The Washington Post

Metro’s service plans for Inauguration Day

The presidential inauguration is less than three weeks away. Celebrants are booking plane tickets, reserving hotel rooms and plotting out road trips. Many people are taking Metro to the actual event, so here’s a rundown of what we know about the transit agency’s plans for that day. 

Station closures

The Smithsonian, Archives and Mt. Vernon Square stops will be closed. 

Extended service

Inauguration Day falls on Monday, Jan. 21, which is also the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Instead of the usual holiday service, Metro will have additional service to handle the inauguration crowds. 

Metrorail will open an hour early (at 4 a.m.) and stay open two hours late (until 2 a.m.). Trains will run rush hour service from 4 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Altered service

The inauguration will also bring changes to Metro’s service plans. Yellow Line trains will only run as far north as Gallery Place-Chinatown station (rather than Fort Totten) before turning around.

Yellow Line riders who normally board at Fort Totten, Petworth, U Street or Shaw will have to use Green Line trains. And, again, the Mt. Vernon Square and Archives stops on these lines will be closed. 

There will be no Rush Plus service, so if you normally commute during Rush Plus be careful about boarding the correct train. 

Here’s a map showing how Metro will operate on Inauguration Day.

Station entrances and escalators

At some downtown stations, some entrances will be used only for entry or exit to manage the flow of the crowds. In addition, some escalators will be turned off. 

No bikes, coolers or large containers allowed

During the weekend of inauguration, no bicycles, large coolers or containers will be allowed on Metrorail. 


Metrobus will operate weekday rush hour service in the morning, with early rush hour service in the afternoon. Many routes will encounter detours, with buses turning around near the National Mall, so be prepared for that.

Here’s a map showing where buses on particular routes will turn around. That page also lists the best routes for getting to the inauguration.


MetroAccess will have the same hours as Metrorail and Metrobus. Since increased congestion is expected, plan for trips to take additional time. 


Metro will charge weekday peak fares from the system’s opening until 9 p.m., with non-peak fares from that point until the system closes. Normal parking fees will be charged at Metro parking garages, which would otherwise be free on the holiday. 

(If you need to buy a farecard or SmarTrip, or if you need to add more money to your card, make sure to do it in advance. Metro stations will be very crowded on Inauguration Day, so that’s one way to avoid waiting in a long line.) 

The rest of the weekend

On Saturday, Jan. 19, Metrorail will operate from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. (with off-peak fares in effect). Metrobus will also run a normal Saturday schedule.

On Sunday, Jan. 20, Metro will run 7 a.m. to midnight (again, with off-peak fares in effect). Metrobus will also run a normal Saturday schedule, though some detours will impact routes around the Mall. 

The Judiciary Square station’s 5th Street entrance will close early on Sunday, Jan. 20. This is the entrance near the National Building Museum, and it will close sometime Sunday evening due to an event at the museum. The station will remain open and the other entrance will stay open.

Trip Planner

Metro has posted a tool to help travelers figure out which stations to use on Inauguration Day. Head here, scroll down to the box labeled “What’s my best route?” and enter your starting station. It includes information for getting to the Mall, White House and parade route. 

For more coverage

Read more about the 2013 Inauguration

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.



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