Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Transportation officials are encouraging people to take transit during the papal visit, but here are some things commuters and visitors should know:

· Metrorail will provide the maximum level of service today and tomorrow, but stations in the downtown core will be more crowded than usual, particularly transfer stations.

· Metrorail still beats driving because of road closures along Massachusetts Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue and the North Capitol Street-Michigan Avenue area today.

· On an eight-car train, the first and last cars tend to be less crowded.

· It is often difficult to find a parking space from 8 to 10 a.m. at Metro garages and lots. Parking spaces marked as reserved become available to everyone at 10 a.m., and drivers can be ticketed for parking in those spots earlier.

· It costs up to $4.75 for general parking at a Metro garage or lot. Most stations require payment with SmarTrip cards, sold at vending machines. Six stations allow parkers to pay with major credit cards: Anacostia, Franconia-Springfield, Largo Town Center, Vienna/Fairfax-GMU, Shady Grove and New Carrollton.

-- Robert Thomson

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