Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Two bus lines made popular by their inexpensive District-to-New York City fares were forced Monday to move their pickup and drop-off spots from G Street Northwest to the former Convention Center site.

“That spot proved to be too disruptive to people who lived on that street, so we worked,” said John Lisle, D.C. Department of Transportation spokesman.

Megabus and BoltBus have been operating in the District only since spring 2008, but this marks the second time the city has moved them.

For the past six weeks, the Greyhound-owned BoltBus and Coach USA-owned Megabus used a section of G Street Northwest, in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Library. However, they were forced to move because of complaints by nearby residents, city officials said. Prior to that, the companies operated on 11th Street Northwest near the Metro Center, which was causing problems with the Metro Bus service at the site.

Both lines have experienced rapid growth since arriving, with round-trip fares to New York City ranging from $1 one-way to $40 round-trip.

Megabus, for example, has transported nearly 250,000 passengers since starting service in the District in June 2008. The company handles 10 daily arrivals and departures.

“We’ve seen steady growth,” said Dale Moser, president of Coach USA. “Obviously there is a travel and passenger need for what we are providing. It is something that is easy to access, and people still want to travel even though they have to stretch their dollar.”

Mr. Lisle said the latest deal was made with help from D.C. Council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, and the office of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Democrat.

Mr. Moser said he also worked with city officials on the move to the former Convention Center site, now a 10-acre parking lot one block from the Metro Center subway station, at New York Avenue and Ninth Street Northwest.

Other companies that run similar routes from the District will not move to the former Convention Center site, including New Century Travel, which started before 2008 and will continue operating from H Street Northwest, in Chinatown.

The former Convention Center site is planned for redevelopment as D.C. City Center. Construction is expected to begin this year, which could result in yet another depot change for the buses.

“Obviously the redevelopment of that site could be involved in determining how long they will be there,” Mr. Lisle said.

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