Inaugural transit options all have drawbacks

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 17, 2013 at 8:36 am •  Published: January 17, 2013

The idea is to prevent people from "needlessly traveling through the core" of the city, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said, although there will be no penalty for ignoring that advice.

"Anyone going to the inauguration should plan to walk. This is an event that does require a lot of walking and a lot of standing, and that's just part of the day," Stessel said. "Wear comfortable shoes, dress very warmly and just think about what the day entails. Make sure you're up for it."

Also hoofing it will be people who ride into town on tour buses. About 2,500 buses are expected, and most will park at RFK Stadium. The city will provide shuttle buses, giving priority to elderly and disabled passengers, but some tour-bus riders will probably end up having to walk the 3 miles from the stadium to the Mall, said John Lisle, a spokesman for the district's Department of Transportation.

Four years ago, many tour buses dropped off passengers at Metro stations, but Metro won't allow that this time, Stessel said.

People traveling from Maryland can ride MARC commuter trains, which will offer a schedule tailored to the inaugural crowds. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at select stations on Inauguration Day. Commuter trains from Virginia won't be running, though. In 2009, the Virginia Railway Express was open at the request of the inaugural committee, said Mark Roeber, a VRE spokesman. The rail service received no such request this time and will follow its standard policy of closing when federal offices are closed.

Then there are bicycles, an increasingly popular option for Washington-area commuters. The city will run a massive bike parking lot a few blocks from the White House, and there will also be a station near the Mall with enough space for anyone who wants to drop off a bicycle from the region's popular bike-sharing service. Shane Farthing, executive director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, said riding bikes to the event makes sense — and not just for district residents.

"I think folks even farther out are going to see biking as an attractive option if they want to avoid the crowds," Farthing said.

Even after the inauguration, some travelers may be inconvenienced. People flying out of Reagan National and Dulles International airports on Tuesday have been advised to arrive at least two hours before their scheduled flights because of anticipated crowding and long lines.


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