The National Park Service has plans to have in service a number of new transportation options for visitors to the National Mall and Memorial Parks and Arlington National Cemetery in time for the National Cherry Blossom Festival at the end of March. The first of these options is a shuttle within Arlington National Cemetery that was scheduled to begin on Monday, Feb. 20.
The interpretative service in Arlington National Cemetery will run from the visitor center to the NPS’ Arlington House, located atop the cemetery’s highest point, and back. Hours of operation will be from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily, April through September, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. October through March. Cost will be $8.75 per person.
On March 12, an express bus will begin a loop route from Union Station, to the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the Martin Luther King Memorial, the Smithsonian Metro station and back. Hours of operation will be 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. March through September, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. October through February based on demand. Cost of service will be $5 per person for each boarding.
ANC Tours by Martz Gray Line will run these new services, as well as a $1 per boarding shuttle during the Cherry Blossom Festival from March 24 through April 15. That service will pick up visitors at Haines Point.
The NPS hopes to soon complete a contract to provide interpretive tours similar to the service that was provided by the previous concessioner Landmark Services Tourmobile. Also in time for the festival, there will be at least one Capital Bikeshare station placed within the National Mall and Memorial Parks. The NPS has been working with the District Department of Transportation and plans to have five stations on and near the Mall in the future. The first station is planned for the intersection of Ohio Drive and West Basin Drive. During three weeks of the festival, the NPS will also provide bike racks for self-parking at Hain’s Point and at the south lawn of the Jefferson Memorial.
The NPS is also working on a commercial use authorization that will allowpedicabs to operate on the National Mall, although that plan must still go through the compliance and public-comment process.
The temporary contracts with Martz and for the interpretive tour — awarded on a sole source basis because of the need to quickly provide transportation for visitors — will expire on Dec. 31, 2014, and cannot be renewed or extended.