's more punctual than the X2 or the 90 buses by far. One of our staff members lives a 20 minute walk from where we work on H Street and has walked the entire way during morning rush hour several times without a single X2 bus coming by during the time he was walking along the bus route. Numerous people I know have waited nearly an hour for an X2 bus at night trying to get back to the metro.

    4. The area is not as well-served by cabs as many neighborhoods in NW. I've had many nights where it has taken me 20 minutes standing outside to get a cab back home at 11pm and I've often called for a cab and had them finally call me to let me know a cab is on the way 40 minutes later after I'd already sourced another ride home.

    So maybe we're not quite Georgetown or Dupont and therefore can't generate the same numbers of ridership, but as long as the streets are a wreck from construction and it takes the X2 half an hour to go ten blocks, it seems like the shuttle isn't a terrible idea. If people would be willing to pay, great, and maybe there is some nominal fee that gets attached to it but simply saying that everyone should just suck it up and ride the X2 doesn't seem to be a fitting response.