Vern Express - FAQs
Q: What is The Vern Express?
A: The Vern Express is a bus service providing transportation between The George Washington University’s Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses. During the academic year, The Vern Express runs 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, providing an easy and efficient link between GW’s two Washington DC campuses. During the summer and semester breaks, the Express provides more limited service between these campuses.
Q: How long is the trip between the campuses on the Express?
A: The Mount Vernon and Foggy Bottom campuses are about 3 miles apart, so the one-way trip only takes between 10 and 13 minutes in normal traffic. During weekday rush hours (approximately 7am to 10am and 3pm to 7pm), the trip can take longer, so riders should plan accordingly.
Q: How often does the Express run?
A: The exact schedule varies by the time of day and day of the week (and time of year), though the current schedule can always be found on this website. Unless unusual circumstances necessitate a special schedule, on weekdays during the academic year the Express makes "continuous departures” (every 5 minutes) during the bulk of the day, departures every 15 minutes during the early morning and evening, and departures every 15 minutes overnight; on weekends during the academic year, the Express runs every 15 minutes during the day and overnight.
Q: What does “continuous departures” mean?
A: During the bulk of the academic day, the Express runs on a “continuous departure” schedule, meaning it makes departures every 5 to 10 minutes. Because of class schedules and variable traffic during the day, it’s impossible to time departures exactly, so the Express departs as groups of riders arrive, keeping in mind the above-referenced continuous departure intervals as a guideline.
Q: Why are there sometimes a number of buses parked at The Vern Express stop but we still don’t depart immediately?
A: The Vern Express on-site supervisors (the personnel stationed at the Express stop who aren’t drivers) have rough schedules of class beginning and ending times, which means they know when to expect large groups of riders to arrive en masse, either in advance of a number of classes beginning or just after a number of classes let out. Shortly in advance of these large movements of riders, the supervisors will stage buses to accommodate the large group that will be arriving to the Express soon.
Q: The Express is running on a 30-minute schedule, but I’ve been waiting for a while. Where’s the bus?
A: First, keep in mind that, when running on a 30-minute schedule, The Vern Express makes departures from Foggy Bottom at :00 and :30 past the hour and from Mount Vernon at :15 and :45 past the hour. So you shouldn’t expect to see, say, a 2:30am or a 3am departure from Mount Vernon or a 2:15am or 2:45am departure from Foggy Bottom when the Express is running on a 30-minute schedule.
If it seems as if you’ve been waiting too long for the Express though, there may be a delay or interruption in service. During business hours, you can call Transportation & Parking Services at 202-994-PARK (7275); outside of business hours, check the red LED board on the kiosk at Somers Hall or above the stop at Fulbright Hall to see if an alert has been posted, or call University Police at Mount Vernon at 202-242-6110. Or if an on-site supervisor is present, you can always ask them.
Q: Where does The Vern Express pick up and drop off, and why does it change locations sometimes in Foggy Bottom? And what about the HOVA stop?
A: At Mount Vernon, the Express drops off at the Eckles Library at all times. The stop on the Quad (at Somers Hall) is identified as the pick-up location.
Because of morning rush hour traffic conditions in Foggy Bottom, the stops are a little less straightforward. The Express always drops off at 2025 E Street (Red Cross Building) and 22nd & G Streets. Most of the time, it then drops off and picks up at 23rd & H Streets (Fulbright Hall), except between 6am and 10am on weekdays, when it instead drops off and picks up at 21st & H Streets (Marvin Center) because of morning rush hour traffic on H Street. Except during this time (6am to 10am on weekdays), the Express also drops off at 2601 Virginia Ave (Hall on Virginia Avenue).
The distinction made between drop-off and pick-up locations is because the Express only waits to pick up at the primary pick-up location at each campus (and, as such, the departures times listed on the Express schedule refer to departures from this location). Riders are welcome to board at any of the drop-off locations also, but should know that the Express does not wait at these locations, normally only stopping to drop-off passengers.
Q: Why can’t The Vern Express stop in Georgetown or other locations not currently listed?
A: When it comes down to it, it’s a matter of safety and reliability. We have yet to find a location in or near Georgetown that is (1) safe to stop at and discharge passengers and (2) allows The Vern Express to maintain anything near a regular schedule.
The location most often suggested – at the intersection of Canal Road and the Whitehurst Freeway (at the foot of the “Exorcist steps,” just before the Express turns onto the Whitehurst) – isn’t legal or safe to use, because there’s no crosswalk; and to drive through Georgetown itself (down M Street, for instance) to drop off on a safer street would take far too long (especially during evenings and weekends, when Georgetown is especially congested), easily throwing the Express off-schedule. Each time students have been polled about whether they’d trade a number of the normal stops in Foggy Bottom for a stop in Georgetown (which would only begin to help keep the Express on schedule), the answer has been “no.”
That said, Transportation & Parking Services always welcomes suggestions from our riders about alternate stops and/or routes, keeping in mind that drivers are never authorized to pick-up or drop-off riders at locations other than those officially approved by Transportation & Parking Services. If you have an idea or suggestion, please let us know at email@example.com.
Q: Is The Vern Express wheelchair-accessible?
A: Yes. A certain number of buses (variable by day, but always at least one) included in the rotation of buses at any given time are accessible via wheelchair lifts. If a wheelchair-accessible bus isn’t available when you arrive to the Express stop, it should in the next few minutes.
Q: Can I bring a bike or luggage on The Vern Express?
A: Yes. A certain number of buses are equipped with luggage and storage compartments, in which you’re welcome to put a bike or luggage. If a bus with a storage compartment isn’t available when you arrive to the Express stop, it should in the next few minutes. You’re also welcome to bring luggage or a bike into any bus, so long as it’s not entirely full of passengers.
Q: I hate waiting for the Express when it gets awfully cold and windy out during the winter. Is there anything that can be done?
A: Residents of The Vern have 24-hour GWorld access to the Somers Hall lobby and Funger Hall lobby, where they’re welcome to wait for The Vern Express.
Q: How can I receive updates on The Vern Express, including schedule changes and other information?
A: There are a variety of ways in which you can stay up-to-date on Express information.
a. Visit The Vern Express website.
b. During business hours, call Transportation & Parking Services (202-994-PARK); outside of business hours, call UPD (202-242-6111).
c. Schedules are posted at the primary Express stops on both campuses.
d. Sign up for text message updates about the Express or for the Express email listserv. Text message updates are used largely for Service Alerts that affect the immediate operations of the Express; the email listserv is largely used for Service Advisories that affect the operations of the Express over longer periods of time.
Q: How can I submit feedback about the Express?
A: Emergency feedback can be provided directly to Transportation & Parking Services during business hours (202-994-PARK) or to University Police outside of business hours (202-242-6111).
Other feedback can be directed to Transportation & Parking Services in a variety of ways:
a. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
b. Call us at 202-994-PARK (7275).
c. Send us a text message.
If possible and applicable, please include the bus number, driver name, and/or date and time of the incident in your feedback. While you are welcome to submit your feedback anonymously, providing your phone number and/or email address will enable us to follow-up with you directly. All feedback is treated confidentially with respect to the sender.