Getting Around Washington, D.C.

Metrorail and Metrobus
Washington D.C. has an extensive subway network — the Metro System — which opened in 1976 and makes travel through the city and to the outlying suburbs fairly simple. The system is remarkably clean and safe. The Metro has its own security with the authority to make arrests. The stations are well labeled. Large maps decorate the walls, showing off the different lines, all designated by color. There are five lines: the Red, the Orange, the Blue, the Yellow, and the Green.

Each Metro station has maps of the surrounding area and bus stops for Metro System buses, which connect everything that the subway doesn’t reach. The train system shuts down around midnight, though the buses run throughout the night. The Nosferatu and their ghouls maintain a constant watch on the Metro. Little occurs on the trains without their knowledge.

Washington D.C. has an abundance of cabs running around the clock, but all of them operate on the same bizarre rate structure. Taxis charge fares according to the number of zones crossed during a ride rather than by mileage. Thus, a two-block ride may cost more than traveling several miles. The fares inside the city are reasonable, but in the Washington suburbs, taxi fares increase dramatically.

For an individual who isn’t intimately familiar with Washington, city driving can be a nightmare. Streets change names suddenly, shift over a few blocks, become one way, etc. Even an accomplished map reader is in for a time trying to make his way through some of the side streets of D.C. The streets are almost always crammed with cars, and natives enjoy scaring visitors with lightning-fast lane changes and high-speed maneuvers.

Washington has a number of circles where several streets intersect with inner and outer loops. These can cause navigational difficulties even for those who are used to them. Another thing to watch are the number of diplomatic cars with red, white, and blue license plates. The drivers of these vehicles have diplomatic immunity and a well-earned reputation for dangerous driving.

The organization of the streets, however, makes some sense. If a traveler ignores the roads named after states, then she will see that the north-south streets parallel one another in numerical order. The lettered streets, such as K Street and Q Street, travel east-west and follow a logical sequence.

Getting Around Washington, D.C.

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