Tips for Using the Metro

Metro Get yourself a Metro Map: The Metro System has six Metro lines (red, blue, yellow, orange, green, silver). Each Metro line goes in two directions named after the final destination on the Metro line. For example, Metro trains on the orange line are either to Vienna/Fairfax-GMU or New Carrollton. Maps are available free of charge from any metro information booth, and can also be downloaded online.

Washington DC metro Pylons: Riding the Metro can be somewhat confusing to new users because Metro stations are symmetrical. To figure out on which side of the platform to wait for your train, find the name of your destination on the list of Metro stops posted on brown pylons.

Washington DC metro Arrival Time: Large digital screens on the metro platform display the time when the next train will arrive. Also, lights embedded in the edge of the platform flash when a train is arriving to the Metro station. Before boarding, note the color and final destination of the train. The color is shown on the front and back of the train, while the train's final destination is displayed over the front and side windows.

Washington DC metro Peak Hours: If you can, avoid riding the Metro during peak hours... Monday-Friday (Opening to 9:30 am, and 3:00-7:00 pm) and Weekends (Midnight to Closing). During peak hours, delays occur frequently, lines at farecard machines are long, trains are overcrowded, and Washingtonians are often rude. Also, fares are more expensive during peak hours.

Washington DC metro Avoid using the Smithsonian Station during high tourist season. This station is often crowded due to museum visitors. It is highly recommended that you use one of the other stations such as Arlington Cemetery Station or Federal Triangle Station. Also, avoid long lines inside Metro stations after major events, such as concerts or games, by buying a farecard with enough money for your roundtrip travel.

Washington DC metro Be Careful. Metro doors do not have sensors to detect a person's presence. Do not try to hold the doors open when they are closing because your arms or legs will get stucked between the doors.

Do you want to bring your Bicycle? Metro allows bicycles on weekdays (except during rush hour) and all day on weekends.

Washington DC metro Know your Metro Exit. Most Metro stations have more than one exit/entrance. When exiting the train, figure out which exit is closer to your destination. Some exits are very close to major area landmarks. Finding the right one for your destination can save you lots of time above ground.

Metro Etiquette

Washington DC metro On Metro escalators, stand to the right side if you are not going to walk up or down an escalator. The left side of the escalator is used for walking.

When preparing to board a Metro train, let passengers leaving the train get off before you try to get on.

No Food It is unlawful to eat, drink or smoke inside Metro stations.

While on the train, stay away from the doors to make it easier for those entering or exiting the trains.

Related Information


The metropolitan subway system of Washington DC.


Bus complementing the service provided by Metro.

Metro Pocket Guide

Metro Pocket Guide
Essential information for Metro riders.

DC Circulator

DC Circulator
Bus connecting areas that are not accessible by Metro.


SmarTrip Card
SmarTrip can be used in Metro, Metrobus, and DC Circulator.


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