17 Mar 2011

Things We Take For Granted:

Things We Take For Granted: The Exhilarating X2

Photo courtesy of Flickr by @MJB

For me, one of the many advantages of living in large city is not only all of the great museums and things going on, but having public transportation that will take me there.  Nothing makes me turn into The Hulk like having to hunt for a parking spot down on the Mall, especially during tourist season. Also, living on the Hill and working downtown, public transport is the best way for me.  My Hill home is near 3 bus lines and within a 15 minute walk from 4 different metro stops.   With all of these choices, my daily dose of adventure is a ride on the X2.

Yes, I heard those sighs.  Say what you will about the X2 (even I have been found at the bus stop on a morning or two with my smartphone in one hand trying to track the bus on Next Bus, and my other hand curled into a fist, screaming), but for us over in the H Street corridor, it’s a pretty good way to get from point A to point B.  And now that the H Street Shuttle is no longer in service, it’s a great way to get to the great bars on H Street.

It was about this time last year that we decided to be more green, and to leave less impact on the world around us.  Oddly, it was also around this time that our car decided to become less than reliable. Due to our new earth pledge, we decided to try and go carless and see how it worked out.  So far, it’s worked out great and we have enjoyed taking advantage of a city that has public transportation. We’ve been sampling a number of bus lines, and the X2 has been our most reliable bet for getting around. It comes pretty frequently, and though traffic on H Street is at times frustrating because of the construction, it usually moves at a decent pace and gets pretty close to where we need or want to be.  Yes, on more than one occasion an X2 comes on cruising by that looks more like an anchovy can on wheels with all the people crammed in it; but if you pass that one up, it’s not long until another one comes along.

I know I’m painting a rosy picture of the bus line, and I don’t want to sound like I haven’t had my problems.  It is often packed and frequently has an aroma of French-fry grease, urinal puck, and cheap men’s cologne.  There was also the one time I was on the bus and the police stormed it looking for someone who had robbed a store, and had chosen the X2 as their getaway car.  Luckily the culprit was not on my bus. Just the other night, I sat next to a woman who told me all about her weekend activities and how all she did was “get B-U-S-Y.”  But what’s life without a little adventure?   There have also been plenty of evenings where I’ve run into a friendly face and almost missed my stop because of gabbing with neighborhood friend.

I, for one, am thankful that in my corner of Capitol Hill I have the X2 to ride and rely on.  It has made the no-car experiment both an adventure and easier.

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  • Mark

    I’ve been riding the X2 for 15 years, from H St NE to downtown. My favorite adventure? The gentleman seat mate who asked why I wasn’t carrying a gun.

  • K

    Things we take for granted on Metro – people pushing and shoving to get on the train.

    Things I was surprised by on my brief stint as a regular bus rider – a loose mob of people waiting for the bus congeals into a line of people more or less in the order we started waiting, and “you first” etiquette not often experienced on other parts of town. Or at least in my brief stint as a regular rider between McPherson Square and Columbia Heights.

  • Phil

    I’ve had a pretty good experience riding the X2 for the past year or so. My biggest complaint about it is that it has far too many stops, sometimes going as little as a single block before stopping again. The X9, which is an express bus, has been a nice additional along this line, but only runs until 6:30, so it’s only an option in evening if you leave work early. If they can expand the X9s hours and remove a few stops from the X2, the bus service on H St may be pretty decent once the construction is complete.

  • @Phil–they recently removed several stops on the X2 route (sadly, the one nearest to me!)–so your wish has already been granted. They probably won’t expand the X9 since it’s there to deal with the rush hour crowding, but you never know.

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