Martin Di Caro
WASHINGTON -- Metro rail riders are being advised prepare for huge crowds on platforms and in train cars today as 600,000 to 800,000 people are expected to ride the rails to President Obama's second inauguration, the transit agency's top official said.
"First and foremost, avoid the lines at vending machines," said WMATA General Manager Richard Sarles, who said the lines to buy paper fare and SmarTrip cards are expected to be very long at some stations due to the throngs of visitors.
Sarles recommends travelers visit www.wmata.com before heading out the door and view a special Metro video designed to help people get around the system on its busiest day of the year.
Three stations will be closed throughout Monday: Smithsonian, Archives, and Mount Vernon Square. Rush hour-level service will be offered from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sarles suggests that passengers avoid transferring on crowded platforms.
“There will be crowds there. You want to avoid that,” said Sarles. “Just get off at a station near the mall and walk.”
An additional 150 transit cops from across the nation will be deputized to assist Metro police, and Metro office staffers will be out at stations helping people navigate the system.