How to use the Metro in Washington, D.C.

Getting to downtown Washington, D.C. from Reagan National Airport or Union Station is easy if you use the Metro. Our resident D.C. expert guides you step by step between two train stations and offers tips, from the flashing floor lights to the quirky rule of escalator etiquette here. For tourists visiting, here’s how to swipe in and start riding the city’s Metrorail system. Read more: Subscribe to The Washington Post on YouTube:

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Comment (280)

  1. DMV resident here, moved from Takoma Park to Silver Spring in 2000. I used to run (yes run) up the Wheaton escalators jumping two steps at a time everyday when I was in high school. Can’t do that any more though 😞 I didn’t know it then, but apparently they’re among the longest escalators in the world

  2. Wowo, new trains last time I visited it, they have not changed over, love the new digital station map above the doors, but miss the in person announcements.

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  5. I live in DC, know every curve in the metro map by heart, and can tell you the names and lines of every station… why am I watching this?? xD

    But this is a very good guide, thank you for making this. I'm sure many people will find it helpful.

  6. But if you find a card laying around be careful because sometimes people don’t tap out from their last stop and then they owe money. So if you find a card like that you’d have to go to the station manager for them to clear it.

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  8. It is best to use both sides of the escalator for standing. It improves the life of the escalator, due to preferential wear on the right side. And, it increases the number of people that can fit on it at one time. Everyone standing on an escalator is faster for large crowds.

  9. Lived in DC for a long time, there are SO many things wrong with this system, too expensive is #1… everybody including politicians want the benefit of saying we have a trans system no one wants to pay for its existence; trips are too expensive; if you want ppl off the roads you should reward them for one price no matter have far; ppl who work hourly jobs cannot pay 6.00/trip!

  10. SmartTrip has it's own little kiosk at the very end of the machines.
    It's a small vertical long kiosk and it's $10.
    The SmartTrip card has the capacity to hold a $500 limit.
    Each SmartTrip card has a microchip in the middle of the card, that's why it's very important to keep the card away from other machinery or magnetic things because it shall deactivate and you'll loose all of the funds on it.
    Also register your SmartTrip card immediately after purchase!
    Why?! Just in case you loose or misplace it, because the funds that was on the card can be reimbursed to you with a new card.

    Enjoy the 90 stops and be safe!

    Happy trails!

  11. It's amazing they have a system like this in a city that's sub one million people . Unlike New York and Chicago which are 10 times bigger in size and in population why does this town have an extravagant system

  12. This is extremely helpful. I'm from the-middle-of-nowhere, South Carolina and was visiting my sister who is a lawyer in DC. Was short on time, and was afraid I was going to miss my flight. Didn't have enough time to figure out how to get my card and which lines to take, so I just exited the station and took a taxi back to the hotel. Thanks so much for this video. Feel like I could confidently jump on and off with no problem now.

  13. You know what I think is great about Democrat Washington's wannabe state, you have high crime and some serious drug addicts, you have to love them Democrat states baby always on drugs never any solutions in Democrat run states in America.

  14. Soooo your not a local and your commenting about Metro systems in other cities your clearly don’t know about for example no one in New York calls it the subway except ppl like you ahem ppl who move there we call it the train

  15. the stations look so much like Montreal's metro… kind of uncanny. the round lights in the platforms, the blind bumps, the way the escalators are layed out, the concrete panesl that make the walls… the whole look and feel… it's like they hired the same firms or something.

  16. The MOST important protip: when you get off the train at your destination, check the station map to see which end of the station is closest to your destination. Metro stations are long, and if you exit the wrong side, you could be quite far from where you want to go. Also some stations don’t have an elevator at every entrance.

  17. I had to ride the Metro from Shady Grove to Union Station when there was a snafu on the MARC which is what I usually took to catch my amtrak to NYC, luckily a nice person helped me figure out what to do

  18. All the points listed are the same as the London Underground. However….. DO NOT TALK TO ANYONE except tube/underground staff. There was a case of a off duty policeman that got pushed onto the 3rd rail, because of a guy with mental health problems. The guy said to police and tube staff, that 'voices' told him to do it.

  19. I'll never ride the DC metrorail again. The service sucks, security is insufficient, attendants are rude and the trains are disgusting. Crackheads even do and deal illegal drugs in the trains and on the platforms.

  20. I think the escalator rule is not limited to the metro. I think it's an unspoken rule everywhere. I live in Boston and we do the same. It's especially important in airports, I think they have signs there

  21. Well this Video is BS because the guy here on this video is stating that there’s no talking allowed on your smartphone while riding on a Metro Train but I use Metro frequently and I’m hearing many people on their phones having literally stupid conversations up to verbal fights which can be very loud.
    Also Metro doesn’t enforce their rules especially regarding masking up in the Stations and Trains during this Covid pandemic and I see quite a large number of Passengers which disregard this rule and usually if one dares to say something one might end up in a fight. I’ve seen many people jumping the Turnstiles and ride for free and I’m sorry to say they get away with it. I also haven’t seen many of the Station Managers actually walking their Station making sure the Station is clean and the rules are adhered too

  22. I don't take Crash o Rail much anymore. And know where you are going. Check the map in the Metro car. The driver always sounds like the teacher in Peanuts. "Cah Edge Park", "La Flan Plaza", "Jewdishuwary Square". That card is a real pain. If you park in one of their lots, you better have enough on the card or you'll end up having to schlep back to the station to put more money on it. Used to have paper ones but that was too easy.

  23. Nice to watch a video about the underground in Washington. I have visited Washington twice, and traveling both times from New York City I was surprised how clean it was. The New York underground was often really dirty.

    I hope next time I can visit the USA I again can enjoy Washington's underground again!

  24. To the folk harping on the escalator thing:

    You know you're defeating the purpose of the escalator. It's meant to move you, not you move on it. For all that, just take the stairs since you obviously like walking faster than walking pace and faster than the thing can even move you.

    And you wear out the escalator quicker because it's not meant to have people walking on it for long periods of time. It literally screws up the machinery.

    But go ahead and continue to act like you're really doing something with this. Don't let us stop your fun. Job security for the maintenance crews, right?

  25. if that thing drops ….HE is to blame …..that dirty dirty man …and all his games ….its open season on them if that thing drops … not going to take the blame for them destroying everything …..OPEN SEASON …….see how much he likes it ….my lifes already been ruined …..o p e ….

  26. Kinda knew this bc I’m a local lol. Didn’t know about the talking on the phone thing, I typically talk quietly bc I don’t wanna be loud since that Ik is rude. Sometimes you get ppl blasting their music in the metro


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