Dr. Gridlock’s traffic, transit tips: Sunday night football and holiday schedules

Robert Thomson
Columnist December 29, 2012
Sunday night football

Drivers out on the east side of the Capital Beltway on Sunday night are more likely to encounter Redskins game traffic than motorists returning from a Christmas holiday week. The NFL rescheduled kickoff at FedEx Field in Landover for 8:20 p.m.

The Blue Line’s Morgan Boulevard station, the nearest Metrorail stop to FedEx Field, will be open late to accommodate the post-game crowd. All other station entrances will close on schedule at midnight Sunday. The last Blue Line train headed toward Franconia-Springfield will leave Morgan Boulevard at 12:25 a.m., and the last Blue Line train to Largo Town Center at 1:33 a.m.

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. View Archive

To make connections with the Orange Line, transfer at Stadium-Armory; for the Green or Yellow lines, transfer at L’Enfant Plaza; and for the Red Line, transfer at Metro Center. Riders will be able to exit at any station.

The Redskins pay for the extra service under an agreement with Metro.

Holiday Metro

On New Year’s Eve, Metrorail and Metrobus will operate on a regular weekday schedule, 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 canceled for New Year’s Day.

D.C. holiday traffic

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

SoberRide New Year’s

For those making plans to celebrate on New Year’s Eve, here’s one last reminder about the holiday season’s SoberRide program: It will be operating from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. 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.

Still a free ride

I’ve been trying to answer very detailed questions for drivers about the new 495 Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway in Virginia, so I sometimes forget that many travelers are not regular commuters who want some very basic information.

Here’s one of those from a driver who occasionally uses the Beltway between Interstate 270 and the George Washington Parkway: “I believe I am right in thinking that the short, northern part of the Beltway I use does not involve the challenges of the toll lanes, and I will still be able to take my usual route easily. Am I correct?”

Correct. The express lanes don’t begin till well south of the parkway.

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.

For more transportation news, go to washingtonpost.com/transportation.

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