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Old 03-16-2008, 06:46 PM
11 posts, read 28,687 times
Reputation: 13


Hi - I'm moving to DC from London and will be relying on public transport. I've looked at the metro website, and it seems that the best way is to buy a smart-trip card, but this seems to charge for every journey, on metro and bus.

My questions:
Is there not a monthly card that allows access to all public transport, buses and metro?

What is the best public transport ticket to purchase, preferably for unlimited use on both metro and bus? If not unlimited, how much do people generally spend on transport, if paying for every journey?

Do people in DC bus-hop short distances, and does this cost extra? (or is this why Americans are always seen wearing trainers/sneakers with their suits!!??)

BYW the posts on this site are invaluable - thank you for all the info
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:40 PM
3,066 posts, read 6,464,553 times
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There is no monthly Metro pass. You have to pay for each trip. I guess how much you'd spend is dependent on your schedule, where you live, where you work, and how much you use the system at other times. Could range from $50 a month to $100+.
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:02 AM
Location: Washington DC
5,913 posts, read 5,966,574 times
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You want a Smart Trip Card. The system doesn't have a flat rate "monthly pass," but the card eliminates the need to carry cash for the subway or bus. Metro - SmarTrip. More Than a Smart Card. It's Pure Genius. (http://www.wmata.com/riding/smartrip.cfm - broken link)
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:00 PM
1,247 posts, read 4,885,177 times
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Originally Posted by sabistarr View Post
Do people in DC bus-hop short distances, and does this cost extra? (or is this why Americans are always seen wearing trainers/sneakers with their suits!!??)
You can pay a reduced bus fare if you transfer from rail to bus: Metro - Metro fares and hours (http://www.wmata.com/riding/hours_fares.cfm?fromMenu=SchedulesAndFares.1 - broken link)

I think most people walk short distances rather than hop on a bus, particularly if they have to wait for a bus (it's not worth the time).
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:01 PM
82 posts, read 329,737 times
Reputation: 52
Unfortunately, compared to the Oyster Card, the Smartcard is, well, not so smart. Oyster computes the cheapest fair for the day for you (depending on how many trips you took during the day) whereas the Smartcard will continue to charge you a new fare each time you use it. It does, however, allow for a discount on bus transfers and is far less annoying than the paper tickets. DC's public trans system is also nowhere near as extensive as London's. In London, I rarely found any reason to drive, while in DC, I do catch myself calculating time/hassle to be potentially saved if I were to drag my car out. Bus lines vary significantly in punctuality and frequency, so in many cases (not all), it's best to live near a Metro stop. Price varies by distance travelled, therefore, the closer you live to your most frequent destinations, the less you'll be spending in monthly travel expenses. (Yes, sounds obvious, but some cities still have a flat fare. Not so DC.) I would also recommend making sure that there's a decent grocery store w/in reasonable walking distance of homebase (unless you plan to order out every day) as some neighborhoods have been woefully underserved for decades, although this is changing.
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:10 AM
Location: College Park, MD
6 posts, read 23,290 times
Reputation: 11
If you do plan on taking the bus all the time there is a monthly card you can get. But it only works for the bus. If you want to bus hop you can. After paying the first fare they will give you a bus transfer that is good for 2 to 3 hours to catch any other bus you want. I don't drive and end up taking the bus everywhere. It's not so bad as long as the timing works out right. Just make sure you're at the bus stop at least 10 minutes before your bus until you get a feel for when the bus will come.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:50 PM
19,179 posts, read 23,587,972 times
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All federal and many other employers in and around the District participate in the SmartBenefits program. If your employer does, the program will pick up as much as the first $115 per month of your Metrobus, MetroRail, commuter bus, commuter rail, or even vanpool costs. Definitely worth asking about...
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Old 03-22-2008, 08:53 AM
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
3,203 posts, read 6,590,686 times
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The DC Metro has weekly rail and bus passes. The rail passes do not offer very large discounts for people who use it ONLY for commuting purposes, and they also do not allow you to use the buses. The bus passes do not permit rail trips but do allow you to use ALL the local bus services in each of the nearby jurisdictions (counties or independent cities) in Maryland and Virginia. They are also much cheaper than the rail passes.
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