Riding the X2 and X8 buses often means having to cope with delayed service, disruptive passengers and impolite drivers, about two dozen locals told transit officials at a community meeting last night.
Pat Allen, who lives on Maryland Avenue NE, said she was frustrated with the bus operators.
“The kids get on the bus and they’re a little rowdy, but I can overlook that,” she said. “But when you got nasty bus drivers, I got a problem with that.”
Norman Williams, WMATA assistant supervisor of street operations, defended drivers and said they need to avoid becoming targets for violence. He admitted the buses often get unruly.
“Any time you get on the X2, you get a show,” he said. “At night, you’re going to get a real show. If you want some action, you ride the X2 at night.”
Kathy Henderson, the chairwoman of ANC 5D, described trouble with passengers.
“They curse the bus driver out. Sometimes it can be a wild card, an experience that really is stressful for everyone,” she said.
As plans falter for the H Street/Benning Road streetcar, the thoroughfare’s main mode of transportation has been in the spotlight. Frozen Tropics and The Washington Post recently gathered 24 tweets about life aboard the bus, describing everything from a woman going into labor to a rider trying to pay his fare in sunflower seeds.
Henderson described the meeting as a “good first step” in working with WMATA to improve service on the X2 and X8 lines. WMATA officials agreed to another community meeting, a commitment Henderson said she appreciated.
“We want to have a dialogue that results in an effective empowerment of this community and long-term improvement,” she said.