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Old 11-12-2013, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,433,247 times
Reputation: 1033

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Just thought I would share this in case others have had or are having similar experiences.

So, I've always known about the Pentagon Express Buses, but up until today, I had always written them off and thought they would take significantly more time and be significantly more inconvenient than driving to Metro and taking Metro in to DC (it takes about 10-15 minutes to drive to the Franconia-Springfield Metro from my house). Then, this past weekend, I realized that a Pentagon Express Bus comes right through my neighborhood - the stop is literally a 2 minute walk from my front door. Given that taking the bus would save me the cost of parking at the Metro station, gas, and wear and tear on my car, I figured I need to at least give the bus a shot, so I decided to take it this morning. I have to say I was really impressed - the bus was exactly on time and got me to the Pentagon 10 minutes earlier than the schedule said. Door to door, the commute to my office near the Archives Metro was about 55 minutes instead of the 60 minutes or so that the driving and Metro combination takes me. Plus, my commute was way more relaxing - no dealing with the 10 minutes of driving and parking at the Metro station and no crowded Metro train (except for the last stretch from the Pentagon to Archives).

Now, maybe I just caught the bus on a good day - only time will tell. Perhaps I will be singing a different tune after a week of taking the bus. But, as an initial matter, I am just really impressed and am really glad I tried it out. Of course, I know taking the bus has downsides - doesn't come as often, probably more likely to have unexpected traffic delays, etc. But, for me, it also has the upside of saving me about $5 a day.

So, just in case there is anyone else out there who has ever thought the same way I have, I thought I might share this. I'm sure it won't be news to many of you out there, but maybe it will be to some.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:45 AM
 
593 posts, read 857,425 times
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Good for you. Anything that cuts out that long walk through the parking lot-especially with a cold wind blowing like today is great.
Does the schedule work well for you on the home stretch?
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,433,247 times
Reputation: 1033
Well, of course I got to experience the cold wind blowing as I waited for the bus . But, that doesn't bother me too much - having grown up in a Montana, weather like this is still pretty mild in my book.

The schedule in the evening actually works pretty well too. Of course, the downside with the bus is that you have to time things much more so than with the Metro/driving combination. If I keep taking the bus, I'm sure the day will come when I miss the bus at the Pentagon by a minute or two and be stuck waiting 30-40 minutes for the next bus. As long as I can keep that to a minumum, I think I can handle it.
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Ormond Beach, FL
1,353 posts, read 1,393,658 times
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I have taken pentagon express busses in the past and really liked them. The only times I ever had any problem with them was when we had a significant snowfall the they were on snow routes, but then again all traffic off a main road was bad. If you head home really late, say you stayed in town for a after work celebration, then the routes get fewer and farther between. My destination was the courthouse area of Arlington so I could almost drive their in about the same amount of time as ride the bus and metro, but the stress factor with the bus was non existent, so I usually chose the bus/metro. I will say winter can be cold waiting for the bus, but they have an phone app that will let you know how may minutes the bus is from your stop.
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Old 11-13-2013, 10:50 AM
 
3,557 posts, read 3,457,034 times
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Is this a Fairfax bus? How many different routes are there?
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Old 11-13-2013, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,433,247 times
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The bus I have taken the past 2 days is Fairfax Connector Route 394. Route 395 also operates in the area. I'm not as familiar with the other Pentagon Express Buses.

To add to my previous post, the commute home yesterday went pretty smoothly too - about 1 hour door to door which is the same as my normal driving/Metro commuting routine. Today, I did decide that instead of waiting outside to catch the bus, I would drive to the Saratoga Park and Ride Lot at the intersection of Rolling Rd/Barta Rd/FFX County Parkway. The parking lot is free with a lot of open spaces. My primary motivation for this is that on the commute home instead of spending an extra 15 minutes on the bus, I will be able to hop in my car and be home within 5 minutes of getting to the Park and Ride Lot. Also has the added benefit of being able to wait in a heated car in the morning when I'm waiting for the bus.
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Old 11-13-2013, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Springfield, VA
5 posts, read 15,423 times
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Metro also has a pentagon express bus into Springfield/Burke. It's the 18P bus.
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Old 11-13-2013, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Ormond Beach, FL
1,353 posts, read 1,393,658 times
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The pentagon express buses I have taken are 17 lines. They wheedle down Braddock road and through Burke. My son was interning at NIH this summer and it seemed to take him a half hour less time by bus/metro to get to Bethesda, although he said he drove there in the same amount of time once. It was very easy to tell when he took the bus vs driving or driving to a metro - when he took the bus, he as always home at a predictable time and when he didn't, he was predictably an hour later.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,433,247 times
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I thought I would update this thread for anyone stumbling across it the future. After giving the Pentagon Express bus a good 6-7 month go, I've decided to switch back to using only Metro. The particular bus I used, Fairfax Connector 394, works well enough and I don't really have any significant complaints. I just sort of got tired of having to have my schedule dictated to me by the bus times in both the morning and the evening. With Metro, you don't really have to worry about when you leave home in the morning or work in the afternoon - the next train won't be more than a few minutes away. And, with the opening of the Silver Line, my understanding is that Metro is planning to shift the Blue Line trains it will no longer be running to instead be Yellow Line Rush Plus trains, which is actually better for me since I generally take Metro to Archives. Yes, I have to pay for parking with Metro, but the cost is worth it to me for the added convenience and flexibility of commuting only by Metro . . . at least for now. I guess I'll see where I'm at in another 6 months. It certainly is nice to have so many different commuting options in this area.
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