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Confusion After Pentagon City Bus Stop Removed For Amazon Construction

Metro removed a bus stop, citing Amazon’s planned HQ2 construction, but it’s not clear whether the transit agency told riders first.

Metro’s website now lists the stop at S. Eads Street and 15th Street S. as being out of service for the 7Y route, as well as the 7A and 7F Lincolnia lines, and the 10N line to Reagan National Airport. However, as of Thursday afternoon, the transit agency’s website still listed arrival times at the stop for buses with the Barcroft-South Fairlington Line (22A.)

The stop was reporting missing last week by rider Scudder Waag, who told ARLnow he rode his usual 7Y route from Alexandria to Pentagon last week with no problems.

“But on Thursday I pulled the cord because we’re going to get off the bus, but the driver just get going and I hollered, and other riders were hollering,” he said.

Ultimately,  the driver was able to drop passengers off on the entrance ramp to the newly renamed Richmond Highway, before the bus continued on into D.C.  Waag he said the new stop is further from his office, and while he can walk longer distances, not everyone has the ability to do so.

The transit agency initially told Waag it would replace the missing sign. Five days later, Metro replied replied that the “bus planning team informed us that the bus stop… has been temporarily abolished due to the construction of a new office building, which is expected to take 6-9 months.”

The Eads Street stop is located right where Amazon is currently constructing the two, 22-story office towers that make up the first phase of its new headquarters in Pentagon City — though the project is still early in the county’s approval process and months away from starting construction.

“As the WMATA RAC’s Virginia Co-Chair, it’s distressing to see this happening in the middle of the BL/YL shutdown in Alexandria,” said WMATA Riders’ Advisory Council (RAC) member Andrew Kierig, referring to the ongoing Metrorail shutdown. “The best solution would be to have temporarily relocate the stop instead of ‘abolishing’ it without warning.”

Waag, a senior associate for a private transit planning firm, has worked with Alexandria’s DASH bus service, as well as Richmond’s GRTC. He told ARLnow that changing schedules and alerts for bus stops is “phenomenally complicated and takes a ridiculous amount of time.”

“Overall my experience riding with WMATA most days is quite nice, and quite good,” said Waag. “That day was certainly strange.”

Making the matter more complicated is Metro’s own confusing communications with riders. The transit agency shared an advisory alert about the project this week that stated the station, “has been permanently closed, effective immediately” — contradicting their earlier tweet about the station only closing temporarily.

It’s also not clear when Metro posted that alert to the website. The alert is listed as being effective from July 15, however an archived copy of Metro’s website from July 17 shows no alerts regarding the staton.

Metro also deleted its Wednesday tweet which shared the advisory alert.

The transit agency did not respond for requests for more information in time for publication.

“As someone who works with APIs and is also personally interested in transit service schedule data APIs like this, I’m concerned that this continues to be an issue that WMATA isn’t making a priority,” said Kierig. “I’ve raised this question at multiple RAC meetings with bus planning staff in regards to the replacement shuttles on the Metrorail shutdown. I’ll continue to do whatever I can to get them to fix this particular thing.”

“Winning back ridership means fixing the service and reliability side but also having the communications infrastructure and quality to make people aware that WMATA is truly #Back2Good,” Kierig added.

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