D.C. Metro, Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. has an excellent subway. We rode the Metro everywhere, so we had no need for a car.
The Metro sells SmarTrip cards which intially come loaded with $25.00 worth of fares, and are rechargeable. I bought 4 SmarTrip cards online about 2 weeks before our trip. They were mailed directly to my house, so we were ready to travel on the Metro when we arrived in DC. The SmarTrip cards are great - you don't have to buy separate tickets or fish around for money. You just take your card and slide it over the SmarTrip logo sign at the entry and exit points. How much more convenient can it get?
The cards also allow the Metro system to record the time you enter and leave. They can be used on the bus as well, and if you transfer within the transfer period (two hours), they know that, too, and you will not be charged an additional fare. That is one heck of a smart card!
After learning to ride the metros in Europe, I became accustomed to the safety, cleanliness, efficiency, and excitement of traveling underground. The D.C. metro system leaves little to be desired. Each metro station is marked on street level with a brown column and colored stripes at the top to indicate which metro lines can be boarded at that station. Rides cost from $1.35 to $3.25, depending on the time of day and distance traveled. Fares can be purchased with cash or credit from machines located in every station, and SmarTrip cards can be purchased for those wishing to have a more permanent method of payment. Unlike European systems, one must swipe their payment card upon entering and exiting the metro, making it nearly impossible to ride for free until caught and fined. During peak times the trains run every few minutes, and changing lines is well marked and fast. The stations are well lit and felt very safe. Each station has an overall metro map schematic, as well as a detailed street map of the area around that particular stop. Trains run until around 3AM on the weekends, an hour past "last call" at the bars so getting home after a night on the town is quick and painless. The only complaint I have heard is that all the stations look alike. That's true, but the architectural theme is pleasant and very well maintained.
while in the city we used the metro and it's really convenient; you can get a map at each station and see how much you need to pay from one point to another; buy a ticket or a card if you'll do several rides; you can by tickets from the automatic tellers at each station
Every one raves about the Metro so here it is. The website below has every thing you need, maps, times, ticket, phone numbers, it is a great site to get you where your going. I did take the Metro train while on business in DC and it was very easy and quick.
Entrances to each metro station are marked by tall brown columns with a large "M" on each side and with the name of the station, just like on my picture of Pentagon City Station in Arlington. The color stripes at the top (blue and yellow on my picture) show which Metrorail lines serve that station. The stations are always marked on all maps of Washington DC, I saw.
To get to the nearest metro station you can:
- take a metrobus
- take a shuttle van/bus from your hotel (ask at the desk).
Keep in mind that in a downtown the metrorail goes underground whereas outside they often run above ground with the station located above as well. Follow the link below to see up-to-date list of metro stations/stops.
There are numerous metro fares, passes and farecards available:
- for metrorail, for metrobus and for both;
- valid for single trip, for 1 day or 7 days.
I purchased metrorail fares and once One Day Pass.
SINGLE METRORAIL TRIP ($1.35 - $3.90)
To purchase right metrorail fare in farecard vending machines in metrorail stations I had to know how much it was. There is a list of all metro stations and fares to them put on the kiosk by the gates (enlarge my picture).
There are two fares shown:
- regular fare (peak fare in effect on weekdays from opening to 9.30 am, 3-7 pm and 2 am to closing; $1.35 - $3.90)
- reduced fare (off peak fare all other times; $1.35 - $2.35)
Example fares to Federal Center SW metro station close to US capitol (reduced/regular; time of travel):
- Union Station: $1.35/$1.35; 16 min.
- Archives - Navy Memorial: $1.35/$ 1.35; 10 min.
- Tenleytown-AU: $1.35/$2.00; 24 min.
- Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington $1.35/$1.50; 15 min.
ONE DAY PASS
I paid $6.50 for the pass purchased in a vending machine. It was valid for one day of unlimited Metrorail travel on weekdays after 9:30 a.m. or all day on Saturdays, Sundays or federal holidays. Pass expires at the end of the operating day: 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays, midnight on other nights. All Metrorail passes are gate-activated. The faregate activates the pass the first time it is used and prints the last valid date on the pass.
Follow the link below to get up-to-date information on passes and farecards.
I purchased both single farecards and One Day Pass at farecard vending machines in metrorail stations. They are numerous and always located just before the gates.
There are two kinds of farecard vending machines:
- marked Farecards (on my picture) sells single farecards only;
- marked Passes/Farecards accept cash and credit cards, and sell passes, and single or multiple farecards.
Metro fares are available online, in metro sales offices, retail outlets, commuter stores and metrobus divisions. Follow the link below to get up-to-date information.
To use the vending machines at metrorail stations small bills are recommended. There are no change machines in stations and farecard machines provide only up to $5.00 in change (in coins). The machines accept coins of 5 (nickels), 10 (dimes) and 25 c (quarters) and bills 1, 5, 10 and 20 dollars.
PASSES/FARECARDS vending machine
The machine, on my picture, accepts both cash and credit cards (for sure of Visa and Mastercard system) and sells both passes and single or multiple farecards. I used it to buy two One Day Passes ($6.50 each)
It had a display screen in the center of the machine which guided me through my transaction. I simply followed the prompts. The A, B and C buttons are located to the left of the screen. They are used to choose your purchase:
A - pass
B - single farecard
C - multiple farecards
When I chose what to buy (A) and how many (2) I inserted money (alternatively you may insert and quickly remove your credit card). Remember not to insert more than $5 over your price. Well, the machine gave me 2 One Day Passes and with nice casino-like sound got my change in coins.
FARECARDS vending machine
It doesn't accept credit cards and sells exclusively single farecards. Keep in mind that you purchase single farecard of particular exact value (you must know it), not a farecard to specified station.
When I put money in the slot (not more than 5$ over the fare value) I selected the value of my farecard by pressing the minus (-) or plus (+) button until the value I wanted was displayed. Then I pressed the push for farecard button (red one - I forgot it at first attempt) and removed my farecard. My change was returned in coins near the bottom of the machine.
When I visit our nation's capitol, I use the Metro. It is very easy to use, very cost effective and surprisingly, safe and clean.
Monuments and places of historic interest are easily found at conveniently situated stops. Traffic and parking are a nightmare in DC, so if you want to spend your time seeing the sights instead of driving in circles, try the metro.
Their website has a very cool interactive map, where you can determine what is nearby that stop. Plan your trip in advance so you will know which stops and routes to take - once you've done that, your day or days in DC will be much less stressful.
I've read that traffic is terrible in Washington D.C. but I never had to deal with it, thanks to their great subway/metro system. I had never taken the subway before, but the color-coded routes were easy to figure out and they went everywhere I wanted to go : )
I only wish Seattle had public transportation like this!!! Check out the website below for a map of D.C.'s metro lines.
The metro system in DC is limited to 5 somehow intersecting lines. It is not like Mexico's, NYC or Chicago.
However it covers main cities in Mariland, Virginia and DC. ck their website for a map.
It opens at 5:30am Mon-Friday
closes at 12:00am (midnight) Sun -Thurs.
opens at 8:am Sat & Sun
closes at 3:00 am Fri - Sat nights
so you could enjoy the nightlife, at least until 3 am every friday night and saturday night
the price varies depending in how many stations you will cross. the minimum to go from one stop to another is $1.15
If you are planning to use the metro more than 3 times then it is better to take the day pass which was around $6, I think it went up
There is a small transfer ticket box as soon as you pass the metro ticketing entrance. Grab a transfer ticket in case you need to transfer to a bus line. The bus will discount $0.50 cnts from the normal fare. (and sometimes is free for special buses ie. the cue bus that goes to GMU from the vienna metro)
Note that during rush hour the metro runs more frequently , about every 5-10 minutes but after rush hour and at night it only has a frecuency of every 20 minutes.
Also note that in some stations there are more than one entrance. (south and north , etc) So if someone is picking you up, make sure the person tells you which side to wait.
NO eating or drinking is allowed inside the metro premisses, just in case. I noticed that in other countries there is no problem.
To travel to see the museums, the smithsonian and other important places inside the heart of DC it is most practical to use the bus (the circulator which costs about 1 dollar or $3 dollars a day pass). the metro has only a few metro stops (4-5) inside the Capital.
ck the circulator http://www.dccirculator.com
It's insane to drive around DC and frankly, doesn't make any sense at all. The Metro is convenient, clean and safe. My only problem with it is that it's not open 24 hours. But then you can take a cab or bus. Oh, and during cherry blossom season when all of the tourists come in, it's so crowded. Don't act like an idiot on the Metro either, it pisses the commuters off.
Your best bet is to get a weekly pass if you are going to be there that long. The information about the passes are on the website.
there is not a one set fare for the subway and bus. You are charged by distance. You often do not know how much your destination costs until after you have already arrived. It is important to carry small change and single dollar bills so that you can exit the station.
Keep your ticket with you once you get it because you will need it when you exit.
DC's metro system is often regarded as one of the cleanest, safest and best run systems anywhere. Those of us who use it daily to commute are a bit more jaded about it, but if you're visiting DC this is the best way to get around town.
Most trips within the City are $1.20 (as of July 1) and the trains run pretty regularly throughout the day. One day passes are available for $6.00.
DC's Metro is noted for its many, long escalators. (Sometimes they actually work). If you don't want to offend the locals, please make sure you stand on the right side of the escalator so those wishing to walk down aren't blocked.
The Washington, DC Metro is a 103-mile rapid transit system serving Washington, D.C., and the surrounding areas of Maryland and Virginia. Planning for Metro began in the 1950s, construction began in 1969, and the first segment opened for operation in 1976.