Get Outta Town!

by Naomi Pearson. 0 Comments

I’ve heard that quite a lot of people have moved to Frederick from Montgomery County and D.C. to get away from the crowds and expense and increasing crime, et cetera, et cetera. And some of these same people head right back into MontCo and D.C. for entertainment.

I can’t say that I blame them.

As much as I love living out here and as many things as I love to do here, sometimes I’d really like more choices or a change of pace and scenery. But while the aforementioned folks just hop in their cars and zip out for the day, I don’t yet have that option, unless I rent a car. Even if I did own a car (which I will, in due time, mind you), I’d probably only drive it as far as the nearest Metro station -- which I did two weeks ago for a chance to see a beloved relative I haven’t seen in five years.

And that brings me to my point. Is there really not enough of a demand for there to be some kind of weekend shuttle to D.C. or even just to Shady Grove? I know there’s been discussion and plans to extend the Metro or create a light rail or express bus line out this way, but that’s still mostly speculatory* (it is too a word!) at this point and geared toward the Monday through Friday commuters.

The Greyhound bus does go to and from D.C., but at between $32 and $42 dollars round-trip, then adding on Metro fares, and dining expenses, plus any entertainment costs, it gets a little too rich for me to do very often. It’s also kind of a grueling ride for a day trip, as it takes over two hours to get to D.C., since the bus stops in BALTIMORE first! Plus, there’s no guarantee I’ll even get a seat. First come, first served.

I’m just thinking one express bus to and from D.C. that leaves in the morning and returns in the evening, like those that make outlet mall excursions or run from D.C. or Philadelphia to New York, for maybe about $20 round-trip (a MARC round-trip ticket is $14). D.C. folks can pick it up and come out here to do a tourism thing, while we Frederick folks hop on and ride back to D.C. and then reverse the process for the return. Or conversely, if the bus originates here.

Maybe it’s just not cost-effective, or maybe there isn’t enough interest. I don’t know. I’ve heard people talk about trying to get MTA to run a weekend MARC train. Does anyone know whether either of these ideas has made it past the talk stage to a request campaign, a petition, or even an actual proposal? (Yes, right now I'm a little too busy to research that myself. Maybe when I get a car...)

But for now, it’s simply more convenient and cheaper to rent a car and go at my own pace on my own schedule, AND have the option to bring bring friends, bring back shopping bags or, if I so choose, make a detour to somewhere else.

(*perhaps that should be "speculative")

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