Monday, August 8, 2011

More Music to the Ears

Last night, I went to a concert at Wolf Trap. I haven't been there in over 10 years probably...and definitely had gotten there by car at the time. So, I had two options for getting to the concert...I had reserved a Zipcar right near my apartment a week or so ahead of time, in case of bad weather. However, I wanted to try getting there via bike/subway/bus. Wolf Trap has a shuttle bus that picks up from the West Falls Church Metro stop, and it has a bike rack on the front of the bus. When I checked the weather earlier in the day, the threat of showers was out of the picture, so I cancelled the Zipcar.

After biking to the subway and arriving at the West Falls Church stop at 7:20, the shuttle was waiting in the parking lot. They didn't load the bus til about 7:45, which made me a little nervous, since the concert was supposed to start at 8 p.m. There were about 10 or so of us on the bus. I overheard a lady behind me talking to her companion about, "Maybe we should have driven..." and listing some of the reasons why. One reason I didn't want to drive there was to see how well the process worked for taking this shuttle. The website for Wolf Trap said that the shuttle was $5 roundtrip. I swiped my Metro card - though I didn't see how much it charged me. When we got seated, a bus attendant came around and gave us all a wristband to show the driver when we returned, that would give us a free ride back. That was interesting. Maybe Wolf Trap pays for half the trip for those who take the shuttle?

We got to Wolf Trap at 8, and it drops you at the driveway in front of the entrance gates. Door-to-door service. :) I had seen a GAZILLION cars parked all over the grassy areas and shoulders of the road when we arrived, and I was glad I didn't have to look for a parking spot. I would think you would have had to arrive at least an hour beforehand to be able to find a halfway decent spot and not have to walk so far.... I got my bike off the bus and locked it to a wooden fence. There is a bike rack up at the front gates area, but it was very thin & flimsy-looking. I don't think the rack was even bolted down. So I felt better locking it to the more secured wooden fence. The warm-up band was still playing, so I hadn't missed anything. The headliner group came on at 8:30.

After the concert was over at 10:15 or so, the shuttle didn't board and leave til 10:50...which was a bit later than I expected. The Wolf Trap website said it would leave in 20-min. intervals after the concert ended. Well, I did leave right after the last song, NOT the last encore... I wanted to be on the first bus to leave, since it was a Sunday night and I wanted to get home relatively soon.

I was concerned that we would get caught in a lot of the concert traffic when leaving. If the bus had left earlier, we would have missed a lot of the traffic...but it didn't take us too long to get through. There aren't too many cars that come from the driveway where the bus leaves, so it moves fairly quickly. We arrived at the Metro at 11:05 or so, but then we had to wait 20 or so min. for the subway train to come. The train ride isn't far (4 or 5 stops), and then I have a 10-min. bike ride home. So I got home a little before midnight. So it cost about $7.70 to take the metro and shuttle. If I had gotten a Zipcar, it would have been about $50, but I would have had the issue of dealing with the traffic (from a more congested area than where the bus left from). I probably would have gotten home about the same time. On the bus and metro, it was nice because I could close my eyes at least and not have to be concerned about the traffic and driving.

So, I think the experiment went well, and I'm glad I tried it and won't hesitate to do it again, if there's a concert I want to see. :)