WMATA plans for inauguration crowds

Metro will add trains, raise fares and shut down some stations to deal with massive crowds during inauguration weekend.

The system will operate on a rush schedule until 9 p.m. on Inauguration Day, which means the higher peak fares will take effect, with continuous trains running every hour. The Metro will also extend its hours Monday, opening at 4 a.m. and closing at 2 a.m.

Between 600,000 and 800,000 people are expected to visit the District for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, straining downtown stations, Metro spokeswoman Caroline Lukas said. The Smithsonian, Archives and Convention Center stops will shut down due to their proximity to the inaugural balls, ceremonies and parade.

There could be up to 30-minute delays Monday, which will likely start once stations open at 4 a.m. and spectators swarm the National Mall.

“All of the downtown transfer stations are expected to be busy. We recommend that customers plan their trip to avoid transferring if at all possible,” Lukas said.

The Foggy Bottom and Farragut West stations, those closest to GW’s main campus, will operate normally throughout the day. Lukas added that escalators might be turned off if there is a large flow of people in and out of the stations.

Bicycles are not allowed on the Mall or metrorail during inauguration weekend, but buses are equipped with bike racks on their fronts.

The District Department of Transportation is setting up a bicycle parking lot with several hundred spots at 16th and I streets. The lot will run on a first-come, first-served basis. Riders will be responsible for locking up their bikes.

Capital BikeShare will remove eight stations within or near the inauguration security perimeter, but corrals are available at 17th and K streets as well as 12th Street and Independence Avenue.

Biking may be one of the quickest ways to get around town, but remember to wear reflective clothing if you can and keep an eye out for pedestrians.

Students should try to use the Metro during the weekend – even on their way to the Inaugural Ball – to avoid traffic and detours, Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell said.

For up-to-date information about schedules and delays, follow WMATA’s official inauguration Twitter account: @MetroInaug.

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