Transit apps offer step-by-step alternatives to Metrorail, car

WASHINGTON — As commuters struggle through the first week of WMATA’s year-long series of repairs on the Metrorail system, many are resorting to driving.

Others are looking for less costly and less frustrating ways of getting to work, yet the idea of mapping out alternative methods and routes can seem overwhelming.

Several transit smartphone apps can accomplish the task quickly, and offer step-by-step instructions and directions for getting from Point A to Point B, without having any previous knowledge of points in-between.

Google Maps  is already a staple for many car owners, with its real-time navigation and turn-by-turn audio instructions. After entering a starting point and final destination, users can choose directions for bus, train, ridesharing, and walking. Google Maps is free, for iOS and Android.

Citymapper offers journey planning with estimated times of arrival along the way, using walking, rail, bus, streetcar, bike and car sharing options. Washington, D.C. is one of the cities covered, although entering start points too far outside the Beltway may work. One nice option is Citymapper offers a “rain safe” route for travel in inclement weather. Citymapper is free, for iOS and Android.

After entering start and finish points in more than 100 U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C., Moovit users can fine-tune their methods and routes. The app allows a user to click Least Walking, to minimize the amount of ambulation needed, or Least Transfers to lessen the amount of time waiting for the next bus or train. Moovit is free, for iOS, Android or Windows.

Suburbanites in Maryland and Virginia, whose home addresses may not work in the city-centric mass transit apps can find other ways to get toward Washington, D.C.,  with carpooling, vanpooling, and local buses.

To help commuters during Metro’s ongoing track work, WTOP is continually providing coverage of Metro-related developments in its   live blog an on its special Metro section.

WTOP’s team of traffic reporters is working around-the-clock to keep the community updated about major traffic and Metro news, keeping the region informed about road work, repairs and delays. 

Also, follow @WTOPTraffic on Twitter and listen to traffic every 10 minutes on the 8s on 103.5 FM. Sign up for WTOP Alerts for your phone and email.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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