A little while ago, I found out about the new 43 bus that goes underneath Dupont Circle instead of through. Today, I rode it for the first time. I almost didn't - my usual S2 came by as I was waiting to cross I Street. I didn't rush because I didn't think I would make it, but then the light changed, and I still didn't rush, and then three people made the driver open the door before the light turned green. So I would have made it with even the slightest bit of extra effort.
But no matter. The 43 bus came by just a minute later. I've been wanting to try it, but unwilling to forgo the S2/S4.
It was wonderful. But I fear it won't last long. I got on at 3:30PM on a Monday, early rush hour, but already busy on the S2/S4. There were maybe 15 people on the bus between 15th and I and 16th and Columbia. Maybe this is normal for the route, but I can't imagine WMATA is happy with those numbers.
I did run into a problem with the stop request strings and buttons - none of them worked. I thought perhaps standing by the back door would work, or maybe that the requests were being relayed to the driver but not displayed on the big screen. But I was wrong. Luckily, a kid who wanted the stop after the one I wanted pulled on every string in the bus until one of them worked, and the bus stopped just one stop later than I wanted, and I didn't even have to go up and ask the driver.
I will definitely ride the 43 again. I won't pass up an S2/S4, but if the 43 comes first, it's a great alternative.