When we asked local commuters to offer interns tips for riding the Metro, several people responded back with the same suggestion: Don’t ride the Metro, or at least don’t only ride the Metro.
There are lots of other transportations out there, many of which have their own benefits and which can help you reach areas that aren’t easily accessible by Metro. (goDCgo has a handy interactive map that could help you figure out what works for you.)
So, continuing in our efforts to educate and help interns, here are some of the ways you can get around town without taking a train:
• Metrobus: Metro is actually more than just a train system. In addition to the trains, the transit agency operates Metrobus.
When we asked for Metro tips, multiple bus riders suggested using the bus rather than the rails so as to avoid delays and fare hikes. Of course, being on a bus in Washington means sitting through Washington traffic, which can be grueling (even in the summer).
You can see maps here. Riders can use the Next Bus system to see when the next bus should arrive, either using the stop number (which is posted at the stop) or by checking a specific route and direction. (Be warned: Next Bus isn’t always reliable, so you shouldn’t plan your entire commute around it.)
• Circulator: The Circulator operates those red buses you may have seen around town. The system is simple. Rides only cost $1, and buses are scheduled to come every 10 minutes.
There are just five lines, some of which operate around or near the intern-friendly spots of Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, Georgetown, U Street and Nationals Park. The buses running to Dupont Circle run until midnight on Sunday through Thursday and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday; the Circulators going to Adams Morgan are open the same hours on weeknights but run until 3:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Check out the routes here.
• Capital Bikeshare: This bike-sharing outfit lets you ride a bicycle in and around Washington without having to be responsible for maintaining and storing a bike.
The way Bikeshare works is you sign up for one of four membership periods. You can join for 24 hours, three days, a month or a full year (you can also join for the year but pay in monthly installments). When you’re a member, the first 30 minutes of any trip is free, but you pay an additional fee for any period of time longer than that. (You can read more about the pricing here.)
If you’re going to be biking — particularly in a metropolitan area you don’t know well — be very careful. As Dr. Gridlock recently wrote, motorists and bicycle riders need to be very cautious when sharing the road.
Bikeshare sells helmets to monthly and annual members. Helmets are legally required for riders age 15 and younger in the District, age 14 and younger in Arlington and Alexandria and age 17 and younger in Montgomery County. For anyone else, they are simply strongly encouraged.
• Buy Your Own Bike: Or, you could just buy your own bike. Here are some tips on that front.
• Taxi: You’ll also see plenty of cabs roaming the region. Head here for a cab fare calculator and an explanation of the fare system and charges.
The base fare in D.C. is $7, though the minimum fare is $15 and there are additional fees (see more here). And don’t forget: tip is included in your fare.
• Zipcar: The car-sharing service operates across the region, which can be helpful if you need to get somewhere, and a car is your best option.
• Walk: There’s also this old standby. If you are able to, walking through this area lets you see a lot of things you’d miss while chugging along on a train or in a car. We know it’s hot, but in case your internship is the only time you will live here, why not explore what the area has to offer? (For this, we point you to the Going Out Guide.)