WMATA announced earlier this week that it’s added an extra afternoon trip for the 11Y bus route, which has seen a surge in ridership during the platform reconstruction project at Huntington and five other stations.
The 11Y, known as the Mount Vernon Express, runs between Mount Vernon and Foggy Bottom. Metro said Monday that it was immediately adding a new southbound trip that leaves from Potomac Park in D.C. at 4:05 p.m. and ends at Hunting Point in the City of Alexandria.
“Halfway through the route [the buses] are full,” said Mike Malloy, a Hollin Hall resident who says he typically rides the 11Y a few days a week. “They are packed to the gills.”
Metro had already added extra 11Y trips at the beginning of the shutdown in May in anticipation of more riders, with a goal of hitting stops every 10-15 minutes. But since Huntington and the other five stations closed May 25, the 11Y is sometimes so crowded it is forced to pass stops in the middle of the route because there’s no space left on the bus. That causes riders to sometimes wait an extra 15-20 minutes for another bus.
Some of Metro’s larger, articulated buses have also been assigned to the route, but the crowding remains a daily battle for most riders. Metro said that ridership on the 11Y, 10A and a few other routes has increased by 34 percent since the shutdown began.
Malloy, who says he’s commuted via carpool, the Pentagon Express shuttles from Huntington, and on the 11Y during the shutdown, said he’s long advocated for earlier 11Y routes from Mount Vernon in the morning. Currently the first bus starts at 6:31 a.m., and he believes one way to alleviate the crowding would be to give riders an earlier option.
“Get more people in earlier so they don’t have crowd in on later bus,” said Malloy, who added that one positive point he’s noticed during the summer shutdown is how well Metrobus’s drivers have handled the situation. “The drivers are going great under circumstances.”