Inauguration Day 2009 set the all time ridership record for Metro at about 1.54 million trips on rail and bus combined. The rail ridership in 2009 alone was 1.12 million trips.
Metro is preparing for a crowded system this year as well, spokesman Dan Stessel told Patch. WMATA estimates 600,000 to 800,000 people will use Metrorail for the 2013 inauguration events.
Metro has been working with external partners like the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Park Police and other agencies involved in inauguration activities to help alleviate some of the crowding that plagued metro during the 2009 inauguration.
The transit agency is doing everything it can to communicate with riders about their best routes and about planning ahead to help reduce congestion and confusion, Stessel said.
Metro's website offers a "What's My Best Route" tool here. And wherever Metro tells you to get off the train to get to the Mall, that's the station you should use to go home to help "distribute the crowd" throughout the system, said Stessel.
Another key point is to avoid making a transfer, said Stessel.
Transferring puts "acute pressure on the transfer stations," he said. "Instead of using capacity on a single train you are actually using capacity on two trains."
From most stops downtown you will have to walk several blocks to get the Mall, and transferring will not necessarily improve your travel time, Stessel explained.
Though they are expecting a smaller crowd this year, agencies are staffing at levels equal to that of 2009, explained Stessel. Inauguration Day will be an "all hands on deck" day for Metro, meaning thousands of Metro employees will be working inside stations and operating the system.
Outside of stations, Stessel said the U.S. Secret Service plans to have improved signage. Support personnel armed with bull horns will be outside stations to direct crowds and suggest alternate routes.
Above all, plan ahead. Here's some information to help you do that:
- Metrorail will open at 4 a.m. Monday and close at 2 a.m. Tuesday.
- Metrorail will provide 17 consecutive hours of rush-hour service — from 4 a.m. until 9 p.m. Peak fares will be in effect during that time.
- Metro highly recommends finding a way to get downtown that does not involve transferring lines. You will have to walk in most cases, no matter what line you take, because the main Mall metro stations are closed to control crowds. Use metro's "What's My Best Route" tool here.
- There will be no RushPlus service Monday.
- Metrobus will operate weekday rush hour service in the morning, followed by an early rush hour in the afternoon. Many routes will operate on detours due to Inaugural events.
- MetroAccess will operate identical hours to Metrorail and Metrobus. Customers are encouraged to plan extra time due to increased traffic throughout the service area.
Metro Service Changes and Closures
- Select Metro stations will provide access to the National Mall. The closest open stations on Inauguration Day are L'Enfant Plaza, Metro Center and Gallery Place/China Town. Other nearby stations may be preferable depending on which direction you are coming from. Use metro's "What's My Best Route" tool here to plan ahead.
- The following stations near the Mall will be closed Monday: Smithsonian, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter, Mount Vernon Square/Convention Center.
- Several downtown Metrorail station entrances will be designated as "entry only" or "exit only" to safely manage crowds. Follow the signs.
- Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed between the Capitol and White House for the Inaugural parade. Even if you are walking, you will not be able to cross Pennsylvania Avenue. Metro has provided a walking map of Downtown DC on Inauguration Day.
Metrobus Service Changes and Closures
- Additionally, street closures around the National Mall will mean many Metrobus routes will operate on detours or will operate in segments. Closures will impact more than 50 Metrobus routes.
- Bus riders should consult Metro's map of temporary bus drop-off and pick-up locations near the National Mall.
- To determine your fare, go to Metro's station information page. Click on your originating station and then select your destination station. The results will show both peak and off-peak fare rates for your one-way trip.
- Metro is offering a $15 commemorative SmarTrip® card that comes pre-loaded with a One Day Pass for unlimited Metrorail travel and free Metrobus travel on Inauguration Day.
- Metro strongly recommend purchasing your farecard or SmarTrip® card ahead of time to avoid long lines on Inauguration Day. According to Metro, each traveler age 5 or older needs his or her own card to enter and exit the Metrorail system. You can buy cards online at wmata.com, transit store or at any Metrorail station, Metro sales office or local CVS, Giant or Safeway stores.
- Before getting on metro, make sure you have loaded enough money onto each card to cover the entire roundtrip.
- Metro charges a $1 surcharge for each Metrorail trip taken with a paper farecard.
- Peak fares will be in effect from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday.
- Normal weekday parking rates will apply at Metrorail parking facilities. Parking fees will be charged as you exit the garage and may be paid by SmarTrip® or credit card.
The Huntington station has a few parking options to keep in mind:
- There are 3,617 all-day spaces, for which fees are collected at exit gates from 10:30 a.m. to system closing. Parking in these spaces costs $4.75 and must be paid with SmarTrip or credit card.
- Between 15 and 17 spaces are allocated for multi-day use of up to 10 days. Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no charge for multi-day parking beyond the regular fee. Access multi-day parking by entering the Huntington III Parking Garage through the lower level entrance at Huntington Ave. at Fenwick Dr. and proceeding to Row B of the facility. Park in spaces signed "Multi-day Parking.”
There are 34 bike racks and 12 lockers at this metro station.
The Eisenhower Ave. station has 10 bike racks and six bike lockers for those who wish to bike to that station.
For complete inauguration coverage, see the Greater Alexandria Patch 2013 Presidential Inauguration special section here.