Public transportation is one of the best ways of getting around the Washington D.C. area. Since the city traffic tends to be highly congested and parking spaces are available at a premium, making the most of the public transit system is a great way of getting around Washington D.C. Sightseeing attractions, museums, shopping and entertainment districts, and sporting hubs are easily accessible on the extensive public transportation network in the city. Commuting to work on the subway system, for instance, often proves to be far less strenuous and largely comfortable as opposed to driving down to the commercial districts in one’s own car.
Let us now take a look at the various means of public transportation in Washington D.C. that makes travelling a far more pleasant experience than it otherwise would have been.
There are five different color-coded Metro lines that weave through the city of Washington and on to some areas in the adjacent districts of Virginia and Maryland. The service runs till midnight from Sunday to Thursday and upto three in the morning on weekends. The distance travelled and time of day define the travel fare charged. During weekends and on weekday rush hours, fares tend to vary between $2.10 and $5.75 along with a $1 surcharge for those using a paper fare card. For the other times, this fare usually drops to a range of $1.70 to $3.50 while the surcharge remains for not using a rechargeable SmartTrip fare card. Commuters are required to punch their ticket at the turnstile both at the time of entry and exit so it is important that they keep the tickets safe.
A SmartTrip card is a reloadable plastic ticket used on all public transportation systems in Washington D.C. Buying one such card worth $10 in value is an easy means of saving money while also getting around the city at the same time. This is especially useful for those who are planning on spending a vacation in Washington D.C for more than a couple of days. These cards may be bought from one of the convenience stores across the city and also from the Metro Center station.
Bus service in Washington
Buses are another part of the public transportation network in the city of Washington, travelling extensive routes throughout the regions of Maryland, Virginia, and District. Base fare on a SmartTrip card costs $1.60 while on cash, the amount is $1.80. It is mandatory to pay the exact amount on cash since drivers do not have the provision of making changes. The D.C. Circulator buses, with a one-way fare of $1, operate at a frequency of ten minutes. Travel is possible on them using both the SmartTrip cards and on cash. There are a handful of routes that travel across much of D.C.- one of them goes around the National Mall perimeter (albeit on weekends) while there is another that traverses straight through the city down to Georgetown from the Union Station.
Taxi Service in Washington
Washington D.C is home to plenty of metered taxis. They can either be flagged down in the middle of the street or be called up from their queue outside major attractions and hotels. You will be charged $3.25 for the first eighth of a mile while the subsequent distances and waiting time will be charged at $0.27. Travelling with additional passengers will also lead to an extra charge of a dollar. It is also worth noting that when a snow emergency is declared in the city, taxis typically charge more.
Traveling in Washington By car
Most of the vacationers on their way to Washington D.C. travel by car. However, that does not necessarily mean that driving around the city streets is a good idea. A confusing grid of streets, scarce but expensive parking, impatient drivers and horrible congestions are just some of the aspects that Washington traffic is notorious for. For the visitors who are very keen on riding their own vehicle, there are hiring agencies available at a number of locations around the city as well as in its suburbs.
While public transportation in Washington D.C. is undoubtedly an excellent means of exploring the city and its surrounding neighbourhoods, you can also do so on foot. However, walking around some of the areas such as Georgetown and National Mall does not ideally make much of a sense. Walking across the National Mall area is bound to make you tired, after all it stretches over as much as two miles. For covering the rest of the journey, you need to make good use of the Circulator bus or any other form of public transportation that is available in the city of Washington D.C.