Tips for navigating D.C. Inauguration Day

Media Credit: Ethan Stoler | Hatchet Photographer

Metro trains will run from 4 a.m. to midnight on Inauguration Day.

Navigating the city on Jan. 20 will be a challenge because of the thousands of tourists, road closures and transportation delays.

Crowds and delays will occur throughout the city due to extensive road closures, especially around the Capitol and Pennsylvania Avenue. And the city will close train, bus and Capital Bikeshare stations in the area.

Here’s what you need to know to avoid travel delays and still enjoy the historic day:

If you choose to take the Metro, trains will run from 4 a.m. to midnight Inauguration Day. WMATA will charge peak fares, which range from $2.15 to $5.90, on all lines between 4 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Stations within secured areas – including the Archives, Mt. Vernon Square, Federal Triangle and Smithsonian stations – will be closed all day. Other stations could potentially close based on security needs, according to a WMATA release.

WMATA is offering a limited number of 2017 Inaugural SmarTrip cards, which allow riders to take unlimited Metro rail and bus trips Inauguration Day. The card costs $10 and can be purchased online on the WMATA website or at participating CVS stores, including the CVS in The Shops at 2000 Penn.

On Inauguration Day, Metrobus will operate on a special schedule that will have more buses running than a typical Saturday service but less than on normal weekdays.

The 30N, 30S, 31 and 33 buses all stop on the Foggy Bottom campus and proceed to make stops along Pennsylvania Avenue and near the National Mall. These buses will travel from campus to the National Mall between 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Due to road closures along the National Mall, many routes will stop near the National Mall then turn around instead of going through to the other side of the Mall near the Capitol Building, according to a WMATA release.

Bus fares will remain at $1.75, but riders should rides to take longer than usual.

Uber, Lyft and Via
Students traveling to the inauguration by car will likely use ridesharing services, like Uber, Lyft and Via and should be aware of delays, increased rates and inability to access the apps in certain areas.

Ridesharing apps will not work near the National Mall on Inauguration Day, due to a security geofence around the perimeter of the Mall and surrounding streets including in Foggy Bottom and near the White House. Riders will need to exit the secured area before requesting a ride.

On Inauguration Day, Uber’s fares will be the highest and riders can expect the longest delays, according to company’s website.

Due to the massive crowds and road closures, cars will likely need to take alternate routes and parking will be difficult. Services like Uber, Lyft and Via will also charge surge fares due to increased demand.

GW sits in an ideal location near the White House and National Mall, so students can bike to inauguration events. But road closures may keep them from using Capital Bikeshare.

In 2013, Capital Bikeshare suspended service at all stations along the parade route and many around the National Mall. The company warned customers that bikes at docking stations around the city may be uneven, as staff are unable to rebalance or move bikes to different stations because of traffic restrictions downtown.

Capital Bikeshare has not yet released information on closings for this inaugural weekend.

On foot
GW has the luxury of being close to the swearing-in ceremony and inaugural parade, so students should plan on walking Inauguration Day.

Travelers should be mindful of road closures and security changes. Most road closures will only affect vehicular traffic. The main pedestrian road closure affecting students traveling from campus will be on Pennsylvania Avenue west of 19th Street.

The easiest way to snag a spot on the parade route will be to walk along Pennsylvania Avenue from campus until hitting 19th Street. For students who are heading to the Capitol Building for the swearing-in ceremony, walking straight toward the Mall will be the best way to get into the area.

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