The Five People You’ll Meet on the DC Metro this Summer

DC MetroAs Hoyas, we try to break the bubble as much possible, which means that we’ll likely take a trip on the metro at some point. You’ll probably meet an interesting array of people so here’s a catalog of these people to help you out.

1. The Business Professional

These “yopros” may be annoying, but for many Georgetown students this may be your future. They’re always impeccably dressed with their suits and briefcases and as you travel further into the political heart of DC, you’ll notice that they all have a government-issued security badge. The fresher the hire, the more prominently displayed the badge. They’ll spend most of the ride glued to their smartphone in an attempt to appear productive and important. They’re mostly rush-hour Metro patrons and carry that no-nonsense attitude with them all the time. If you block them on the escalator prepare to be body-slammed.

2. The Tourist

While this breed of Metro-rider is only seen at certain times of the day, the mighty Tourist is a constant presence. Their guide books will tell them to stay away from the Green & Yellow lines (which is stupid) and they will most likely be found on the Blue & Orange lines loudly counting down the stops until the Smithsonian station where they will all depart. Chances are that they will be wearing matching running shoes, fanny packs and tacky Washington D.C. t-shirts and will have a particularly noticeable regional accent. These are the people who stand on the left side of the escalator and take up two seats for one person during rush hour. They just don’t get it.

3. The Family

This type is similar to the Tourist, but the Family unit is ten times worse because they come with loud unruly children. Even if they aren’t tourists, kids have a way of almost getting shut in doors and causing general mayhem. The worst is when parents try to bring strollers into the crowded car and are surprised – mad even – when it doesn’t really fit. They shout, they move around a lot, they miss their stops a lot – they are the embodiment of a Metro nightmare.

4. The Probably Homeless Person

This guy may be homeless, or he may just be making a unique personal lifestyle choice, but he certainly does smells very strange. This person probably has a fairly large collection of empty seats around them – this is partly due to the smell, and partly due to the fact that he may be talking to himself. Even though he may be a perfectly nice person, it’s probably best to give him some space.

5. You

You’re either commuting to your internship or exploring more of the city, but you know enough of the unspoken Metro rules to get by. You have learned to not stand on the left side of the escalators, to not sit in the handicapped seats and, even though you probably don’t know exactly where you’re going, you definitely learned not to discuss that fact too loudly. You’re really just trying to take advantage of everything DC has to offer, and the Metro is the easiest way to do that.

Photo: Anamsong

DCTC: Dulles International Airport

DCTC DULLES

Earlier today, we showed you how to get to Union Station and Reagan National Airport in preparation for spring break at the end of this week!

By popular demand, here is a guide to getting to Dulles International Airport as well!

Route 1 Take/book a SuperShuttle! SuperShuttle is a shared van-ride system that can take you from the front gates right to Dulles. You need to make an online reservation to get one!

Cost: The fare is around $29 to Georgetown main campus for the first passenger in your group and $8 for each additional passenger (up to 5 passengers), excluding tip (check their website for price updates).

Route 2 MetroBus 5A is an express bus going from Rosslyn Metro Station to Dulles. You can take the GUTS bus from the McDonough parking lot to the Rosslyn Metro and take the 5A to the airport.

Cost:  The GUTS bus is free, the fare for this MetroBus is $3.

Route 3 A good ol’ taxicab. And to quote the helpful advice of Matt Caulfield from his article directing you to Reagan, “Hint: Sometimes even if you have a small or manageable bag, the drivers will insist on picking it up for you to put it in their trunk. BEWARE that some services add a bag-handling fee to your fare.”

Cost: It’s about a $60 cab ride (sadly) so grab one or two friends to make it more manageable! 

SmarTrip: One Less Problem to Worry About

What’s the most inconvenient thing about public transportation? If you’re a resident of Washington, D.C. or a student at Georgetown, one thing comes to mind. There’s nothing like that blissful feeling of rushing to the metro only to find a negative balance on your SmarTrip card after swiping it a thousand times. Wonderful.

But there’s some good news! Since a test run with over 1,300 riders, the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) has released a new plan where riders can now connect their credit or debit card information to SmarTrip cards with the option to refill the balance automatically! One less thing I have to worry about! The goal behind the plan is to encourage the use of the plastic, reusable cards rather than the paper fare tickets.

Even better, the original plan arranged for having a minimum of twenty dollars on the card, but now riders can set their own minimum balance. If that’s not making you jump with joy, then you should know that the original plan would originally take a couple of business days to transfer the money, but now it’s up and ready from the moment you sign up. All in all, it’s safe to say that your metro experience might be slightly less painful because of the newly implemented policies. Happy riding!

Now if they could just get automatic toilet paper replacement in bathrooms…

Drink the District: Beer Edition

If there’s one thing that we truly love here at 4E, it’s the phrase “unlimited beer tasting.” Lucky for us, Drink the District is hosting an event that is just that.

On July 28, Drink the District: Beer Edition will take place in Mount Vernon Triangle. Now usually when we hear about events like this, we end up bummed because it costs so much. Not this time! Tickets only cost $30, and they grant you access to unlimited tastings of over 40 craft beers from breweries like Flying Dog, Magic Hat, New Belgium and more. Check out who else will be in attendance here.

You can either day drink and head to the noon-4 session or make it your pregame at the 5-9 session. There will also be plenty of food trucks in attendance (though, sadly, not included in the ticket price). Everyone’s favorite grilled cheese truck, Big Cheese, as well as a pizza truck, tapas truck, Vietnamese truck, and a few different dessert trucks.

Mount Vernon Triangle is a pretty cool area, a short walk from either the Mt. Vernon Square/Convention Center or Gallery Place/Chinatown metro stops. After the event is over, there are plenty of bars and restaurants in Mount Vernon Square and Chinatown if you’re not ready to head back to Georgetown.

Drink the District is a great way to break out of the Georgetown Bubble for a day while learning about beers that aren’t Natty. Because drinking Natty is frowned upon in the real world (I know, it’s sad).

Bonus points: one of the producers and co-creators of Drink the District, John Leader,  is a recent Georgetown grad! Supporting a fellow Hoya while getting drunk on fancy beer — what could be better?

Photo: Drink the District

Metro+ Changes: Coming Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Metro riders are about to see the culmination of a project more than a year in the making that aims to improve rush hour service across the Metrorail system. Rush+, as WMATA has termed it, will add trains in overcrowded segments of the Metro system to alleviate crowding, especially on the Orange Line from Downtown D.C. to Northern Virginia through Rosslyn.

To help riders with the upcoming changes, WMATA has put together a handy-dandy website with a clickable Metro map to discuss the upcoming changes to the system. The changes include:

  • Three additional Orange Line trains in each direction during rush hour, but each of the new trains will run between Vienna and Largo Town Center, not New Carrollton (as most Orange Line trains do).
  • Three fewer Blue Line trains in each direction during rush hour, but the three lost trains will be rerouted onto the Yellow Line, so riders from Pentagon south won’t see any decrease in service. Also, keep in mind the three additional Orange Line trains running to Largo. In all, only one station will see a decrease in service — Arlington Cemetery.
  • Three additional Yellow Line trains in each direction during rush hout, but those trains will run from Franconia-Springfield (replacing lost Blue Line service) to Greenbelt.

All in all, Orange Line stations in Northern Virginia and Green/Yellow Line stations in D.C. will see increased rush hour service. Only Arlington Cemetery station will see decreased service, and all other stations retain their normal service during rush hour (including Dupont and Rosslyn).

For Georgetown students, whose stations won’t see any new service, the biggest change to the Metro system will be with updated signage and snazzy new Metro maps (which are already installed in the trains).

Metro Thief Caught on Tape

For those of you with iPads and/or iPhones, you might want to think twice next time you pull them out the next time you’re on the Metro (unless you’re Daniel Wenger).  Two weeks ago, Wenger, who had just placed his iPad on his lap while riding the metro, had it snatched right out from underneath his fingers. He was able to follow the thief through the closing metro doors and onto the station platform, but not before breaking his arm in the closing doors.

But wait, it gets better. The thief jumped on to the opposite tracks and over the electric third rail. Luckily, someone on the opposite station platform was able to get the Ipad from the thief, and then back to Wenger. If you don’t believe, WUSA 9 news has the video to prove it. Man Tries to Recover Stolen IPad on Metro

First Taxis, Now Metro?

As if increasing cab fares in the District weren’t bad enough, there has been some talk within WMATA (no we’re not the only ones fond of acronyms), of imposing a flat fare on Metro. I’m sure those of you from other cities who are used to flat fares (New York, Boston, St. Louis) may like the idea, but it actually could end up hurting those living in the city.

To put this in perspective, lets say next year if you want to go to a basketball game and decide that cab fares are more expensive and you want to take the metro, it would cost you $1.95 to get to Metro Center from either DuPont Circle or Rosslyn during regular hours ($2.15 at the most during rush hour, but the check WMATA website to see peak hours and off peak hours fares). Using rider statistics and current rates, WMATA estimates that in order for a flat rate to be effective, the fair would have to be $2.90 for all riders, which is higher than in other cities with flat rates (it’s $2.20 in New York). This would make your trip nintey-five cents more expensive for each leg of the trip.

But if ninety-five cents doesn’t seem like that much thank about it this way. If you had gone to all the home games this year and took the metro there and back, it would have been $28.50 more expensive under the flat rate (that’s at least four pitchers at Booey’s on Half Price Wednesday), and its more likely than not that the flat rate would be more expensive.

While it would make figuring out how much to put on your smartcard or metro ticket easier, it just isn’t cost effective for those in the city. It would mean that higher fares for us who don’t have to travel as far would be subsidizing those coming from farther away, and the Metro reaches out pretty far into the more rural areas surrounding D.C. This may end up not even mattering, as its only an idea that WMATA is considering, but next time one of your friends complains about Metro prices, be thankful, because it could be worse.

Photo: thedctraveler.com

 

What’s in a Name? Silver Line Metro Asks for Stations’ Names

With plans for the opening of the Silver Line slated for as early as next year, Metro and Fairfax County are asking for public suggestions for the proposed eight new stations.

Construction on the 23-mile line extending to Dulles Airport and Loudoun County has been been a long time coming. Work on the track began in 2008, but escalating cost and delays have set the project back. Phase I of the construction will extend 11.6 miles between Stadium-Armory and Wiehle Avenue in Reston, Va. Phase II, expected for completion in 2016, will extend service another 11.5 miles from Reston to Herndon, the airport and into Loudoun County. In total, the Silver Line will make stops at 29 stations, 11 of them new.

In order to name the eight new stations in Fairfax County and to increase awareness about the Silver Line project, WMATA has set up a survey for respondents to provide their opinion about the line’s development. The survey will be open until 5 p.m. on March 21st. Creativity is restricted to no longer than 19 characters, so let the name debate begin.

Georgetown Metro Headaches

by Martin Hussey

As if Georgetown didn’t have enough transportation problems, the main conduit for off-campus transportation, the Rosslyn metro station, will be closed for track work this weekend, according to a WMATA press release. The authority will replace trains with free buses between the closed station, but warns Orange and Blue Line riders that delays could reach 20-30 minutes through the construction zone.

Since a trip to Rosslyn from campus already can take up to 20 minutes, try alternate bus routes, particularly the 38B, 32/36, G2, D6 and Circulator.

For the all-important basketball game against South Florida at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning, special game day buses will run between Dupont Circle and the parking lot in front of McDonough, according to an e-mail sent to season ticket holders Thursday. Careful, though, the south entrance to the Dupont metro stop is also closed due to escalator repair.

According to WMATA, the station closure will allow workers to replace rail fasteners and remove sludge in the tunnel under the Potomac River. The rail closures are all part of a $5 billion project over five years to fix aging rail lines that can lead to problems like cracked rails, which have been found in recent weeks at Rosslyn and Tenleytown, causing delays to commuters.