Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dodge the Interior Rain on the D2 Metrobus, Which Falls in All Directions

IF THERE ISN'T A WORSE TORTURE than waiting for a D.C. Metrobus in the rain, it's riding one where it's raining inside. As transit rolling stock ages and deteriorates, moisture will find its way in, especially around the emergency roof hatch. (Or in the case of older New York City subway train cars, like the R32s, leaky ceiling air conditioning units.)

This afternoon heading into Dupont Circle on the D2 bus, the rain came inside as I was sitting toward the back. Depending on turns and the rates of acceleration and braking, streams of droplets would rain down in all sorts of directions. Since the D2 has a twisting, stop-and-go route through Georgetown, Burleith and Glover Park, you can only imagine all the fun dodging the water inside the crowded bus.

While the leaky buses are no doubt annoying, at least D2 riders don't have to deal with the old Orion II Metrobuses, lovingly called the "short bus" by some and derided by others (I have previously described the trip on a rush hour Orion II as a scene from an Dickens-esque omnibus). These contraptions were formerly seen on a handful of routes around town, including the now-defunct Adams Morgan-U Street Link (with the odd multi-colored linked paper doll design) and on the D2 as well. While the tiny Orion II buses had issues with engine smoke making drivers regularly nauseated, neighborhood residents in Glover Park were more vocal about how bad WMATA's squeaky bus brakes were disturbing the peace.

Smoke vs. rain? I think I'll take interior rain than a nauseating ride on the short bus.

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