The Washington, D.C., area's running joke of a public transportation system took another hit to their reputation this week as a bus driver had to stop and ask for directions after he took a full load of passengers not only to the wrong station, but also out of state in the process.
WTOP Radio tells the story of Randy Lilleston, a commuter from Northern Virginia who was supposed to take a WMATA shuttle bus from his end-of-the-line station to the Pentagon while multiple stations were closed for updates and repairs.
However, Lilleston said, things didn't go as expected after it was found out that the bus driver didn't know how to get to the designated stop, which put a sense of "doom" into the vehicle filled with morning commuters trying to get to work.
"The bus driver turned around and said, 'I'm not sure how to get to the Pentagon. Can someone give me directions?'" Lilleston said, according to WTOP.
The driver then reportedly took a wrong turn, taking I-95 toward Baltimore, which took the commuters meandering through Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, before eventually dropping them off at the Anacostia metro station, rather than the Pentagon.
Lilleston said that the mishap helped him by putting him closer to work, but it inconvenienced others who were stuck having to adjust their morning route to work.
The story above was far from the only mishap associated with WMATA's summer shutdown this week. NBC Washington reported that many of the shuttle bus drivers brought in to cover the closed stations didn't know their various routes because they were brought in from other parts of the country as contractors.
NEW: some Metro shuttle bus drivers have been getting lost because they are unfamiliar with their routes - on the f… https://t.co/8j45pgNSua— Adam Tuss (@Adam Tuss)1559073188.0
Other commuters complained about packed buses, long lines, and massive delays during the first few workdays of a long-term shutdown affecting six stations on the Blue and Yellow Lines.
"As anticipated during the first few days of a major shutdown such as this, there have been some operational issues that will generally be smoothed out during this first week as we settle into our operations and customers adapt to the travel alternatives," Metro said.
The multi-station shutdown is planned to last until early September.