Metro planning bus service changes for Inauguration Day


Map provided by Secret Service shows security area closed to vehicles for inauguration. On Monday, Metrobuses will not enter this zone.

The Metrobus plan for Monday is different from the one put in place for the 2009 inauguration, reflecting what planners expect will be a smaller event with a revised  pattern of roadway closings. But it still involves service changes affecting about 50 routes.

Here’s one key element that is largely the same this time: Riders should look for certain bus routes that will offer rush-hour level service and get them closest to the restricted zone. Once they reach those special Inauguration Day terminal points, they will have to walk the rest of the way to the Mall for the swearing-in or Pennsylvania Avenue for the parade.

From the geography, it appears to me that bus access from the east side of the D.C. region will be the most difficult. The transit authority says that Metrobus routes A2, A6 and  A8 will be extended to L’Enfant Plaza Waterfront Metro station, south of the Mall. From there, a rider could transfer to the Green Line and go north to Gallery Place.

Expect L’Enfant Plaza to be jammed, because it’s close to the viewing points for the swearing-in. Gallery Place also will be crowded with people heading to the parade..

Keep in mind that the Smithsonian, Archives and Mount Vernon Square stations are scheduled to be closed Monday.

All buses traveling near the Mall will have special signs in their windshields, Metro says. These are the bus lines along major corridors that will get you closest to the Mall:

  • Wisconsin Avenue: 31, 32, 36, 37
  • Massachusetts Avenue: N2, N3, N4, N6
  • Connecticut Avenue: L1, L2
  • 16th Street NW: S2, S4, S9
  • ­14th Street NW: 52, 53, 54
  • Georgia Avenue/Seventh Street: 70, 79­
  • North Capitol Street: 80
  • H Street/Benning Road: X2, X9
  • ­Pennsylvania Avenue SE: 32, 34, 36, 39
  • M Street SE/SW: V7, V9
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue: A2, A6, A8
  • South Capitol Street: A9
  • East Capitol Street: 96, 97
  • 11th Street NW: 64
  • Rhode Island Avenue: G8
  • MacArthur Boulevard: D6
  • Oxon Hill: P17, P19
  • Columbia Pike: 16Y, 16X
  • Wilson/Clarendon boulevards: 38B
  • Lee Highway: 3Y
  • ­Lincolnia/North Fairlington: 7Y Line
  • Mount Pleasant:­ 42, 43

Use this link to see Metro’s pdf map showing the temporary terminals for those bus routes.

These aren’t the only routes likely to be different on Inauguration Day. If your bus normally goes through the area designated as a security zone, it probably will be subject to delays and detours throughout the day Monday. Use this link to see Metro’s latest list of all bus service adjustments.

If Metrorail is convenient to your starting point, it’s probably a better bet than Metrobus because of the street restrictions. Also, many of the bus routes will drop riders near a Metrorail station. Riders can ask the bus driver for an emergency transfer. This paper handout used by bus operators when bus service is disrupted allows Metrobus passengers to transfer to Metrorail at no additional charge to complete their trips. They show the emergency transfer to the station manager for entry and exit to the rail system.

Metrobus will operate on a regular weekday schedule before the inauguration ceremony and then restart rush-hour service earlier than normal in the afternoon. The regular fare is $1.60 using a SmarTrip card and $1.80 in cash. It’s 80 cents for people with Senior SmarTrip cards and 90 cents for seniors and people with disabilities who are paying cash and have valid IDs.

Airport buses: The 5A will be operating between Dulles International Airport and L’Enfant Plaza, with a stop at the Rosslyn station. The B30 will be in service between Baltimore-Washington Marshall Airport and Greenbelt station. Metro says it will provide enhanced
service on both routes Thursday through Tuesday for people getting in and out of the D.C. area during the inauguration period. The airport bus fare is $6 using either a SmarTrip card or cash, and $3 for seniors and people with disabilities.

Other resources:

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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Mark Berman · January 14, 2013