DC Loves Buses Day returns to honor drivers

DC Loves Buses Day has returned after a two-year hiatus. 

The annual event shows appreciation for bus drivers who bring groups to visit Washington, D.C.

This year’s event on May 12 was held on the National Mall, an iconic national park that is home to many free Smithsonian museums, the White House, the U.S. Capitol and several national monuments. The destination is a perennial favorite for school bus groups and tour groups in general. 

DC Loves Buses
​​Joe Haskins, right, a driver with Gold Shield Transportation and UMA’s Ken Presley chatting outside the Natural History Museum. The Kentucky company had about five coaches in Washington D.C. for several days.

“We were able to meet and say thank you to several drivers with their buses in D.C.,” said Scott Michael, UMA President and CEO. “The wide variety of travel and tourism companies involved makes this event special.  It shows the importance of the group bus business, specifically, to this city,”

Many groups involved

The DC Loves Buses event is a public-private partnership success story. The district’s Department of Transportation uses it to promote bus access, news and parking information. The National Park Service, Destination DC, the Student Youth Travel Association, plus the two national bus associations, United Motorcoach Association and American Bus Association. were involved on the committee, as were others.

“The event truly brings together all segments of the visitor industry in D.C.,” Michael said. “All desire the group bus business and want to show their appreciation, especially as crowds return.”

The committee organized the event, with featured five teams spread throughout the tourist area along the National Mall. Each team had 7 to 10 volunteers representing a cross-section of the hospitality sector in D.C.  Participants ranged from tour guide companies to hotel, restaurant, museum, shopping, recreation and attractions’ staff.  

The teams walked to the bus parking areas to meet and greet the drivers. They pulled wagons filled with box lunches and goodie bags. 

“It’s good to be at this event again and to see buses bringing groups,” said Ken Presley, UMA’s Vice President for Legislative & Regulatory Affairs & Industry Relations/COO. “Showing appreciation like this to the tour bus drivers goes a long way,”.

The District Department of Transportation shared updated bus parking information with bus drivers and fleet owners during the event. 

Updates to on-street parking

DDot has unveiled new on-street metered parking for motorcoaches. The new meters increase access to the National Mall and nearby destinations, provide short-term parking for picking up and dropping off visitors, and provide parking for long stops and overnight. Each bus parking zone will allow one to three hours of paid parking during the day. 

Hours will vary according to locations, and some will be rush-hour restricted. Designated zones will allow unlimited paid parking overnight. Each zone will feature a multi-space meter with pay-by-phone technology. 

Spaces for buses to load and unload will remain unmetered throughout the National Mall. Parking costs at the new meters are $6 per hour for buses (with pay stations or payment with the Parkmobile app or website). 

There are 32 spaces available for long-term bus parking at Union Station on Capitol Hill and the National Zoo. Hotels also have bus parking. 

Parking reservations are sold at a flat rate and allow in-and-out privileges. Bus parking may be reserved by sending an email including the requested dates and times to businfo@uspgllc.com. 

This information can be found at www.godcgo.com and www.washington.org/groups.

The Union Station facility is also scheduled for a major renovation, but the project may take at least 10 years to complete.


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