a word on public transportation

I should start by saying that I am indeed grateful to live in a city with a semi-functional public transit system. I have no intention of getting a car any time soon, for a variety of reasons, so it’s wonderful to have a rail and bus system that can get me all over the metro. It’s also nice that pretty much anybody can be found on the train or the circulator: tourists, schoolkids, summer interns, and regular working folk. WMATA has had some serious safety and efficiency issues lately, including a horrible crash last summer that killed 9, mysterious delays and stoppages, nasty burny smells, and seemingly endless weekend trackwork that forces station closures or track-sharing. But still, SmarTrip cards don’t expire and the system is generally cleaner than other subways (I’m looking at you, El).

The escalators at Rosslyn. I think walking up this beast equals a workout, don't you?

And now, for your edification, I present some useful information for a safe, efficient, and semi-less-stressful Trip On The Washington DC Metro.

1. Figure out where you need to go before you get to the station. Seriously, your life will be so much easier if you can say with confidence, “I’m taking the Red Line in the direction of Glenmont and I’m getting off at Union Station.” Or something. Know your transfers and which side of the platform you need to be on.

Hey, we could live in Osaka...

2. Pay attention to the turnstiles in the station. If you’re using a paper farecard (which I don’t recommend because they cost much more and they get lost and/or destroyed easily), don’t try to use a SmarTrip express lane and hold up the crowd behind you. Even those pesky summer interns have to get to their cubicles on time.

3. Walk on the left, stand on the right. Learn it and live it.

Don't act like this clown from unsuckdcmetro.blogspot.com (on the Yellow Line).

4. If it’s rainy or cold, buses and trains WILL be more crowded. There will be many more passengers and we will all be carrying umbrellas, boots, lunch totes, messenger bags, and the Express. Never put your wet umbrella or shopping bag on the seat next to you, and don’t be afraid to get a little cozy. Just, you know, have a mint.

So those are the major survival tips for Washington’s Metro. If you get totally lost and confused, you can always ask a local for help; we want you to enjoy your visit, and if you’re polite and not too stupid, we don’t mind pointing you in the right direction. And now, just a little ditty to celebrate the Metro! (Check out GoRemy’s stuff, he’s pretty talented.)


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Laura Wolfe
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 23:13:39

    That video made me so excited to ride the Metro with you. Anacostia!


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