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Union members gather at headquarters to vote on strike.

Union members gather at headquarters to vote on strike.

ATU Local 689
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7 Ways to Commute If Metro Workers Strike

DC commuters, beware: Metro’s largest union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, has scheduled an emergency strike vote Sunday night.

The timing couldn’t have been much worse for the area — on the eve of Washington hosting the MLB Home Run Derby on Monday night and All-Star Game on Tuesday night. Sunday’s vote comes on the heels of ATU Local 689 calling on Metro General Manager/CEO Paul Wiedefeld to step down.

But Beltway commuters hope for the best and plan for the worst. Here are a few ways Washingtonians can get from point A to point B if there is a work stoppage.

1. Drive Yourself

Roads and highways will be more congested than usual, thanks to the closures across Washington for All-Star Week festivities. But if hundreds of Metro rail operators, bus drivers and mechanics don’t show up for work, mass transit could be much more painful. Getting behind the wheel of a car - yours or a service such as Zipcar or car2go - is an option.

2. Ridesharing

You and some buddies can carpool to work (if you’re going roughly the same direction). Or you and some strangers can slug (two popular websites devoted to slugging are Slug-lines.com and Sluglines.com.) You’ll still deal with at least a little congestion, but at least you can cruise through HOT or HOV lanes without paying.

3. Get Someone Else to Drive

You can pay a little more to let someone else do the driving. Take a cab, or call for Uber, Lyft or Via.

4. Bicycling

If you don’t have your own working bike, it’s not a big deal. From Capital Bikeshare to LimeBike, there are many options that allow you utilize the region’s significant biking infrastructure - trails and protected bike lanes - to get back and forth from home to work, while whizzing past motorists who are likely stuck in a jam during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

5. Scooters

Electric scooters are all the rage this summer. Waybots costs about a buck + 15 cents per minute per trip.

6. Walking

One foot in front of the other, kids. It’s how cavemen commuted, unless you were a Flintstone (try not to overthink this one).

7. Non-Metro Mass Transit

Without a doubt, a strike would cripple the Metro system, which serves a large swath of the DC area. However, numerous municipalities operate their own bus lines to serve commuters within their respective areas and to get them into the District. Arlington operates ART buses, Fairfax County has the Connector, Alexandria provides a touch of DASH, and OmniRide spirits people across Manassas, Prince William County and Stafford County.

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