How to Get Around DC Without Metrorail

The D.C. area is still dealing with an unplanned shutdown of the entire Metrorail system for emergency safety inspections.

Metrorail will reopen at 5 a.m. Thursday. Which leaves people who usually count on the system looking for a ride.

Agencies are trying to help commuters cope: For example, D.C. police announced ahead of evening rush that red light photo enforcement is suspended in certain locations for the evening.

Also, expect to see traffic officers directing drivers at busy intersections.

Here are your best options for getting around without Metrorail:

  • Lyft: You might want to download a ride-hailing app like Lyft or Uber now. Find the Lyft app here for either iPhone or Android. Lyft is offering first-time riders $20 off their first ride if they use the code METROHELP. The company is advising drivers to expect "very high demand."
  • Uber: Find the Uber app on iTunes here or on Google Play here. Uber surge pricing likely will be in effect, but it will be capped at 3.9X. New users can use the promo code METRODC to get a free ride worth as much as $25. UberPOOL, in which passengers share cars, will be available across the entire D.C. area. Passengers using uberX can use the fare split feature in the app to share the cost of the trip, a company spokeswoman said. 
  • Taxi: You can, of course, hail a cab on the street, but you can also order one online or by phone. has a list of District taxi companies online here. The DC Taxicab Commission will allow multiple passengers to be picked up together and dropped off at different locations without any additional surcharges.
  • Capital Bikeshare: Capital Bikeshare stations are located throughout the area. You cansee rates or sign up here. Bikeshare said Tuesday that it would offer free 24-hour memberships; be aware that bikes may be in high demand. Also, the Washington Area Biking Association (@WABA) tweeted this Google map of D.C.-area trails, bike lanes and bike-friendly roads.
  • Car2Go or Zipcar: Public transportation not an option for you? You can get a short-term rental car from Car2Go or Zipcar.
  • Metrobus: Buses will be running, and will add extra service particularly in the morning, to help students get to school. See Metrobus timetables here or use WMATA's trip planner (choose the "bus only" option). Metrobus serves 11,500 bus stops in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Regular bus fares are $1.75, and 85 cents for seniors and people with disabilities. Express bus fares and airport express routes cost more.
  • MetroAccess: MetroAccess will operate normally.
  • Metro station parking lots: Parking will be free in garages and lots for bus riders and carpoolers.
  • D.C. Circulator: Circulator buses will run Wednesday, and rides will be free. Additional buses will run between Georgetown and Union Station, Woodley Park and McPherson Square, and Dupont Circle and Rosslyn. Like Metrobus and Metrorail, the Circulator accepts SmarTrip cards. See the schedule here, and click the name of any of the bus routes to see exact pickup spots.
  • Other regional buses: If you live outside of D.C., check the schedules for Montgomery County's RideOn Bus, Prince George's County's The Bus, Fairfax County's Fairfax Connector or Arlington County's ART bus. Several regional bus lines say they have added capacity for tomorrow. Alexandria's DASH bus will run special off-peak service from several Metro station; see all details here.
  • Commuter Rail: MARC in Maryland and VRE in Virginia will continue to run. All Camden Line MARC trains will stop at Greenbelt, including those that usually do not stop there. Train times will be longer. MARC also said it will add capacity to some Brunswick and Camden line trains, and add bike cars to some Penn Line trains for those biking to stations.
  • Driving: Drivers should expect increased traffic. Maryland had said it would relax HOV restrictions on I-270, but late Tuesday reversed that decision, which might have led to more single-car drivers on the busy road. In Virginia, express lanes will operate normally Wednesday, with tolling and HOV lanes. Any excess revenue will be donated to Northern Virginia Family Service, the Virginia Department of Transportation said.
  • Parking: D.C.'s Department of Public Works suspended street sweeping to keep parking spaces open on residential streets.
  • Streetcar: The recently opened D.C. Streetcar system that runs from Union Station along H Street NE will be open Wednesday. "So... we're open tomorrow if anyone needs a ride," the system tweeted Tuesday. Learn how to use the streetcar system here.

If you're out and about on foot Wednesday, know that temperatures will be pleasant, in the 70s. However, Storm Team4 said there will be a chance of showers after 3 p.m. The rain, if it comes, won't be heavy but will enough to get you wet.

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