This summer both Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6d and the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly passed resolutions calling on the District to enforce the ban on bus idling. But it’s actually quite easy for residents to ‘lead’ the enforcement.

First, know the basics.

  • DC law states “The engine of…a public vehicle for hire…on public or private space shall not idle for more than three minutes while the motor vehicle is parked, stopped, or standing, including for the purposes of operating air conditioning….” 20 DCMR § 900.1
  • There are three permissible exceptions: 1. idling of non-commercial vehicles, 2. idling when commercial vehicles are operating power take-off equipment such as dumping beds, cement mixers, content delivery, or shredders, and 3. idling for up to five minutes to operate heating equipment when temperatures are at or below 32 degrees F.
  • Tickets for first violations is $1,000; subsequent violations, up to $8,000

When you notice a violation, notify the Metropolitan Police Department in one of several ways:

  • Call 202-698-5565 to reach MPD’s Motor Carrier Unit, a special operations patrol
  • Call 202-727-4582 to reach the Harbour Police Station in case the violation is in its vicinity. Although this unit’s focus is on maritime issues, they have agreed to enforce bus idling if it occurs nearby.
  • Call 311 to reach the District’s one-stop service shop for service requests; they will route your call to the nearest available officer.

Additionally, to facilitate proper bus operations:

We continue to work with and request that District officials develop a sustainable tour bus management system that successfully provides routing information and proper off-street parking facilities for commercial vehicles. Without vigilance, the problem will only intensify as the volume of tourism, special events and development continues to increase within our neighborhood.

By Kael Anderson, the president of the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA).

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