The week ahead: Holiday transportation reminders


Visitors lined up Sunday for a rare chance to see the original Emancipation Proclamation at the National Archives near the Mall. (Katherine Frey – The Washington Post)

It’s back to work week, but for many, not quite yet. That was reflected in the morning traffic pattern, which remained as light as it was during Christmas week. Some of those who have the day off will be lined up to see the rare display of the original Emancipation Proclamation at the National Archives through New Year’s Day only.

The Capital Weather Gang has cleared us for all New Year’s Eve activities. Tuesday brings a slight chance of a shower or very light snow, and the week will turn chillier. Here are some reminders about the upcoming traffic and transit schedules, but first, an important note about the evening’s celebration.

Ride sober for new year’s eve

The holiday season’s SoberRide program will be operating from 10 p.m. new year’s eve to 6 a.m. Tuesday to help keep the roads safe by giving adults who have had too much to drink an alternative to driving home.

During SoberRide’s hours, D.C. area residents can call the toll-free number, 800-200-TAXI (8294) and get a ride home in a cab. It’s free for the first $30 of the ride.

Holiday Metro

Metrorail and Metrobus are operating on a regular weekday schedule Monday, but Metrorail will stay open till about 2 a.m. The last-train times vary by station, so it’s important to check the schedule for the station you plan to use. For new year’s eve, add two hours to the normal weeknight departure time of the last train.

On New Year’s Day, Metrorail and Metrobus will operate at the reduced level of service typical of a Sunday. Metrorail will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight. MetroAccess subscription trips are cancelled for New Year’s Day.

Metro has scheduled New Year’s Day track work for the Red Line starting at 8 p.m. between Friendship Heights and Medical Center. Trains will share a track through the work zone. On the Blue Line, trains operating after 8 p.m. will share a track between Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street.

D.C. Circulator buses

The Circulator will extend service hours on most routes for new year’s eve.

Georgetown-Union Station: The night route will continue operating between Whitehaven Parkway NW and McPherson Square until 2 a.m.

Dupont Circle-Georgetown-Rosslyn: The route will operate until 2 a.m.

Woodley Park-Adams Morgan-McPherson Square: Service until 3:30 a.m.

Union Station-Navy Yard-Potomac Avenue-Skyland: Service will end at at 7 p.m., the regular time on winter weekdays.

New Year’s Day: Regular service hours.

Post reporter Mark Berman compiled a schedule for these other transit lines.

MARC schedule: No MARC service Tuesday. (Penn Line riders: Amtrak doesn’t honor MARC weekly and monthly tickets on weekdays with no MARC service.) 

VRE: No service Tuesday.

Arlington Transit: On Tuesday, Arlington Transit will run ART routes 41 and 51 on Sunday schedules. No other ART routes will operate.

DASH: Monday night, DASH will provide free shuttle service for First Night Alexandria between the King Street Metrorail Station and the Potomac River waterfront, starting at 6 p.m. DASH bus and trolley service along King Street will operate until 1 a.m.

Tuesday: There is no DASH service except for the King Street Trolley, which will operate every 15 minutes between the Metrorail station and the river from 11:30 a.m. to 10:15 p.m.

Fairfax Connector: On Tuesday, buses will operate on a Sunday schedule.

Fairfax CUE: No service on Tuesday.

Loudoun County Transit: On Tuesday, no buses will operate.

OmniRide: No service Tuesday. 

Ride On: On Tuesday, buses will operate on a Sunday schedule. Look here to see if your bus will be running. 

TheBus: No service on Tuesday.

Virginia HOV rules

Monday: Normal HOV restrictions are in effect in Northern Virginia. I-95/395 reversible lanes will remain southbound New Year’s Eve night and New Year’s Day.

Tuesday: HOV restrictions on I-95, I-395 and I-66 are lifted. I-95/395 reversible lanes will remain southbound until midnight New Year’s Day and switch to northbound by 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Wednesday: Normal HOV restrictions are in effect.

D.C. holiday traffic

On New Year’s Day, the District will not enforce rules on parking meters, residential parking and rush hour lane use. But new year’s eve is not a holiday, so all the rules are in effect on Monday.

Paper passes

Monday is the last day for Metrorail riders to use the seven-day paper Fast Passes. This version of the Fast Pass has been available on SmarTrip cards since April. As part of this year’s restructuring of the fare system, intended to push more riders toward the reusable plastic cards, the transit authority discontinued sales of the paper version in August.

When the new year starts, only the SmarTrip version will be accepted at the fare gates. The seven-day Fast Pass, good for seven consecutive days of rail travel, costs $57.50. Riders either buy the pass through their online accounts, or they add it at a Farecard & Passes machine in one of the Metrorail stations. To create an online account, go to Metro’s Web site at www.wmata.com and click on the SmarTrip icon.

Starting Tuesday, Alexandria’s DASH buses will discontinue use of paper transfers. Riders paying with SmarTrip cards will have the transfer automatically added to their cards.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.

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Dana Hedgpeth · December 28, 2012