Streetcars are the hot new thing in D. C, with the first trolleys set to roll out soon on H Street NE. Two-wheeled public transit, in the form of Capital Bikeshare, has been all the rage since a few years back. Even Metro’s stodgy old subway system, which turns 38 in March, is getting some buzz: The Silver Line will open soon, and planners are dreaming of building new tunnels under the Potomac and new stations all around town.
Even with all that competition, though, on the average weekday in the District, riders still take more than 235,000 trips by bus. Which means a lot of standing around at the 11,490 bus stops served by Metro around the region. Sure, waiting for a bus has gone high-tech; now you can use your phone to see when the next one’s coming, and kill time digitally, too, while you’re at it.
But not even the fanciest apps or the coolest retro modes of transportation can entirely wipe bus stops from the cityscape. They’re not just a place to take shelter from the cold, or the rain, or the wind, while you wonder where that 64 is. (They’re also the closest thing D.C. has to billboards, with little advertising opportunities popping up every block or two on busy streets.) In our increasingly atomized city, standing under that red, white, and blue Metrobus sign remains one of the few universal experiences, shared by everyone from late-shift service workers to former Cabinet secretaries. Washington City Paper’s Darrow Montgomery collected these images at, of, and from bus stops around the city for more than a year. Flip through them, maybe while you wait for your ride home. We think they’ll look familiar. —Mike Madden