Wednesday, April 23, 2014 5:23 AM
Published on: Friday, October 12, 2012
By Tauren Dyson
All aboard the free National Harbor Courtesy Shuttle — just don’t expect it to stop anywhere else in Prince George’s County.
The shuttle is free to National Harbor residents, office workers and hotel guests at certain hotels. But some think the courtesy shuttle rudely shuts out more county residents.
“I think they’re (the National Harbor) taking advantage of the residents here,” said Tora Bunch, Oxon Hill resident. On a recent Wednesday, she ate lunch at National Harbor and said a free shuttle would save her money on parking.
Currently, the shuttle stops at two Metro stations in Washington, D.C. and one in Virginia. And other than stopping at the National Harbor, the shuttle doesn’t service any areas within Prince George’s County.
Officials at the $820 million resort said the primary goal of providing the service is to give hotel customers a conduit from the National Harbor to the District.
So far, the service shuttles “approximately 300 people a day,” according to Rocell Viniard, National Harbor marketing vice president. Of that number, few are actual restaurant or hotel workers within the resort.
“It’s not for hotel employees,” Viniard said.
“It’s kind of crazy,” said Nakia Charles, Wydham hotel employee. “I don’t think it makes any sense for it to be around here if it’s not going to stop around here.”
The Fort Washington resident drives to work, but said she would take the shuttle if offered in her area. But unlike Charles, many other National Harbor hotel workers only have the option of taking a NH-1 Metrobus to work. Currently, it stops at National Harbor every 30 minutes seven days a week, making only limited stops within the county. This often forces riders to make multiple transfers in each direction.
Still, hotel workers and others at National Harbor aren’t prohibited from riding the shuttle. Anyone who isn’t a hotel guest, worker or resident at National Harbor can pay $10 for a one-way ride to any of the shuttle’s three destinations.