News Q & A: Inauguration Weekend (Last updated 1/16/09)

What are Metro's plans for Inauguration Day?
In anticipation of crowded trains and stations, Metrorail will operate continuous rush hour service for 17 consecutive hours, from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Inauguration Day, Tuesday, January 20, and stay open for two extra hours until 2 a.m. on Wednesday, January 21. Extra personnel will be on hand to help patrons get to and from the events.

Metro plans to extend its rush-hour bus service from 4 a.m. until 9 p.m. via 23 “Presidential” bus corridors to help get people to the Inauguration. Buses on local routes will operate on a normal Saturday schedule. However, with anticipated street closures around the National Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue for the Inaugural parade, Metrobus customers should be prepared for detours that will lengthen their trips. Bus customers are encouraged to plan significant extra time to travel through these areas. No vehicular traffic, including buses, is expected to be able to pass close to the U.S. Capitol or cross Pennsylvania Avenue.

MetroAccess will operate identical hours to Metrorail and Metrobus. However, with anticipated street closures around the National Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue for the parade, MetroAccess vehicles will not be able to service the Inauguration swearing-in ceremony. MetroAccess customers throughout the service area are encouraged to plan significant extra time to travel due to increased traffic. MetroAccess trip reservations are subject to cancellation if Metro determines that the trip would require MetroAccess to enter restricted or otherwise unserviceable locations.

Due to the changing nature of this event and heightened security, all information is subject to change. As more information becomes available, it will be updated on Metro’s Web site.

When is the Metrorail system open during Inauguration weekend?
The Metrorail system will be open during the following days and times during Inauguration weekend:

Saturday, January 17: 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. Sunday, January 18
Sunday, January 18: 7 a.m. to midnight
Monday, January 19: 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday, January 20
Tuesday, January 20: 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday, January 21

How many people are expected to take Metro on Inauguration Day?
Metro officials expect extremely crowded conditions on Inauguration Day. Metrorail stations and trains will be packed as people head to the Inauguration, and we expect even longer lines to get back into Metro stations after the Inauguration. Metro is recommending people consider staying downtown for lunch, a movie or a visit to a museum to help stagger the volume of riders in the Metrorail system after the President is sworn in and after the parade.

Will any Metrorail stations be closed on Inauguration Day?
Due to security measures, the Archives-Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter Metrorail station on Metro’s Green and Yellow lines and the Smithsonian Metrorail station on Metro’s Blue and Orange lines will be closed for most of Inauguration Day. They will reopen after the Inauguration parade around 6:30 p.m.

The Mt Vernon Sq/7th St-Convention Center Metrorail station on the Yellow and Green lines will close at 7:30 a.m., and the Judiciary Square Metrorail station on the Red Line will close at 4 p.m., due to their proximity to locations hosting Inaugural Balls. Metro encourages people to use nearby stations such as the Metro Center, Gallery Pl-Chinatown or Union Station Metrorail stations.

Which Metrorail stations are closest to the Inauguration?
Metro is encouraging people who are traveling to the Inauguration to use the following Metrorail stations: Capitol South, Eastern Market, Farragut North, Farragut West, Federal Center SW, Gallery Pl-Chinatown, L’Enfant Plaza, McPherson Square, Metro Center and Union Station.

Several downtown stations will be designated as entry/exit only on Inauguration Day to help move as many people as possible. The following Metrorail stations will be exit-only from 4 to 10:30 a.m.: Capitol South, Farragut West, Federal Center SW, Federal Triangle and McPherson Square. These stations are located within a 10-minute walk of another Metro station that will be open for entry.

Specific entrances at the following Metrorail stations will be designated as exit-only from 4 to 10:30 a.m.: Farragut North, Gallery Pl-Chinatown, L’Enfant Plaza, Metro Center, Stadium-Armory and Union Station. These stations have multiple entrances, and at least one entrance will be open for entries and exits.

The Archives/Navy Mem’l-Penn Quarter and Smithsonian Metrorail stations will be closed for security, but will reopen following the Inauguration parade around 6:30 p.m. Judiciary Square Metrorail station will close at 4 p.m. for security reasons.

Metrorail riders planning to attend Inauguration events on the National Mall may need to exit the Metrorail system a stop or two earlier or later than planned and walk long distances because of street closures prohibiting pedestrian traffic.

What Metrobus routes will service the Inauguration?
Metro plans to extend its rush-hour bus service from 4 a.m. until 9 p.m. via 23 “Presidential” bus corridors to help get people to the Inauguration. The buses are planned to arrive at regularly marked stops every 10 minutes or less along 23 bus routes throughout the day to and from the National Mall.

Metrobuses will be able to cross bridges closed to other traffic, will be permitted on roads closed to automobiles and will run bus-only through Georgetown from Wisconsin Avenue to Washington Circle bypassing regular traffic.

Will Metro operate extra bus service to area airports during Inauguration weekend?
Metro will run additional buses from Friday, January 16, through Wednesday, January 21, on the B30 Route, which runs from the Greenbelt Metrorail station on the Green Line to the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, and on the 5A Route, which will run a modified service from Rosslyn Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines to Washington Dulles International Airport. The 5A normally stops at L’Enfant Plaza and Rosslyn Metrorail stations, but will not service the Tysons-Westpark Transit Station or the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride Lot between January 16 and 21.

Buses will operate on a weekday enhanced schedule for the 5A and B30 routes with buses running every 15-20 minutes, instead of every 30 minutes during the six-day period.

What impact will the Inauguration have on Metro service for people with disabilities and senior citizens?
Security and environmental restrictions will make travel especially challenging for people with disabilities and senior citizens on Inauguration Day.

In the Metrorail system, riders may find it difficult to board packed trains and navigate crowded platforms. Many escalators will be turned off at strategic locations to help with crowd control, and customers will have to walk up or down escalators to enter or exit Metrorail stations. Elevator access is likely to be limited by large numbers of people attempting to use them.

Metrobus will operate special service on 23 “Presidential” bus corridors on Inauguration Day, but buses on local routes will likely be delayed by street closures and heavy traffic throughout the Washington region.

MetroAccess will operate its regular schedule on Sunday, January 18, and Monday, January 19, but with limited service to the National Mall area. Customers should expect delays. On Tuesday, January 20, MetroAccess will operate its regular schedule, but with no service to the Inauguration swearing-in ceremony and limited, if any, door-to-door service, particularly in the downtown core. Customers should expect major delays throughout the service area. To the extent allowable by road closures, MetroAccess will provide regular service after the parade. Customers planning to attend post-Inaugural celebrations and events in the downtown area should expect traffic congestion and delays.

MetroAccess subscription trips for January 17 through 20 are cancelled. If Metro determines that other trip reservations would require MetroAccess to enter restricted or otherwise unserviceable locations, those trip reservations may be cancelled.

How much will Metro charge for fares on Inauguration Day?
On Metrorail, Metro will charge rush-hour fares from the rail system’s 4 a.m. opening until 9 p.m. on Inauguration Day. Metrorail’s commemorative One-Day Pass with a special Inauguration design will be sold for $10 online and $7.80 at Metro sales offices and fare vending machines in advance of the event. The cost of the passes will be $10 at all sales locations on January 20. It is advised to purchase all farecards in advance.

On Metrobus, bus passengers can purchase a special $5 one-day Inauguration bus pass when they board a bus and receive the pass from operators, good for riding all day. Or Metro riders can pay the regular one-way bus fare of $1.35 with cash or $1.25 with a SmarTrip® card. Metrobuses in Virginia that service Metrorail stations and Metro’s special Inauguration bus routes that originate in Virginia will be free on Inauguration Day because the Virginia Department of Rail and Transportation is covering those fares.

Why is Metro charging rush hour fares on Inauguration Day?
Metro will charge rush hour fares on Inauguration Day to help offset the cost of the demand for providing rush-hour service. Metro does not yet have a final cost estimate for its Inauguration-related service, but transit agency managers anticipate increased maintenance, electricity and overtime costs. Metro plans to request the Federal government reimburse Metro for additional expenses to provide additional service during Inauguration Weekend.

Can I park at any Metro parking lot on Inauguration Day?
Automobile parking will be available at all but one Metrorail station on Inauguration Day. The Minnesota Avenue Metrorail station parking lot will be closed to the public because that lot is reserved for use by Metro employees who are working on Inauguration Day.

Metro has about 60,000 parking spaces in 29 lots and 22 garages throughout the Washington region, and they are expected to fill up. Reserved parking rules will not be in effect.

When do Metro parking facilities open on Inauguration Day?
Metro parking facilities will open at 3:30 a.m. on Inauguration Day.

How much will Metro charge for parking on Inauguration Day?
Metro will charge $4 for parking (cash only) at all Metro operated parking lots on Inauguration Day. However, parking will be free from Saturday, January 17, through Monday, January 19.

What form of payment will Metro accept for parking on Inauguration Day?
Metro will accept cash only for parking at its lots on Inauguration Day.

Will Metro prevent vehicles from parking the night before Inauguration Day?
Automobiles will not be permitted to enter Metro parking lots after 11 p.m. on Monday, January 19. Vehicles parked at Metro lots must leave by 2 a.m. or by the time the station closes, soon after 2 a.m. or risk being ticketed and towed.

Is Metro selling any commemorative items?
Metro is selling commemorative paper farecards, One-Day Passes and SmarTrip® cards that riders are able to purchase and use in the days leading up to, during and after the Inauguration.

In addition, Metro has published a free commemorative walking guide and map illustrating the closest locations of various Metrorail stations to the Inaugural swearing-in ceremony and Presidential Parade. The brochure is currently available online and will be available at all Metrorail stations before the Inauguration.

Where can I buy a commemorative farecard?
The commemorative paper farecard is available for purchase from vending machines in Metrorail stations.

The commemorative One-Day Pass is available for purchase from Metro’s Web site and vending machines in Metrorail stations.

Metro’s commemorative Barack Obama Inaugural SmarTrip® card is available for purchase at 21 CVS/pharmacy stores throughout the Washington region, Metro sales offices located at Metro Center, the Pentagon and Metro’s headquarters building at 600 5th Street, NW, and from Metro’s Web site. The commemorative SmarTrip® card can be purchased for $10 each without fare value, or for $20, which includes $10 fare value loaded onto the card. CVS stores will only sell the $10 commemorative SmarTrip® card without fare value.

What is Metro doing to communicate with customers?
Metro has created a special Inauguration Web page to provide information and updates leading up to Inauguration Weekend. Customers also will be able to sign up for special e-alerts about the Inauguration, which will only be issued when Metro has news relating to service for the Inauguration and service disruptions throughout the four-day weekend.

Metro created a special video that offers tips to make travel by Metro as safe and smooth as possible on Inauguration Day. The video can be viewed at .

What can I do to help speed my trip on Metro on Inauguration Day?
Purchase either a One-Day Pass or be sure to have enough value on your SmarTrip® card or farecard to make a round trip so you don’t have to wait in line to add fare. Each passenger must have his or her own farecard or SmarTrip® card.

It is strongly recommended that customers bring as little as possible with them when traveling through the Metrorail system. This will help cut down on the possibility that items are left behind, resulting in the need for Metro Transit Police or Transportation Security Administration officers to respond to reports of unattended items.

What is Metro doing to increase security for the Inauguration?
The Metro Transit Police Department and the Transportation Security Administration are collaborating to enhance security at Metrorail stations and on trains and buses during Inauguration Weekend. The TSA will provide Metro with additional teams of TSA officers with canines to patrol stations and trains to supplement Metro’s team of explosive ordnance detection officers and canines.

What should I do if I see something suspicious?
Report any suspicious behavior, unusual activity or unattended items to a uniformed Metro employee, police officer, or call the Metro Transit Police at 202-962-2121.

Will Metrorail station restrooms remain open on Inauguration Day?
All Metrorail station restrooms will be closed for security reasons on Inauguration Day. However, Metro is planning to have 150 portable restrooms available at key Metrorail stations where Metro owns the land surrounding the station. Portable restrooms are not permitted to block sidewalks downtown.

Are bicycles allowed in the Metrorail system on Inauguration Day?
Bicycles will be prohibited on the rail system throughout the weekend, from Saturday, January 17, through Inauguration Day, Tuesday, January 20. Bicycles are permitted on bicycle racks located on the front of Metrobuses.

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