SmarTrip site down on final day to pre-order inauguration Metro cards

WASHINGTON — Metro’s online store was experiencing problems on Friday, the final day to pre-order 2017 Inauguration Day SmarTrip cards.

On Twitter, Metro told riders that its purchase portal was down and said that riders might need to buy SmarTrip cards for the inauguration or events following it — including the Women’s March on Washington — at Metro stations to be sure cards arrive prior to the events.

The commemorative SmarTrip card says “58th Presidential Inauguration Celebration January 20, 2017” and has an image of the White House in the center and an American flag in the  background. The card includes a special $10 one-day unlimited rail and bus pass that is only good for Inauguration Day. The pass does not cover parking fees.

A one-day rail pass usually costs $14.

Metro had previously said that riders could count on the cards arriving in time if the orders were placed by the end of the day Friday. Riders who wait until the day of the event to buy cards or add value to their existing cards at stations could face long lines, which is why Metro had hoped many riders would buy the pre-loaded cards.

WTOP’s attempt to use the website’s guest checkout did not go through early Friday afternoon. Other attempts resulted in an error message advising to try again later or call for assistance.

WTOP told riders that its purchase portal was down on Friday — the last day to pre-order 2017 Inauguration Day SmarTrip Cards. (WTOP/Max Smith)
(WTOP/Max Smith)

As an alternative, people who live in the D.C. area could visit a station during the weekend or early next week to buy to a SmarTrip card and load it with value.

While that could increase convenience, it also could increase costs for Inauguration Day riders at end-of-the-line stations where, with peak fares being charged all day, riders can expect to pay as much as $5.90 each way.

The day after the march, Metro will be running weekend-level service and will charge off-peak fares. In that case, riders who are only taking a trip in and a trip out may be better off just loading cash value to their cards.

Riders who want Metro memorabilia with President-elect Donald Trump’s photo on it can pick up a free commemorative sleeve for the card on Inauguration Day at end-of-line stations on the Orange, Red, Green, Blue and Silver Lines and at the Pentagon City, Union Station, Metro Center and Gallery Places stations.

Getting around on Inauguration Day

On Inauguration Day, riders should note that Pentagon, Federal Triangle, Smithsonian, Archives and Mt. Vernon Square stations will be closed. The Metro system is opening one hour early, at 4 a.m., and closing at midnight.

Metro is being pegged as alternative because of the many road closures and parking restrictions that begin as early as Wednesday.

Other transit options include Amtrak, some buses, special limited express service on MARC’s Penn and Brunswick Lines, and VRE trains that will run on an S schedule Inauguration Day. Access points to Union Station are expected to be limited Inauguration week due to security measures, so riders should leave extra time. Metro riders may want to consider using other stops due to the expected crowds at Union Station.

Capital Bikeshare stations on the National Mall will be shutdown from noon Jan. 18 to noon Jan. 21, but there will be open docks and available bikes as part of corral service on Inauguration Day, at 17th and K Streets Northwest and Fourth and E Streets Southwest. Personal bikes can be left with a D.C. government bike valet at 16th and I Streets Northwest on Inauguration Day.

On Inauguration Day, the DC Streetcar will connect the parking lots at RFK Stadium to Union Station between 4 a.m. Friday and 2 a.m. Saturday. The DC Circulator will only operate its Woodley Park-Adams Morgan-McPherson Square route from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and the Potomac Ave.-Skyland route from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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