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Metro question

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Kearney, Nebraska
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Metro question

I looked at the FAQ's on this forum but I'm still a little confused:

1. We will be in DC for 7 days so we plan on getting the 7 day farecard for $58 ea. Can I buy that at any metro station?

2. Are the above cards good on the busses too? Or just the metro?

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Metro question

That pass is only good on the trains. It will not work on the buses. There is no pass that works on both buses and trains.

Are you sure you need the 7-Day Fast Pass? Most tourists are fine with the 7-Day Short Trip Pass? You will have to have a SmarTrip card to put the Fast Pass into, which will cost you $5 more per person.

Edited: 7:46 pm, February 03, 2013
Kearney, Nebraska
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2. Re: Metro question

Ok I looked at the manta website again and YES I think the short trip pass would suit us better.

So I just want to make sure I get this straight-the short trip pass costs an additional $5 . . .can that $5 be applied to fares that go over the $3.50?

Also as long as we don't go over a $3.50 during rush hours then we don't owe extra? For example, say our metro cost is $5 at 12pm-no extra cost?

Do most visitors JUST get a short trip pass or do they also get a buss pass? What would you suggest? We're going to the National Mall, Georgetown, Arlington cemetery, Old Town Alexandria, and a few yet to be decided places near downtown DC.

Kearney, Nebraska
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3. Re: Metro question

Also, can I get the short trip pass at any metro? Do I convert a regular SmartTrip card to a short trip card?

I hope it's all pretty self-explanatory once I'm there. I've used the metro in Chicago before and this just seems so much more complicated to me from what I've read.

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Metro question

You don't provide the most critical part of your trips: where you are coming from, that is where you are staying in DC. That makes all the difference as to what is your best option.

You do not need the SmarTrip card for a Short Trip Pass, It is a paper pass that you use for 7 consecutive days. So it does not incur the extra $5 cost of buying a SmarTrip card. You seem to understand the $3.50 limitation OK. Outside of the peak hours, it makes no difference how much the trip costs, the pass covers it.

There is no one answer that fits most visitors. It all depends on where they are staying, how long their visit is and what their plans are. But for many visitors, the 7-Day Short Trip pass is the best option unless they will need to use a lot of buses.

Washington DC...
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5. Re: Metro question

You can get a Short Trip Pass at any Metro station.

Kearney, Nebraska
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6. Re: Metro question

Well, we're coming from Dulles and staying in Crystal City. I'd already planned on taking a taxi from the airport since it will be much more convenient for my family of 4 (with 2 young kids) than the metro. So not planning on using the Metro to get to-from our hotel.

Washington DC...
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7. Re: Metro question

The critical point is that you are staying in Crystal City and coming from there each day. That puts you quite close to nearly all the usual tourist sites, so the Short Trip Pass should work just fine. (It would not work well for a tourist staying out near the end of a Metro line.) If you decide you want to take a bus somewhere, like the National Cathedral, you can pay cash.

Taking a taxi from Dulles is a good idea, IMHO. It will take you directly to your hotel with a minimum of hassle.

Washington DC...
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8. Re: Metro question

Just an FYI, Metro hasn't made it to Dulles yet. They are working on it, but it's still a few years away. So, taxi or bus would be your standard options to and from the airport. (Or, hotel shuttle, if available.)

Huntington Beach, CA
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9. Re: Metro question

Is the Short Trip pass the same as SmarTrip pass? My biggest problem is not understanding how to ride and pay for the Metro.

jc

Washington DC...
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10. Re: Metro question

No, SmarTrip and Short Trip are completely different. Short Trip passes are only during non-rush hour times for fares less than 3.50, and they are good for a week.

SmarTrip cards are the primary payment vehicle for Metro used by most Washington area commuters and others that use the Metro on any kind of regular basis. They have the ability to support multiple accounts such as employer contribution and personal contribution etc. They cost $5.00 and will allow you to travel the system anytime for regular cost fares.

So, Short trip would be good if you were going to spend a week here and plan on making multiple short trips per day on the metro to various destinations. I find Washington to be a very walkable city, but if you aren't a walker, this may make sense for you. Keep in mind that during the time short trip is good for, Metro is operating on a train every 15 min. Schedule. So, be prepared to wait for a bit to catch the train. Also, Metro is undergoing a lot of back logged maintenance for the foreseeable future. That means that nights and weekends you can encounter delays caused by "single tracking" trains or "bus bridges." the latter means you get out at one station and board a bus which takes you to a station several stops away and then you continue your trip.

These disruptions can add 30 to 45 minutes to your trip. You can check www.wmata.com for current outages and disruptions. There are also iPhone apps that will help navigate the system and notify you of outages.