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Inauguration transportation varies

January 17, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

TRI-STATE -- Kline Tours never has organized a bus trip to a presidential inauguration before.

But shortly after President-elect Barack Obama won November's election, Garry Kline started getting phone calls asking if he was offering day trips to the inauguration of the nation's first black president.

"I got a few calls ... and then the calls kept coming in," Kline said.

Soon, he had to arrange for a second bus.

Kline said people know what they would be facing Tuesday with traffic and crowds and wanted someone else to do the driving. That's what make the bus trips a popular choice.

Crowd estimates for the inauguration have ranged from 2 million to 5 million.

And each time he books a ticket, Kline explains riders are paying $40 for a ride to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration -- not a front seat at the ceremony.

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"I can't make any guarantees that anyone is actually going to be able to see it," he said. "I don't want to give anyone the impression that you're going to walk up and shake Obama's hand."

Kline's first bus pickup will be at 5:30 a.m. in Greencastle, Pa. Once in Washington, buses are being grouped at RFK Stadium and shuttles will run continuously to the National Mall.

Kline said he's heard 10,000 buses could be arriving Tuesday.

"The traffic is probably going to be overwhelming," he said.

Donna Hubbard of Falling Waters, W.Va., said she decided to take the Kline bus after deciding driving into the city would be nearly impossible.

Kline's buses are allowing six hours for what normally would be an hour and a half trip to RFK Stadium.

"Hopefully, that's enough time to get there," he said. "There's no history or anything to go on. There's never been an event like this."

Other transportation

Greencastle (Pa.) Borough Councilwoman Michele Emmett said she and her husband are driving, but are making the trip Monday instead of Tuesday in an effort to beat the traffic.

Jonathan Ford and John Sinnott live in Martinsburg, W.Va. -- within walking distance of the local MARC train. The couple have tickets to Tuesday's inauguration, and say they'll take the train to Washington.

"I think it was going to be the most convenient way," Ford said. "I think traffic is just going to be horrendous."

Ford and Sinnott took advantage of an Inauguration Day deal being advertised by MARC. The round-trip ticket to Washington was only $25.

According to the MARC Web site, however, all train tickets for Tuesday have been sold.

Metro officials also are expecting huge crowds on Inauguration Day.

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