ART 42 is the “Ballston-Pentagon” route of Arlington Transit’s fleet of green buses. It’s a convenient service for Pike transit users, allowing a connection every day but Sunday from the eastern part of the Pike to Clarendon and Ballston. From the Pentagon until S Courthouse Road, however, it rides along a very similar route as the 16-series of Pentagon Metrobuses.
As a result, for riders who live or work from the stretch of the Pike from the Air Force Memorial to Courthouse Road, the ART 42 could serve their transit needs the same as a Metrobus. For example, a rider in Foxcroft Heights who needs to get to the Pentagon is probably indifferent as to whether she does so on ART 42 or Metrobus 16B. (Technically, the eastbound 42 uses Army-Navy to get to the Pentagon, while Metrobus uses the last bit of Columbia Pike, but the point is that the rider can just show up at the bus stop and decide then.)
Unfortunately, however, for Arlington View, Foxcroft Heights and the residents of the Barcroft apartments (among others), it does not work that way for westbound trips from the Pentagon. While all of the Metrobuses that run from the Pentagon to S Courthouse on the Pike depart from two, adjacent bus bays at the Pentagon, the ART 42 stops at a bus bay hundreds of feet away. As a result, a rider waiting for (the more frequent) Metrobuses can’t just jump onto the 42 if it shows up first. By the time the rider sees the 42 go by and walks over to that stop, the 42 will invariably have left the stop.
The solution is simple. Arlington Transit should seek approval from Metro to move its stop either to the 16 bays or to an adjacent bay. This would increase the quality of Pike Ride service for numerous riders at very little cost.