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Old 03-31-2011, 06:37 AM
5,121 posts, read 5,531,985 times
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I put an offer on a house and hoped to take advantage of the metro bus route nearby (assuming they accept my offer, etc). But I feel so stupid, I can't figure it out. I went to the metro website to do a trip planner and it tells me to get on a bus at a stop that doesn't exist on on their online timetable/PDFs. It doesn't even look like the bus drives by the stop. So how do I know when the bus goes by and how do I let it know I am waiting on this little side street?

Is there a link to figuring out how the buses work? All I want it to take a bus or some kind of public transportation to the metro station (Franconia-Springfield mainly, but I've looked at express buses to the Pentagon) and the metro to work. The house I am looking at is only 5 miles from the Franconia-Springfield metro station, surely there has to be a bus or something to it. I can drive and I have a car, but I hoped to avoid having to drive and deal with parking.

Thanks from this public transportation challenged forum poster .
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Old 03-31-2011, 06:47 AM
518 posts, read 782,270 times
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If the stop is along the route listed, go to where the stop is supposed to be and see if there is a flag for the bus stop. Also, try and check when the next bus is supposed to stop at this stop. The metro website has a next bus feature that will tell you. Here is the link: Metro - Bus - Next Metrobus Arrivals

Last edited by roninsedge; 03-31-2011 at 06:49 AM.. Reason: Link issues
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Old 03-31-2011, 06:51 AM
Location: Maine
2,010 posts, read 2,701,100 times
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That's great that you found a house you like and made an offer!

The nearest library will probably have bus pamphlets for the different routes in your area. Also, there should be signs along the roads for the bus stops. My husband uses the bus routes along Old Keene Mill Road, and it does take time to figure out the patterns. Hope you find a bus route that works well for you!
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:08 AM
Location: Falls Church, VA
540 posts, read 638,763 times
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The bus map should help you out:

(warning - moderately large pdf file) http://wmata.com/pdfs/bus/VA.pdf

The timetables don't necessarily show every stop. Roninsedge is right, go find the nearest bus stop with a post/flag and look to see if the route number is on there.
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:34 PM
Location: In the woods
3,315 posts, read 8,774,073 times
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I don't understand when you said that the trip planner states a stop that "doesn't exist." Perhaps the brochure/info is old.

Just get an updated schedule. Find a bus stop closest to your house. When you get there, ask the other riders, "Does the #__ bus pick up here? And does it go to the Franconia-Springfield metro?" If you really feel paranoid, ask the driver before getting on. Sometimes the signs on the bus are off or don't change properly or are broken.

Also, remember, the some bus stops are designated for pick up/drop off only during the a.m./p.m. rush. IOW, a specific bus stop may only pick up at 6:30am and no other time and the "regular" bus route won't pick up at that stop but everywhere else on the route. That's why the schedule is important. Keep your bus schedule handy--at home, at the office, and in your bag at all times.

It sounds confusing but you'll get the hang of it. Also, there are other contingencies you'll encounter with the buses --i.e., bad rainstorm and the bus fails to show up, delay from a traffic accident, broken down bus and another is sent in its place (that looks different and has a different bus #). Good luck!
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:58 PM
Location: Metro Washington DC
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I'm not sure what's confusing? On every route they choose to list certain stops as time points to make sure they are on schedule. Between each point are multiple unlisted stops (but do have a sign at the stop so you can find it). All of the stops can be found on the NextBus link posted earlier.
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:33 PM
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I think what was confusing was that some of the stops aren't listed on the online brochures (I just assumed they would list all the stops--but I guess there are too many). I wish there was a better way of finding out when the buses actually stop other than taking a day off work, driving out to the neighborhood where I'll be moving, driving around until I find a stop and then calling the number. Just seems like it should all be online I guess

But from what I gather, the buses and metro stops aren't really matched up well. According to metro's trip planner, a 15 minute drive takes 40 minutes walking to the bus stop, taking the bus and then taking the metro. I might have to think of something else.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:06 PM
Location: Metro Washington DC
13,027 posts, read 19,853,706 times
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You don't have to drive out there. There are maps for bus routes (linked earlier). There's NextBus (linked earlier) which lists every stop. I can see it on my Blackberry, and there are also iPhone Apps which have the bus stops listed as well. In MD Google maps shows where all of the bus stops are, and I am eagerly awaiting them to be shown for NoVa too. The answers are out there,. You just got to search for them.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:35 PM
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The Nextbus link is helpful to a degree, but it's not answering my question. To use Nextbus, I need to know the route number, stop number, etc. I don't have that information. That's what I am trying to figure out.

When I try to find the information using the Metro trip planner, it tells me the street to meet the bus at (but not the stop number, route number, or even where in blazes on that street the stop is. Telling me the stop is on Little River Turnpike, for example, can mean one of several stops and isn't very helpful).

Remember I don't even know where the bus stops are, except that the metro website says it's about a mile away. When I go back to Nextbus, the roads the trip planner listed on the Metro sight aren't listed as an option. So I am back to square one.

The map on the brochure Metro puts out looks like a lone piece of spaghetti throw against a wall. It's a squiggly line with no roads (as cross streets for reference anyway) or landmarks like a street map. Again, as someone totally unfamiliar with the area and the roads in that area, it means next to nothing to me.

Yes, they have schedules online, but they don't seem to have ALL the stops listed on them. I can find it for the major stops at big intersections and such, but not the minor ones in neighborhoods--which is what I am looking for. And someone said they don't always stop at those minor stops, so I hate to go out there and stand only to see the bus drive by.

I am sure it is very easy once you get the hang of it and know the ins and outs. If I start using it, I am sure it will seem painfully easy once I know the routine. But to someone who's never used a bus system before in her life and is trying to figure it out in an area she's totally unfamiliar with, it's a bit overwhelming and confusing. I was just looking for some guidance is all.

Anyway, all that is why I concluded the easiest thing for me to do will be to drive out to the area this weekend, find the house and start driving around until I find Metro signs and write down the numbers. Then I can go home and look them up (I don't have a Blackberry or Smartphone, so I am kind of stuck going back to a computer).
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:15 PM
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,738 posts, read 8,940,261 times
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I totally get what you mean. Indeed, you have to sort of guess when a bus is going to be at any stop that's not in the route schedule. And even with the listed stops, they'll be late or early quite often, so you can't really bank on those.

Maybe you've already found this, but the WMATA all-NOVA bus-route-map PDF is a good start for figuring out which routes are in or near a given area: Metro - Bus - Maps

And the WMATA trip planner can help--sort of.

Good luck and congrats!
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