Tag Archives: SmarTrip

12 Metro tips to make your ride more enjoyable (or at least more tolerable)

29 Mar

© David L. Jennings on Creative Commons

12. Choose your car wisely. Ever since the June 22, 2009 accident, Metro opreators are required to pull up to the very front of the platform, and that is often where you’ll find the least crowded car. However, not necessarily! In the morning, I find the third car to be less crowded, and in the afternoon on my way home, it’s the first car. It’s worth figuring out the least crowded for your commute because on busy days it can make the difference between squeezing in and having to wait for the next train.

11. Don’t be an escalefter. I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.

10. Who do we appreciate? Eight! I’m not sure why more people don’t pay attention to the number of cars a train has, which is listed on the board. When I see that an eight-car train is coming, I shriek (in my head) “Eureka!” and head for the end of the platform. The last car on an 8-car train is always virtually empty, no matter how packed the other cars are.

9. You have time, I promise. You really, really don’t need to start making your way to the doors while the train is still moving. The only thing that’s going to do is cause you, or someone else, to lose balance. I have never seen or heard of someone not making it out in time, so chillax.

8. Express yourself. I get a lot of my news—admittedly probably too much—from the Washington Post Express. Reading it makes my commute go a whole lot quicker. Insider’s Tip: Many of the stories on the front inside page will help you while listening to that week’s Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me.

7. The announcer suggests moving to the center of the car for a reason. On a crowded train the center of the car is always less crowded than by the doors, yet many people won’t move in even though there’s much more breathing room.

6. Don’t be that person. “Doors closing” means that the doors are closing. Do you really want to be that person who gets a bag stuck in the door? Or worse, the person that causes the doors to malfunction and the train to be offloaded? Awkward!

5. Have an intelligent journey (get it?). You should not only purchase a $5 SmarTrip card, but you should register it. That way when you lose it, which you will eventually do, you won’t lose the money you had on it. Oh, and ideally you should write down your SmarTrip number, otherwise when you call Metro they will give you a-ti-tude.

4. Calm is key. Speaking of SmarTrip, my friend Victoria opines that you don’t need to move your card frantically on the scanner to get it to work. (You’ll notice how many people do this now that I’ve pointed it out.) Just place the card on the scanner and wait a second.

3. Plan ahead. Metro’s online Trip Planner is a great way to plan a trip if you’re going someplace new. You can find out how to get somewhere, how long it will take and approximately when the trains are scheduled to arrive. It also shows bus routes.

2. Don’t be a jerk. If you see a pregnant woman or an elderly person or someone who obviously looks like he/she might need to sit down, ask! There’s too many people on Metro who just bury their nose in a book, pretending they don’t notice.

1. Keep your stuff to yourself. Metro thefts have been on the rise as of late, so avoid flopping your Ipod on the seat next to you or placing your Blackberry in an open bag.