How do I ride Metro? This WTOP guide can help

A subway train arrives at the L'Enfant Metro Station, which is part of the public mass transit network for Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON — Whether you are a local who rarely rides Metro or have visitors from out of town, here’s what you need to know to ride the system and what has changed in the last decade. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Metro said the image of Trump used on the sleeve was provided by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which "worked closely" with the transit agency on the commemorative sleeve, the committee's communications director, Boris Epshteyn, said in a statement. (WMATA)
Each rider needs a SmarTrip Metro ended paper fare cards last year, so each rider (except for children under age five) must have a plastic SmarTrip card. The cards are tapped on the light-colored targets on the tops of turnstiles at both the start and end of each trip, rather than put through the slot like the paper fare cards were. There could be long lines at fare card machines Friday and Saturday, so riders who buy the cards and load money in advance will reduce delays. To avoid having to wait in fare card lines multiple times, riders should load full round-trip fare. At least some riders who attempted to purchase the special $10 one-day Inauguration Day passes in advance told WTOP they had not yet received the cards Thursday, despite ordering before Metro’s Jan. 13 deadline. If you want a free special sleeve for the card featuring President-elect Donald Trump’s photo, you’ll have to pick that up yourself. The free sleeves will be available at end-of-line stations with the exception of Huntington plus Pentagon City, Union Station, Metro Center and Gallery Place. (Courtesy WMATA) ((WMATA))
Gates were closed at the McPherson Square Metrorail Station in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. The Metrorail system that serves the nation's capital and its Virginia and Maryland suburbs shut down for a full-day for an emergency safety inspection of its third-rail power cables.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
When will Metro open? On Inauguration Day, Metro is running near-rush hour service all day from the early opening at 4 a.m. through closing around midnight. Riders will pay peak fares, which top out at $5.90 for the longest rides. Riders also must pay for parking on Inauguration Day when exiting Metro garages either using a SmarTrip card or credit card. On Saturday, when thousands of post-inaugural protesters are expected downtown, Metro is opening two hours earlier than a typical weekend. From 5 a.m. to around midnight, riders can expect trains every 12 minutes or so on each line which could leave trains and stations very crowded depending on how many people show up. Riders will pay off-peak fares all day, which top out at $3.60 for the longest rides. Metro fares are charged based on a base fare plus the distance traveled. There is no track work scheduled this weekend. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP)
In this photo March 12, 2015, passengers wait on the platform before boarding a train at the U Street Metro Station in Washington. Americans visiting Washington for his inauguration will get a first-hand look at the country's needs when traveling on the city's beleaguered subway.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
How to act like you’ve done this before When a train pulls into a station, regular Metro riders let people on the train get off before trying to get on. However, it can be important to move quickly to get on the train since the train doors do not automatically reopen for a hand, arm or bag stuck in them. The screens showing when the next train is predicted to arrive also indicate whether the train is six cars or eight cars. Eight car trains extend the length of the platform, while six car trains do not serve the rear end of the platform. On escalators, stand on the right or walk up on the left when there is space to do so. Metro says platforms and trains may be extremely crowded, so some escalators will be turned off by police to limit how many people are in a station at once. Metro is also reminding riders that smoking, eating or drinking is not allowed anywhere in the rail or bus system. (AP)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - JANUARY 20:  WASHINGTON, D.C. - JANUARY 20:  People debark the Metro during the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama becomes the first African-American to be elected to the office of President in the history of the United States.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
The last time I rode was the 2009 inauguration. What’s changed? Two of the most noticeable changes are new stations and a potentially less fluid ride. The first phase of the Silver Line opened in July 2014 with a new station at Wiehle-Reston East and four new stations in the Tysons area. Wiehle-Reston East, just off the Dulles Toll Road, has a large parking facility and there is also a privately-operated surface parking lot at the McLean Station. The extension beyond Wiehle-Reston East to Loudoun County, phase two, is not open yet and remains several years away. On the rails, Metro trains now run in manual mode instead of automatic. The change, made after a deadly Red Line crash in 2009, means rides can be a bit less smooth than you may remember. There could be single-tracking or other temporary changes over the course of either day due to incidents that pop up with a train that breaks down or a track issue, but Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said the system is ready to handle the crowds. “We work very hard to provide service every day, so we will provide that same level … things will happen in a big system, there’s no doubt about it, just like on a highway system there’s no guarantees … that there will be no incidents on highways, and there will be, so we will work as hard as we can to provide as much service as we can,” he said. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Mario Tama)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 19: Crowds of people stream out of the Capitol South metro station on January 19, 2009 in Washington, DC as preparations continue for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama January 20th.  The Capitol South station is the closest metro station to the U.S. Capitol building.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
How many other Metro riders should you expect? For President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, Metro carried a record-setting 1.5 million riders on Inauguration Day. 1.1 million of those trips were on the rail system. At that time, Metro sold 93,000 passes either in advance or by hand at stations that day. In 2013, when the public swearing in and Inaugural Parade took place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21, Metrorail carried more than 730,000 riders. That day trains ran from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. Wiedefeld would not say how many people Metro is expecting this year. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Win McNamee)
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A subway train arrives at the L'Enfant Metro Station, which is part of the public mass transit network for Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Metro said the image of Trump used on the sleeve was provided by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which "worked closely" with the transit agency on the commemorative sleeve, the committee's communications director, Boris Epshteyn, said in a statement. (WMATA)
Gates were closed at the McPherson Square Metrorail Station in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. The Metrorail system that serves the nation's capital and its Virginia and Maryland suburbs shut down for a full-day for an emergency safety inspection of its third-rail power cables.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
In this photo March 12, 2015, passengers wait on the platform before boarding a train at the U Street Metro Station in Washington. Americans visiting Washington for his inauguration will get a first-hand look at the country's needs when traveling on the city's beleaguered subway.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - JANUARY 20:  WASHINGTON, D.C. - JANUARY 20:  People debark the Metro during the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama becomes the first African-American to be elected to the office of President in the history of the United States.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 19: Crowds of people stream out of the Capitol South metro station on January 19, 2009 in Washington, DC as preparations continue for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama January 20th.  The Capitol South station is the closest metro station to the U.S. Capitol building.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Whether you are a local who rarely rides Metro or have visitors from out of town, here’s what you need to know to ride the system and what has changed in the last decade.


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