UPDATE: OK, here's how you can tell which buses aren't coming: Go to Metro's web site. (Yes, this is only a solution for those of you at your computers or with wifi-enabled mobile phones). Look up the timetable for your route. Every trip marked with an "H" is canceled; other trips remain on their regular schedules. Metro spokeswoman Linda Thielke notes that Metro has been planning service reductions around the holiday since September, and says the extra days were added because so many buses are out of service. "We needed a couple of extra days to get all the repairs done." About 200 Metro buses are currently undergoing maintenance. By 2010, Thielke says, every Metro bus should be equipped with a GPS transponder that will allow the agency to track them in real time. Currently, sites like MyBus and OneBusAway rely on transponders attached to poles at bus stops; if a bus is rerouted or doesn't run, those tracking systems (which all rely on the same database of information) break down.
Original post follows:
Didn't know December 29, 30, and 31 were holidays? Neither did I, until I discovered that most Metro buses are operating on a "reduced weekday schedule" during "this holiday period." Wondering what a "reduced weekday schedule" is? You won't find out from Metro, whose web site doesn't define it anywhere. (Sunday, Saturday, and regular "holiday" schedules do have specific meanings). The nearest I can tell, "reduced weekday" service seems to mean that many routes (particularly South End routes; see the list here) are running less frequently but on no discernible schedule.
Why is today considered a "holiday"? Why does Metro's web site have no specific route information for people who actually need to get to work at a certain time? (This service reduction was in the works long before last week's snowstorms, so Metro had plenty of time to let riders know it was coming and w3hat it meant). What is a "reduced weekday schedule," and why does it seem to impact South End routes the most? I have calls into Metro to find out.