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Confused by fare options for DC metro

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Oct 13th, 2012, 06:37 AM
  #1
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Confused by fare options for DC metro

Husband and I are arriving in DC next Saturday and staying until Wednesday. We're staying near King Street Metro in Alexandria. We will likely take the metro into the city 3 or 4 of the days. We'll want to arrive when the museums open so we'll be traveling at peak times. Is there some kind of metro pass we should get or should we just do individual tickets? I looked at the metro website but found the options confusing. Thanks.
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Oct 13th, 2012, 07:32 AM
  #2
 
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If you use a paper ticket you will pay a surcharge for each ride vs. having one of the SmartCards. Fares are all based on both time of day and the distance traveled.
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Oct 13th, 2012, 07:47 AM
  #3
 
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The WMATA site is confusing, I agree.

As an example, assuming you travel to and from the museums during rush hour (weekdays only), one weekend RT and two rush hour RTs would cost $24.70 (cash) or $18.70+$5.00 (purchase of SmarTrip card), per person. The difference is $1, and you have the convenience of not having to purchase a ticket when you want to travel. Plus, I believe there is still the 10% bonus if you load the card with $20 or more. The card can be added to if you travel more, plus it makes a lovely souvenir of your visit to DC when you return home.

Hopefully this helps!
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Oct 13th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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I agree with the above about purchasing a SmarTrip card. It's a worthy $5 investment. Besides avoiding the $1/ride surcharge you get reduced or free (depending on your age) transfer to buses including the Circulator bus which can be very handy for DC visitors. It's more durable than the paper tickets which are notorious for getting demagnetized by cell phones.

You can buy them on line or at many Metro stations. I looked at the website and was surprised to see that King Street isn't one of them yet. But you can also buy them at many CVS Pharmacy's. Here is the one in Old Town that sells them: http://www.wmata.com/fares/purchase/...es_results.cfm They are $10 - $5 for the card and preloaded with $5.

Also wanted to add that if you are mostly headed to the sights around the National Mall you can get a train out of King Street right after 9:30 am and in many cases still be downtown at your destination by 10 am.
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Oct 13th, 2012, 11:10 AM
  #5
 
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Definitely get the SmartTrip card. I go to DC a couple times a year and did this for my last trip - not only do you recoup the $5 fee for the card pretty quickly, it is just much more convinient than the paper tickets.
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Oct 13th, 2012, 03:06 PM
  #6
 
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I too found the WMATA website not very user friendly. I am in D.C for 2.5 days in November and wasn't sure if I should get a SmarTrip card simply because I think I will only be using public transport for 1 of those days.

Would anyone recommend it for just one day? One the day I would be likely to use it I plan on going to the National Cathedral and then back to the National Mall and walking down to the Capitol Building. Would it be worth getting or should I just pay each time I get on the bus?
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Oct 13th, 2012, 09:52 PM
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I wouldn't spend the additional money for a SmarTrip card if you are only planning two trips; you would only recoup $1 for each trip. Keep in mind that you'll need exact fare for the bus to/from National Cathedral (there is no subway nearby), as the bus drivers do not make change.
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Oct 14th, 2012, 06:28 PM
  #8
 
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The buses take Smartrip
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Oct 15th, 2012, 05:07 AM
  #9
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Great information, thanks so much! We'll definitely be getting the SmarTrip card.
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