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Getting around with limited mobility in Washington, DC

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Apr 16th, 2013, 06:28 AM
  #1
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Getting around with limited mobility in Washington, DC

I will be visiting Washington, DC with my brother-in-law and sister next week. My sister has cancer and it has recently spread and, although she is able to walk, she tires very easily and cannot walk long distances. This trip is one she very much wants to take, and postponing it is not an option.

We will be there for 6 days, so we do not have to be in a hurry. My question is how to best do this. We will have a rental car. If we divide the mall and monuments into sections, I'm thinking that will help.....do one end of the mall (Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam, etc) in one day. The next doing the Capitol, Post Office, etc, However, even the distance between these can be a long walk. Are there golf carts or something that can be rented to get from one monument to the next?

Arlington Cemetery is a must, so that will be one whole day. I believe you can pay to ride a trolley though the cemetery??

She really wants a boat ride on the Potomoc. I think you can take a boat tour to Mount Vernon?

I'm in the process of researching all of this, but I know the responses here are so helpful. Any suggestions for transportation and itinerary would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, and I should mention, she WILL not get in a wheelchair....so that is not an option.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 09:59 AM
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Topping
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Apr 16th, 2013, 11:11 AM
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If you are staying in DC, I recommend forgetting the rental car and just using taxis four or five times a day -- much easier than searching for parking and then finding you are still quite far from the site you want to visit (possibly cheaper too as hotel parking can be $30/day).

If you are staying outside the city, drive in and park for the day in a garage and use taxis from there; they will get you as closes as possible to the places you want to be.

The Arlington Cemetery bus tour and the Potomac boat ride should be ideal for your group. I hope you all have a wonderful trip.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 12:17 PM
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Is it possible to get her a wheel chair? Using that with taxis suggested above might be helpful. We had a friend pretty ill with cancer visiting and that worked well for her.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 12:30 PM
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yestravel, this is the last line of the OP's post:

"Oh, and I should mention, she WILL not get in a wheelchair....so that is not an option."
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Apr 16th, 2013, 12:51 PM
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A real challenge for sure.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 01:02 PM
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This really will be a challenge without a wheelchair, I'm afraid, because no, you can't drive a golf cart around the monuments or Mall, and the distances are pretty long. There are benches all over the place, though, so perhaps if she's really adamant about no wheelchair, you could just stop and rest as needed. Agree that the boat ride and Arlington Cemetery will be easier because much less strenuous.

I am torn about the rental car vs. taxis. It can take a few minutes to flag down a cab in certain areas. So perhaps the car would work if someone could drop the party off, park the car, then return, and go get the car for the next leg, because indeed, it's not easy to find parking close to where you want to be. On the other hand, taxis would work well also and be less hassle, perhaps. I hope others can weigh in on this question.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 01:17 PM
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Taxis, yes.

Does anyone have any idea how a car and driver for a limited day (6 hours?) would compare? A lot of stuff in DC is drive by, and a day with a car service could cover a lot of ground.

I think there is a boat to Mount Vernon from Old Town Alexandria but there may be others.

There are trams on the Mall, or were, but it may be early for them.

It isn't hot yet, so that is in her favor.

She is lucky to have such a concerned sister.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 01:29 PM
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Have you looked into any of the Segway tours offered?
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Apr 16th, 2013, 01:30 PM
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"Does anyone have any idea how a car and driver for a limited day (6 hours?) would compare?"

I priced car services last year or so and they were all coming in around $75/hour. I think they had a 3 hr. min.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 01:50 PM
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You can hire a taxi by the hour:

Hourly Hire Rate (1st hour or any fraction thereof): $25.00
(after 1st hour – each 15 minutes thereafter): $6.25
http://dctaxi.dc.gov/page/taxicab-fares
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Apr 16th, 2013, 02:14 PM
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Now THAT makes sense, I'd hire a taxi for as many hours as needed. It didn't occur to me that that was possible--great idea!
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Apr 16th, 2013, 02:20 PM
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oops! sorry, I missed the part about the no wheelchair.
What about the tour mobile? Maybe that would work. that would drive you around and you could get off at the stops you want and then get back on and see as much as you can each day? They may be less expensive than a taxi and certainly easier than trying to drive around and find parking.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 03:39 PM
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Too bad won't use a W/C (altho I understand the independence issues)as most of the Monuments etc give priority head of the line privileges to W/C person as well as the caretaker.

There are Tour co w/private SUVs or limos you could use. In any case if the sister has a handicap placard take that as handicap spaces are plentiful & easier to get and she can show it for privileges.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 08:08 PM
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I had no idea about hiring taxis by the hour. I will definitely consider this an option, especially when touring the monuments. I'm not sure she's steady enough for a segway, but that would be nice. We may try the hop-on/hop-off bus first, and see if that works, if not, then get the taxi. I have looked into a private tour company, but it was $750 for the day....ouch!

Thank you all so much for your input. I readily appreciate any and all thoughts.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 08:11 PM
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Just keep in mind that when the city is full of tourists, the waits at HOHO bus stops can get long, and that gets tedious. If you can swing the cost, the taxi-by-the-hour is the best idea.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 08:17 PM
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ok, thank you. I was just looking at the dc taxi website that was provided above. I think it really is a great idea, and affordable. Thanks to kayd so much for that tip!
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Apr 16th, 2013, 08:51 PM
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Those taxi rates do look very low, so please verify before you are set on that option. On the link listed, the hourly rate is listed as an "extra", after the rates for distance are listed. It's the same as the charge for being stuck in traffic, where you'd pay the regular rate, PLUS the $25 per hour if stopped completely or moving very slowly. It could be that the hourly rate is a minimum charge for you to have a taxi reserved for you for a certain period of time, but they may also charge an additional amount for distance. At $25 per hour, this is an excellent option for many people, so it would be good to know.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 02:52 AM
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The hop on/off tours have advantages and disadvantages - waiting at stops can be tedious. However, if she tires during the day you could sit on a trolley for a while and see the sights from there and listen to narration. I would also research day bus tours/trips. They will drop you off at a specific place and pick you up later - no waiting and less walking and waiting than trolley tours
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Apr 17th, 2013, 06:27 AM
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For clarification, the taxi hire is for a driving tour and not a car service to wait while you get out and visit. A driver might be willing to pull over and let you get out to take a photo but that is about the extent of it. The flat rate for Yellow Cab is $30/hour, not including gratuity.

I agree the HOHO tours can mean long waits at the trolley stops. Less so at night for a tour of the monuments.

Many hotels have arrangements with car services which might be useful. We arranged a tour of the monuments at night this way -- it was $150 for three hours.

The Spirit of Washington is the boat tour that goes daily to Mount Vernon. It leaves in the morning from SE DC and returns in mid to late afternoon.

Lastly, suggesting if you can stay downtown rather than outside of the city your sister will have the opportunity to return to the hotel for a rest during the day if she tires out. This is far less feasible if you are trooping in and out of the city. A number of the main Smithsonian museums are open until 7:00 (or 7:30?) now. Penn Quarter would be a good area for you all to locate -- it is close to the Mall, the old Post Office, the Newseum, and the Archives. In the immediate neighborhood is the Spy Museum, the Portrait Gallery & American Art museum and the Building Museum. Lots of restaurant choices as well.
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