Friday Question of the Day – Do you ride metro less often than you used to?


Thanks to a reader for sending the photo above yesterday “Time stamp: 12:21. PM, not AM.”

Anyway it just got me thinking how much we’ve been griping about metro lately – so as a result do you ride it less than you used to? For those that use metro to commute to work – anyone now use another form of transport? If so, what type? Do you use it on the weekends?

176 Comment

  • figby

    much less — too crowded, slow, chaotic. Even in rush hour, it feels like Soviet subway (but less punctual?) I tried switching to the bus but that was even less reliable and I sat near a guy who actually shit himself on the bus the other day. The whole system feels barbaric, dangerous, filthy and unwell. And yet, not inexpensive.

    • The Moscow subway system built by the USSR is by many accounts the best in the world, even back in the soviet era. They did do some things right you know, we would be lucky to have a subway system built by the soviets, it would be so much better.

      • st petersburg subway is awesome too. And beautiful.

        • Yeah, I rode the St. Petersburg subway last year, and it was far better than DC metro in every way possible. We might have won the space race, but Russia won transit the run

      • I’ve rode lots of the Soviet metros – they are all more reliable than our WMATA. Its sad that ours has been ineptly managed, starved of investment, never grown/adapted to the changing population, and is now nearly broken.
        We just can’t have nice things.

  • Metro is still the least worst alternative for commuting, so I still use it to get to work. But, I have stopped using it on nights and weekends. It’s a real shame. But, Metro has basically become a commuter rail line at this point.

    • I’m in the same boat, and with the way they schedule trains on nights and weekends it seems that is how WMATA wants us to view the system.

      • +1 I only use the subway now for commuting to and from work. Fortunately where I live there are several bus lines that are handy for weekend travel.

    • Samesies. I live in DC and work in Alexandria, am car-free and often too lazy to bike. So, I metro to and from work. At some point this summer, I found that my standard daily one-way commute got longer by about 7 minutes. It seems like once every 2-3 weeks I have some sort of mega delay. I often choose to work from home instead of taking metro since I don’t know which day will be the mega delay day and I don’t want to risk it.

      Weekends, I bike, walk, taxi, or uber, but rarely ever metro.

      • SouthwestDC

        Same here, except the working from home part. I work near DCA, and my girlfriend gets the car because her job is further out and not public transit accessible at all. She usually drops me off in the morning, but evenings I’m often on my own, and Metro’s the only viable option. I like buses better, but my route would involve 3 buses and bus service in VA is not very good. The walk home is very nice but it takes over 2 hours so I don’t do it that often!

  • Tsar of Truxton

    I used to use it all the time for 7 or 8 years (including daily commute), but I’ve stopped using it completely now. I drive to work instead it takes me 10 minutes instead of 30 (or more with delays). For weekends and evenings, uberx and car2go are only slightly more expensive ($6/7 v. $2+) and way quicker/more convenient. It’s worth every penny to not have to walk to metro, wait forever, then walk to final destination.

    • Same. I live six blocks from a metro stop and commuted to work that way for years, but in September I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and now I drive to work. Even though it costs a lot more (my work subsidizes Metro, but not parking), it cuts my commute time in half and I have not regretted it one bit.

  • Most definitely. Don’t ride that shitshow anymore. One of the best things about living close in is that I don’t have to.

  • I used metro every workday for almost 10 years. It got so unpleasant in the last year that I use it maybe once a month now. I do my best to walk to work (about three miles) but if I’m running late or the weather is icky I take a bus or occasionally a cab.

    • Same here. The bus is much more convenient at out current, interim location, and in a month or so I’ll be primarily driving (and not thrilled about that fact). But, when I lived in Columbia Heights, I realized that it took me about 5 minutes longer to walk to work than metro, given the need to transfer. So, for the past three years or so, I did that – a little over 3 miles. I miss it – it’s a nice way to start the morning – and highly recommend it for anyone who is physically and geographically able. Metro’s inefficiencies weren’t the reason I started walking, but it sure was nice to not have to deal with it in the morning.

  • skj84

    Yes. I’m writing this as I ride the D6 home because it’s faster, cheaper and closer to my house. I make every effort possible to avoid Mwtro if I can. Walk, bike or bus.

  • Switched from train to bus during inclement weather days. Forced myself to learn the bus system. Best thing ever – WMATA’s busses are actually pretty reliable. More so than the metro trains.

    Honestly, a lot of young people I know have switched to the bus or bike. Metro is too expensive, crowded, and unreliable.

  • Yes, absolutely. Switched my commute from metro to bike + bus, take buses or ubers pretty much everywhere I can’t get on my own power. Only time I use metro now is if I’m going out to visit a couple of friends who live on the end of the orange line–and I do that less frequently now too.

  • Absolutely. I typically still ride rail to work, but it’s become so unreliable on weekends that I either avoid travel or use some other means to accomplish what I need to get done. I have been known, lately, to grab the bus that travels right in front of my house and go ALL the way across town to do my grocery shopping (once I arrive across town, the bus drops off a half block from the grocery store, and picks back up one block away, and it runs every 15 minutes on “Saturday” service, and it only takes 18 minutes to get across town once I board…). Given that I know that will take waiting 16-28 minutes for a train EACH WAY to go to the grocery store ONE STOP down the line from me, that’s a better option. Yes, I could walk it in 15 minutes, and that would be fine *going,* but COMING with a week’s worth of groceries in tow is a slog.
    Plus, well, I “didn’t sign up for this.” When Metro runs their regular weekend service on my line of every 6-8 minutes, a trip to the grocery store is a breeze. That’s what they did when I moved where I live. A couple years later, they basically said “too bad, sweetheart.”
    To double down, in redeveloping some of their (Metro’s) property fairly close to me, to the point I could walk it reasonably, one of the proposals had a LOI from Harris Teeter, and they selected a different developer with no grocery store. Hitting me on all sides…gee, thanks, glad Uber and Lyft exist and you haven’t totally f’ed the bus service, YET.

  • Whenever I can, I’ll bike (which is most of the time). Then I opt for bus over metro – it’s easier to bail out if there is an issue and start walking, or get a CaBi, or a cb

    • Same. I was a daily Metro rider who gave up and bought an electric bike. Three years in it has saved me >$1,000 over what I was spending on Metro (above the subsidized portion) and probably that or more in cab fare. And I’ve never been stuck in traffic.

  • Less for sure but it’s hard to peg on just one factor. Of course, the epic wait times outside rush hour is a factor but I rebuilt my life around biking and, once you get used to sliding past traffic jams and over train stations while getting a nice workout out, your patience for dealing with both is diminished.

    We also have many more options than we used to in the city – various carshare companies, the Lyft / Uber rise, bikesharing, Circulator and solid Metro Bus system, so that 10 minute walk to the Metro station is less appealing than it once was.

    We used to have to make about a monthly trip out to the suburbs for our mainstream shopping needs. Now, I can walk to those amenities. People complain, but the Target / Bed Bath and Beyond complex (I refuse to call it DC USA) was perhaps one of the most transformational elements of DC as a functional city.

    I also have a newer job that’s close to Metro but a little awkward with the transfer and walking.

    I just wish Metro would acknowledge that ridership is down in an era of surging demand for transit because of their weekend slow downs. “Eh… I’ll just grab an Uber” is a phrase I hear over and over and over. That money adds up.

  • The metro got a lot worse and taxis (or should I really say Uber) got better. Didn’t take much to switch.

  • I’ve used Metro more in the last five years because I live in 16th St. Heights and work in Crystal City. Luckily for me, I travel during non-rush hours and have a very pleasant commute from Petworth or CH to CC. I usually sit in the same seat in the same car of the Yellow line and love, love, love crossing over the river and looking out over the city. I bike to work 1-3 times a week.

  • Anonynon

    100% much rather would rely on busses to get where i need to go rather than metro. Especially on weekends…why do they have to make it such a gamble with 20+ minute wait times plus frequent single tracking ontop of that. Also, I have noticed the rides have been considerably slower and more stop and go then i remember in the past. Seriously thinking about buying a car soon.

  • I specifically got a new job for which I *wouldn’t* have to ride the Metro.

    And I’ve just about given up using it on the weekend. You just can’t depend on it.

  • I haven’t ridden Metro once since the last derailment in early August.

  • Much less. I drive to PG from Woodley and only really take the metro if I’m going downtown and know parking will be a beast. But for most places I don’t drive to, I take the circulator.

  • I ride it more often due to a job change. I find it quite convenient, but I also work from 7-4pm, so it isn’t very crowded. I usually wait ten minutes for a train both to and from work on the blue line.

  • Much less than I used to. I live in the city and work in the ‘burbs, and find it much more pleasant to drive to work. On the weekends I’ll walk or uber in most cases, simply because it’s unreliable, dirty, hot, and slow.

  • Anyone try bridj? I see those bands in Petworth quite often.

    • Yep. I take it almost every morning now, although I walk or take metro back home in the evening, depending on plans and weather. It runs mostly on time, is reliable in terms of arrival time, and never breaks down, costs about the same as metro (currently $3 a trip), and has guaranteed seating on ~11-person mini-buses. Plus, I can actually read or do something productive in the mini-buses. The only downside is it still drives through traffic, so if something gets jammed up, so will the Bridj, and the mini-buses don’t have very good shocks. Even with that, I can’t even imagine taking metro in the morning anymore.

    • Yeah – I’ve ridden them, but it’s always empty. Maybe I’m the only one.

    • I love Bridj. It’s such a great system. Hope more people start using it!

      • SouthwestDC

        They need to start offering DC-VA service. My Metro commute takes 40 minutes on a good day, but only 10-15 by car (and it’s a reverse commute so traffic usually isn’t a problem). And unlike routes within the city, there’s not a bus option and it’s too far to walk. It would be perfect for someone like me.
        I tried UberPool last week but it cost $12; too expensive to do on a regular basis.

    • I wish Bridj had a cross-town service. I live in Petworth and work in Tenleytown. It’s a pain to get to work, especially as Metro has become less and less reliable, plus crowded, dirty, etc. Now, I drive to work nearly every day, even though I’d rather take public transportation. I’ve been thinking about trying Uber carpool.

  • Quotia Zelda

    No, but I wish I could ride it less.

    • binpetworth

      +1. If there was a bus that crossed the 14th St Bridge into south Arlington/Alexandria from downtown, I’d be all over that. Unfortunately, the train is my best commuting option, though I avoid it on weekends.

      • What about the 16X? I’ve used it on occasion when the Blue/Yellow lines are having problems. There are a few others like the 11Y and 13Y, but they run so rarely that they’re useless.

        • binpetworth

          Unfortunately, the 16X is routed such that I’d need to make 2 bus transfers–one in downtown to catch it at Federal Triangle and another at the Pentagon to head toward the Crystal City/Braddock corridor. But I’ll keep it in my back pocket in the event of another bridge rail meltdown.

      • yes. this.

        I am right near the king street metro, but i always find buses that stop at braddock. Now i can walk to king street, but when it’s really dark out, i dont want to make that trek.

        i hate going over the ‘bridge’ towards reagan because a few times, the train just leans and it feels like we’re going to fall. I was in one situation where a few people were like “oh my god, the train is literally tipping. what the hell?!’


      • SouthwestDC

        YES YES YES. I’ve been begging Arlington County to extend Metroway into DC. Currently the route is pretty limited, but the buses are so nice and they run frequently. We just need them to cross the bridge to be truly useful. Even if they stopped at L’Enfant Plaza, that would be good enough.

  • I live a block from a metro entrance. I take the bus to work and the convenient times for me to use the metro would be nights/weekends, but yeah right! Especially if switching lines is involved. What a nightmare.

  • I use to go downtown on saturdays and sundays. now? never. I live in Old town, so now i just go there to see friends instead of “hey, let’s all go into DC and do something!”

    I cant even remember when i went to georgetown last. i use to go all the damn time. *sigh*

  • lol. i realized i forgot to answer the question. my answer was I do ride it less on the weekends. I do have to take it to work though.

  • I still take it to work, but I used to ride it extensively for recreational purposes. I do not do that so much anymore and mostly walk. I also take the bus on occasion. The result is instead of riding metro all of the time now just ride it occasionally.

    • I mean occasionally for recreational purposes, commuting I still use it. If I want to get downtown for fun, I take the bus. The benefit of living in DC is the fact I can do that. I also do not go to Virginia much anymore because the metro is such a mess.

  • I literally moved within walking distance and am paying rent that is way over what I would otherwise be willing to pay, just so that I don’t have to ride the metro to and from work anymore.

  • Yes. I still take Metro for weekday commuting (sadly, I live too far to walk), but almost never on weekends anymore. I drive or Uber if I need to get someplace outside of regular commuting hours.

  • justinbc

    Significantly less than I used to. I rely almost solely on the Metro buses or BikeShare now and only take Metro train if I’m going directly to / from somewhere that has a stop within a 5 minute walk and is across town.

  • Ashy Oldlady

    I used it daily to get to and from work around eight or nine years ago, and it was very reliable in those days. Now I use it one or two days per week and avoid it completely at night or on the weekends. Buses, cabs/rideshare and driving have taken its place, for the most part.
    Speaking of driving, traffic in DC has also gotten a lot worse in the last decade. I often wonder if it’s partly because there are a lot of people like me who have replaced Metro with driving.

  • I take metro to work every weekday. I almost never take it weekends. I get an Uber or drive.

  • I used to take it daily but won a battle for parking at work. Now I take it maybe once or twice per year. In related news, I am a much happier and more pleasant human being these days.

  • Definitely. I take Uber (almost) every day now. I calculated the average trip time for my commute via meto over 30 days and it took on average 54 minutes and cost a little over $3. Uber gets me home in an average of 14 minutes and costs $10. By taking metro i was effectively valuing my time at less than $11 an hour.

  • When I lived in DC in summer 2011, I took the metro everywhere. Since I moved back in 2013, I take the bus 95% of the time (unless there’s a situation where roads are closed or traffic is bad, like with the Pope visit). The trains don’t come frequently enough on the weekends, and the bus takes a direct route to work. I particularly like the Circulator buses, since they’re so cheap and they come every ~10 minutes. The metro is not at all what it used to be even a few years ago.

  • gotryit

    Less. I bike to work more often, even if it’s a little less comfortable. I also drive more now (1-2x per month) than before (1-2x per year), but its mostly biking more. Thanks WMATA!

  • Totally quit Metro a couple of months ago. I work in the suburbs and hate traffic, but it’s surprisingly less stressful. You never know what you’re going to get when you get on Metrorail, but discomfort and anxiety were usually a given.

  • emvee

    I take metro maybe twice a month – that may be an overestimate. I walk to work most days and take the bus when the weather is too atrocious. On the weekends I either bus or bikeshare (or Uber when it gets cold). If I’m waiting for a bus, I can at least walk the bus route until it catches up with me and I can feel like I’m still making progress or just not stuck in an underground tunnel. My main complaint is that the price is way too high for something so unreliable.

    • “My main complaint is that the price is way too high for something so unreliable.”
      In my opinion, WMATA is going to have to find a way to REDUCE fares for awhile in addition to improving service in order to get their rail riders back. Their bus service, along with bikeshares, are increasingly strong competition for them in both price and reliability.

      • emvee

        Oh absolutely. Bikeshare and bus love forever.

        • Weren’t people yesterday saying you’re not supposed to use Bikeshare for commuting?

          • No, people were saying it’s not designed for commuting. But if you can make it work that way then go for it.

          • +1 Krampus
            If you can get to work in less than 30 minutes, then great. But people who are riding it for 40-60 min to get to work are just wasting their money. Likewise, people who require a bike everyday to get to work. They’d be better served by buying their own bike, rather than complaining about how all the bikes are gone by 7:45am.

  • Much less often, and every time I ride it I am amazed at how much of a POS it really is, in a context of global subway systems.

  • Much less and not at all on weekends. I ride either the circulator (Best deal in the city) or bike share (three bikes stolen so I rent)

  • I take the metro most weekdays to and from work, although I’ve been playing around more with walking to/from at least part of my commute. I must say, I have such a hard time in the morning getting my sh!t together enough to walk to work, and I don’t like the fact that there are hardly any people on the route I walked, it didn’t feel especially safe to be passing drug lookouts and have no one else around besides dealers/customers. Obviously I occasionally bumped into a mom walking her kids to school or similar, I just think I’d need to find a different route. I have been doing more walking home, though, and that’s nice if I’m not in a rush, there are tons of people out, etc. I rarely take the metro on weekends because it’s too. damn. unreliable. Honestly our metro system is such an embarrassment. I have friends coming in from the UK next year for a visit, and I feel like I’m going to be apologizing half the time for the miserable state of our metro system.

  • Way less frequently. I used to metro every day to work but walk now. For the places I go that aren’t walking distance (more than a 30-45 minute walk away), I generally take the bus or cab/uber.

  • brookland_rez

    Definitely less. I ride my motorcycle as much as possible, only use metro when the weather is crappy.

  • I used to use metro nearly every day of the week. I used it to commute to work, and then would regularly ride it on weekends.

    That stopped ~3 years ago. Even during the height of rush, it is very unpredictable, and the weekends? Ha…forget about it.

    I drive to work now. Its probably been 6 months since I’ve ridden a metro train, and from what I see on the news, its just gotten worse

  • Absolutely much less. I’ve started walking 3 miles to and from work everyday. While this will obviously not be sustainable during the winter months, I must say— I’m loving it much more than the chaos that is metro.

    • Same here. I use it much less and have been walking a lot more – usually about 2-3 miles or the whole 4 miles. I’ll keep walking in the winter, unless there’s ice.

  • Silver line just opened up literally on the same block as my work, out in VA, and I used to be a 20 minute walk from Eastern Market. For a little while, it was nice option when I didn’t feel like driving. But this year I live less than a block from yellow, and the few times I’ve taken it, I’ve regretted it.
    Beyond the unreliability, the fare is over $20 a day for my wife and me to metro, versus carpooling in the Prius for about $1.80 per day in gas, not to mention the commute time being way shorter (although more stressful) when I drive. With all the folks abandoning metro, I feel like traffic has gotten slightly worse, although it’s obviously hard to attribute it to any one thing (school starting back up made my life hell again, for one).

  • Yes. I even started a job that has a 7 mile bike commute. I still try and take metro as little as possible. It’s the tiny little waits that add up to me always being to work 30 minutes later than I’d like to when I take metro. Huffing and puffing, I’m down 15 lbs, watching beautiful deer in the park on my way to work, and seeing the leaves change. If I have to take metro my day always stinks.

  • dcgator

    Just about the same, which is, not often. BIkeshare, walk, or bus(t)!

  • I live the Stadium-Armory stop, so I’m riding it a lot less. Living where I do, metro is only barely useful on weekdays between rush hours since 2/3 of our service has been cut. The amount of money Uber makes off me has dramatically increased over the past 1-2 months, but at least I get where I’m going on time without a horrendous (or totally unpredictable) wait.

  • Metro service has deteriorated so badly that I avoid it whenever feasible. Just the other day I attempted to take the Red Line home after a Caps game downtown. The wait for a train — immediately after a game with 20,000 fans — was 33 minutes. Yes, it was late, but that kind of sporadic service is simply unacceptable.

  • I ride it more often now, only because I’ve moved further away from downtown and within 2 blocks from a metro stop. My first 3 years in DC I didn’t live near a metro, but lived close to my job and took the bus or walked everywhere. I hate metro and hate that I’m forced to rely on it.

  • Much less… I walk rather than risk a transfer and I haven’t used metro on the weekends in a LONG time. It’s just not reliable and super slow.

    Also now avoiding anything with my kids on the metro since the Petowrth elevator is out until the new year.

    I’m about to change jobs and looking at buses and bridj as alternative ways to commute. Petworth to Dupont is a crappy commute it turns out.

    • seriously, that elevator! And tell me, why in the ever living hell does it take 4 months – 4 MONTHS! – to repair or fix one effing elevator! I feel so badly for folks with mobility issues, be they disabled or having to wrangle small children and all their gear!

  • absolutely. I have a 30 minute walk to work. I used to try to mix it up between metro and walking (some days walk, some days metro). Now I pretty much exclusively walk unless the weather is absolutely horrendous. It’s too crowded and there are so many delays it’s just better to have the predictable 30 minute walk (plus I like the exercise).

  • As a car-less lady, I’ve very intentionally lived within a ten minute walk of a metro stop in the 10+ years I’ve lived in DC.

    In a week I’m moving to an area with no immediate metro access and I couldn’t be happier. The only reason I have no qualms about losing access to metro is because of its drastic decline in recent years.

  • Because of how unreliable the metro has become my personal use policy is to only take it to and from work during rush hour. Any other times, (during the work day, weekends) I only will take Uber or Lyft. Outside of rush hour metro is too on reliable to depend on.

  • I definitely ride less – crowded, expensive, unreliable, and if you get stuck in the tunnels there isn’t a way to communicate that you’ll be late. Thankfully, there’s a bus that goes almost directly from my apartment to my office, and I also have Capital BikeShare, which is great for the downhill morning commute. If there’s a way for me to avoid Metro, I do. I still occasionally use metro as a backup for my commute, but if at all possible I don’t use it on the weekends or nights.

    I think I’d use it more if it was less expensive, but my small NGO doesn’t give a transportation stipend so honestly, it isn’t worth it for me to take metro if I can use a cheaper form of transportation.

  • I ride metro rail a few time a month. I ride metro bus more often and nowadays bike to most places. Last time I rode metro rail during lunch hour to meet someone the wait for the next train was like 10 minutes. Not horrible but still a much longer wait that I would like during lunch hour.

  • I’ve divested completely! I used to ride metro daily and use it every weekend (but this is back around 2009/2010). Now I can go weeks or months without ever stepping foot in the decrepit thing. Honestly, it has probably been 2 years since I rode the metro on a weekend. Despite living only 2 blocks from metro, I vastly prefer driving, biking, Uber, and walking. Biking particularly is more reliable and free, but of course not everyone has that option. I feel very lucky that I have options and realize a lot of people don’t.

  • Like many others I have to ride it to work but I never take it on the weekends and try not to take it in the evenings if I’m out late somewhere. I have a car so I drive on the weekends and in the evenings I try to go home first and get my car. I’m going to try to start working from home once a week just to decrease my commuting costs. I put $150 on my smarttrip each month and I have just enough to get home this evening. I even live in DC. It’s ridiculous.

  • essentially never use it unless i’m going to a baseball game. i live in upper bloomingdale so it’s about a 20 minute hike to the noma or RI ave metros anyway, hardly worth it especially if i’m switching trains (so to be fair, i wasn’t really using it much even before the crash in service because i’ve been up here for 5 years). i bike to work 95% of the time, bus if it’s raining (although honestly the 80 bus is sort of its own nightmare – the route to the CBD seems so inefficient). everyone who is able to should quit metro and start biking! you won’t regret it.

  • Definitely, given the ridiculously shitty service we’ve been suffering with for years now at night and on weekends. I still commute on weekdays by Metro, but if I’m out in the evening on the weekend, I’ll frequently drive or take taxi/Uber/Lyft, which costs significantly more, because who wants to wait forever to get home after a night out?

    What really pisses me off is that riders have been complaining for YEARS on social media about how bad Metro has gotten, but the media and our “leaders” only started paying attention when things got so run down that they couldn’t ignore it any more, and now we’re in crisis mode all the time.

  • Only infrequently metro, and I’ve taken it more this year than any of the last 5. I’m moving closer to it soon, so maybe I’ll use it more, but I prefer buses or walking then driving depending on what’s happening. Mostly cost vs value for me then time.

  • I used to use the metro to commute since I didn’t have to look up the bus time tables and worry about leaving at a specific time. I no longer take the metro. It was just stressful and didn’t save me much time. I now use the bus 90% of the time and have had great experiences with it.

  • I take it much less on weekends now as I am tired of watching the smorgasbord of food consumption on the trains and in the stations. The attendants do nothing as the riders are eating and drinking and thus littering and dropping crumbs. We used to have a world class, clean Metro system and I can’t watch. Weekday riders seem much better behaved on the food consumption.

  • Almost never despite living right over the metro and working just blocks from a stop on the same line. The bus is faster and more reliable if I’m not in the head of rush hour (and I rarely am). It is also cheaper and I have cell service. Win win.

  • I avoid the metro on nights and weekends because its unreliable. If I make plans with someone, I want to be able to tell them I’ll be there by 8 pm. Not 8:20 or whenever the metro stops single tracking. If metro beefed up its weekend and evening train times and gave factual times on when it’s arriving, I would definitely use it more often.

  • Because of circumstances, yes. After I moved to Park View it became faster for me to drive to and from work and that matters because I don’t want to leave the dog alone too long.
    I lost my smarttrip card for 2 weeks and I didn’t even know it.
    But, I still use buses and metro outside of commuting, just not metro on the weekends unless it’s just a green line ride because that’s under construction less.
    I still plan to use it to get to work when the weather is bad though.

  • maxwell smart

    100% refuse to use Metro. Will bike, bus, drive, cab or walk instead.

  • I only ride the metro daily to/from work. I ride it far less on the weekends now than I used to before when I first moved to DC 12 years ago. On weekends, I may occasionally take the metro to my destination but then an uber or taxi home afterwards (with apps like uber and taxis taking credit cards, this has become so much easier). No way I ever plan to take the metro at night by myself! We have a car that we use to get around on weekends (although I hate driving!)

  • Absolutely! My first year (2011) in DC I relied on metro for everything! After that horrendous year I said never again and moved to where I could walk to work. Now I walk/bike everywhere and usually spend no more than $10 a month on Metro and bus.

  • Since I moved into the city I use it less. I used to take Metro to work when I lived in Silver Spring but now it’s actually more than twice as long door to door to take Metro than it is to drive. So I drive to work and then walk almost anywhere else in the city I want to go. Weekends are a definite no. I can’t remember the last time I rode Metro on a weekend.

  • Definitely much less than I used to, even with the generous federal subsidy. When it’s nice out, I walk to work; when it’s not, I take the bus. On the weekends and nights, I avoid Metrorail entirely and, four years ago, even switched jobs so that I could avoid a Metrorail-dependent commute to SW DC.

    When I first moved to this area 17 years ago, I took Metrorail nearly all the time. By the time I returned from grad school out of the area six years ago, the system had definitely entered its current death spiral. It’s sad to read how many of the other commenters have returned to their cars, but it’s an indicator of just how far Metrorail has fallen.

  • I typically bike to work and bike some on weekends. I really love MetroBus, and I take Metro for longer trips to the burbs on occasion. I make use of things like Uber, Lyft, and Car2go rarely. I love metro. I love public transit. But, metro has gotta step it up on nights and weekends. This system is not just meant to be a commuter rail, but slowly, that is what WMATA is allowing it to become.

  • Absolutely yes. I didn’t have a car for 9+ years, and would ride Metro or take the bus everywhere. I only take Metro to work now (because its subsidized) and never on weekends. I have a car now and I find myself taking cabs/Uber, walking, or CaBi much more often than taking Metro. The systems terrifies me.

  • I ride Metro more now, and I am not happy about that. I’ve moved to a place with a Blue Line commute, which was a mistake. The trains do not run often during morning rush hour, so I am late more often than I’d like. During the evening rush hour, the trains run very regularly and it is no problem getting home quickly. But some mystery offloading events and strong fumes in the tunnels on some days have convinced me that my next move will be to someplace with a bus or walking commute. I just don’t think that Metro is safe or well run enough that I want to put myself in a position to ride it this much again.

  • I used to ride metro all the time, but I now rarely use it. Biking, buses, walking, uber…I prefer all other modes of transportation.

    Summer of last year (2014) it was so awful — I would spent approximately 20-30 minutes waiting for each train, but I’d never know that going in because their dashboards would lie about the wait time. I’d come in and it would be 8 minutes, but then they’d just keep adding time on every time it would count down. I was chronically late that summer, but my travel time also doubled. I was stranded at Fort Totten once for 45 minutes, but the dashboard never read a number high enough to be in double digits — so of course I just kept waiting. That’s just unacceptable.

    And the red line?

    I’m sorry this is long, but I have to tell this story:

    My friend and I were taking the red line train around 8:00pm on a Friday night, traveling from Gallery Place station. When we got there the station was packed — clearly no train had been by for awhile. The dashboard said the next red line would be 11 minutes, or something like that. We waited for about 8 minutes and then the dashboard just cleared completely. The station kept filling up with anxious people, irritable and confused. A lot of drunk people headed to Dupont — not the crowd you want to be stuck in close quarters with on a Friday night.
    We waited an additional 20-25 minutes, the station continually filling with the typical Friday night crowd, and right before we were about to leave, we heard a train coming…but it came on the other track…as in, the train we needed to be on, the Shady Grove train going in the correct direction came in on the other side of the track…NO ANNOUNCEMENT. The train conductor announces that yes, this is the train to Shady Grove. It was a cluster**** — everyone started racing to get to the other side of the track (again, remember this is Gallery place, so you have to go up and over). Kids were separated from their parents in the crowd, drunk people were falling all over the place — it was hundreds of people racing up and down escalators, trying to cram into a train. The train DIDN’T WAIT more than 5 minutes, so 3/4 of the people who had just been waiting with us for over 30 minutes couldn’t get on.

    Why not announce that the red line was single tracking or that train was coming in on the other side? Give us all time to move over? There was no notification on wmata’s website other than that all lines were expecting delays. Why not use the ****ing loud speaker system to give us a heads up?

    It’s one thing to have delays, and single tracking, and closed stations — it’s another thing entirely to not communicate all of that to the people trying to use the system. Metro is unreliable, slow, dysfunctional, unclean, and expensive.

  • More often now because it’s the best way to get to my job, but it’s still the worst. I DEFINITELY try to avoid taking it on weekends — I generally use the bus, Uber/Lyft, or Car2Go instead.

  • As a teen and university student that lived in the ‘burbs, metro + bus + my feet were my primary mode of transport. Back then (late 90’s up until the early 2000’s) I found metro to be very reliable despite my commute at the time being painfully long. I had textbooks and homework to distract me during my 2.5 hour commute. Now, that I’ve moved into DC proper I don’t bother with metro. I’ve taken the metro when I’ve had to have work done on my car and discovered metro is more expensive than filling up my gas tank once every 3 weeks if that. I only drive for work and on occasions when I need to get to the ‘burbs or other outlying areas. When I’m in the city/home, I walk + bus + uber + or ride my bike.

  • I use metro … as a goad to bike more! My usage is definitely down with all their problems. Anger of the day: The didn’t announce the sick customer at gallery place (Green / Yellow delays). Well after the delays and backup were under way they finally sent a “Expect residual delays” … why can’t they announce the problem when it occurs! I’d have taken the red line instead …

    • The total lack of communication during emergencies and other delays is so frustrating. During the two events where they took parts of multiple lines out of service during the morning rush hour, there were no announcements about the problems made anywhere in the station. We weren’t notified until we were actually on the train. That makes it impossible to make alternate plans and does not instill me with any confidence that Metro would communicate any better in an emergency I was actually involved with.

      • When the big L’Enfant incident happened I was transferring in Metro Center about 20 minutes after the train had already gotten stuck — and they STILL weren’t telling anyone about what was happening. Just “You might not want to transfer at Chinatown.”

  • I ride metro less, but largely in part because I moved and the bus is more convenient now. I can also walk into work if the weather is nice, so I’ve been doing that as well. If I have a long wait for the bus leaving work I might still metro.

    • Yup, same here. Though I don’t know if you’ve also found that bus arrival times are even more unreliable than metro. I’ll be waiting fifteen minutes for a bus that, according to the digital display, is just two minutes away.

  • Definitely- especially on the weekends when I can often get someplace with Uber or Car2Go in the time it would take me to wait for the green line. Last year when I switched jobs I discovered that it took the same amount of time for me to walk to my new office as Metro, which I now reserve for really bad weather days.

  • I ride metro 3 times/week for my commute, and bike or telecommute the other 2 days as my commute is too long to walk. We used to ride it a lot on the weekends, but with the track work, the headways are just too long to realistically use it. We either walk, use the bus, or drive on the weekends. I feel that service and reliability has gone down since I moved here 10 years ago, which makes me sad. I love and advocate for public transportation, but am greatly disappointed in metro’s performance over the past few years.

  • Absolutely. Metro has become so unreliable, I almost always take the bus.

  • Much less. With Bridj, car2go, uber, lyft, and cabi who needs metro?

  • It’s still the best option for getting to work for me (U St. to Archives) but the red and orange lines are just terrible during rush hour.

    I definitely take it far less, mostly due to Uber and having rgeater familiarity with the bus system. I always check the DC rider app before going down the escalator on the weekends.

  • I stopped riding metro in 2012, when it became obvious that driving was once again cheaper, faster, and more convienent.

  • I’m a Millennial and I’m a strong believer in conscious consumerism. Voting with my wallet is the most powerful civil liberty I can exercise.

    I vote with my wallet everyday when I pull out my Capital Bikeshare key fob rather than my WMATA Smart Trip card to begin my commute to/from work.

    Not only do I ride metro less, I actively choose to do so.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Less. I moved to be on the green line for work so still going out to Suitland for work. BUT – I now telework at least one day a week. And I now drive to the dentist cause I’ve found I can park for FREE. It’s really too bad and I hope the new GM can get things in to better shape. He’s supposedly and turn around kind of guy.

  • alphatango

    Yes… Only because I have so many other options and it makes no sense to take Metro to work.

  • I avoid metro entirely and switched to biking due to constantly getting stock at Chinatown for more than 30 minutes. Saving tons of money each month!

  • I have shifted from rail to bus as much as practical, so although my rail usage is way down, I am still a Metro customer.
    I limit my rail riding to rush hours M-F, which as bad as it can be, seems to limit the risk and waits. Even so, I can take a bus in rush hour and often do.
    I have almost completely eliminated trying to use the trains on the weekends. I find that even on lines that aren’t having work done, service has become too unpredictable to make it worth it.
    And, I don’t have a car, so this is pretty limiting to me.

    • me too – my closest metro station (Woodley Park) means I have to transfer to a second line to get to work (Eastern Market), and I’ll take a bus to Farragut Square and hop on the S/O/B line there just to limit the amount of time I have to spend underground on the Metro. and after hours or on the weekend? bus, Car2Go, Uber, or walking. almost *never* Metro trains.

  • I’ve pretty much completely stopped using it on weekends or after 8 pm. Even if it’s miraculously not single-tracking, the headways are just way too long to make it a reasonably convenient option. Case in point – 30 minute wait for the first train heading towards Glenmont after the Caps game Wednesday night. I still use it for commuting, but that’s about it (and not if I’m in a rush).

  • I don’t use metro at all for the past three years; but a new job and being carless means I will be starting it for my commute. I’m nervous, but trying to remain cautiously optimistic. When I first moved to DC I lived in Van Ness and worked retail at Pentagon City. Being the Red Line and off peak hours usually resulted in a 1-1.5 hour commute. I have since only worked jobs within walking distance or on a bus route. My new commute has me from Adams Morgan to NOMA, so still the dreaded Red but during regular hours.

    It’s really a shame because when I first moved to DC I was so excited to explore but now if it isn’t walkable/bus route/Uber is surcharging I won’t even consider going.

  • hooville

    Used to ride it all the time, I live less than a block from red line in NW. Daily for commutes, for meeting friends, for doctors appointments, etc. I swore it off in Spring after a particularly hellish commute.

    I now enjoy my peaceful mornings, reliable arrival times, and no more anxiety from worrying if I would make it on time, getting antsy when we stopped in tunnels, etc. I have ridden it 3 times since Spring, and that was only because I was with a friend who insisted.

    Suck it, WMATA.

  • I take Metro sporadically and have usually not had a problem during the week. I commute by bus to my DuPont Cir. office and then occasionally take the Red line to the Hill or Judiciary Sq. during the day. Almost never a problem.

    I take cabs or Uber on the weekend. Never Metro.

  • I live in the city and ride it to and from work (Tyson’s) almost every day, and it completely destroys my mood almost every day. Few things make me angrier than the utter shitshow that is WMATA management. Looking for a job in the city, and fondly dreaming of the day that happens.

  • I gave up on Metro — bought a commuter bike and biking to work everyday. Metro is a tragic national embarrassment. It gets worse daily. I think they are making a big mistake by not hiring a transportation expert to run the system. Financial management alone is not going to solve the problem of neglected maintenance, six car trains and poor communication. Sadly, the once great system is a mess.

  • about the same/if not more – switched job locations so now metro (red to yellow line) is really the only option. no convenient bus, parking is crazy and uber would be cost prohibitive. my morning commutes (usually leave around 730am and off metro by 8am) have been fairly uneventful (knock on wood). never been egregiously delayed. on the way home, usually between 430pm and 53pm most nights I HAVE had some rough returns home, mostly due to red line delays, deboardings, etc. but, honestly, those probably occur on 10% or < of my rides. I DO NOT take the metro on the weekend anymore, however and opt to drive, bike if weather is good, or uber if driving isn't an option. that much has changed. metro is frustrating when it doesn't work but i'll admit it works (for me) more often that it doesn't…

  • I used to metro to work since I live near the metro but after numerous delays and such I decided to just ride my bike which is much more reliable and takes half the time if not less

  • I use Metrorail more than I used to. Part of the reason I chose my house (near the Georgia Ave.-Petworth Metro) was its proximity to Metro. Living in Adams Morgan was fine when I was driving to work in Maryland, but once I started working in the District I had to take the bus to the Metro, and that was a hassle.
    As the U Street corridor has become a more popular entertainment district, I’ve given up on trying to drive there on weekends and take Metro instead. (The signal moment was when I was going to some show at the 9:30 Club, couldn’t find any street parking in the area, and ended up driving back home, parking my car, and taking the Metro.)
    Metro is fantastic in concept, though often frustrating in execution. I feel fortunate that I live on the Green/Yellow lines and not on the problem-plagued Red Line or the more recently troubled Orange/Blue/Silver lines.
    I don’t take the bus anywhere near as often as I did when I lived in Adams Morgan, though I do sometimes take it between Georgia Ave.-Petworth and Columbia Heights.

    • textdoc, which bus do you take to get from Petworth to Columbia Heights? I’m trying to broaden my list of commuting options for the times Metro’s too insane or expensive or crowded and the weather is terrible….

      • The H8 goes between the two. For southbound trips, it departs from the bus stop on the Sweet Mango side. and drops you off across the street from the DCUSA main entrance. For northbound trips, it departs from the bus stop across the street from the Bank of America, IHOP, Panera, etc.
        I’ve been trying to make more use of it since it’s cheaper than Metro if I’m going only one stop, especially during rush hour.

        • That makes a lot of sense, thanks! Is it usually super-crowded at rush hour?

          • LBP — Not sure. I’ve never taken the H8 in the morning, and when I’ve taken the H8 in the evening, it’s usually after a post-work Panera pickup or trip to Target. So by the time I’m boarding the bus, it’s past rush hour (but shortly before rush-hour fares end for Metrorail).

      • Correction: The bus stop _across the street_ from what used to be Sweet Mango.

      • For northbound trip, the H8 drops you off in front of the CVS (at the bus stop where the paving stones are irregularly sunken because of rat burrows — be careful of your footing!).

  • I still use Metro for work since I don’t have other options (and the stations on both ends are really convenient); though I’m headed opposite to rush hour traffic so the trains aren’t unbearable. But the weekend service is a complete dumpster fire, so I walk or use the bus system, and use the Metro far less on the weekend than I would like to (I’m not going to waste ~ 30-60 minutes waiting for trains due to one-tracking and connections).

  • We have 100% stopped using it – having switched over to Uber, Zipcar, and walking more. We had already stopped using it on the weekends and now that weekday is a lot like the weekends of the past… metro is dead to me. I realized that it was better to think of metro as no longer existing. Otherwise I would still try to use it, get enraged, and end up taking Uber anyways. Considering it as no longer viable has been quite freeing. We are no longer tied to living along the metro lines and not as strongly tied the idea of being a car free family.

    I think we would use it again if it was free or perhaps half the current cost. The cost of the time wasted is too high and must be offset by lower monetary cost. More honesty and communication would also help. If I trusted WMATA to accurately display times and keep a schedule we could treat it as a commuter rail.

  • Quincy-Street-Neighbor

    Was once a daily rider for my work commute and used it to go out at night, but now it use metro far less, practically never. And I bike everywhere in the District now, all the time.

  • Yep. I walk, or Lyft if it’s super far.

  • I moved to DC last December. Endured Metro for all of two weeks before realizing it was much more convenient (I live on the 64 line and the same distance to 70/79 as to the Metro) and far less expensive to buy weekly bus passes to get around. That said, I tried the carless thing, but brought my (paid in full) car to the city after 6 months because it’s just too much hassle having to rely on inefficient public transit to get around sometimes.

  • I avoid metro except when absolutely necessary. I love all the technology that has made the bus system so much more usable – google maps integration and NextBus, etc. Total game-changer. We are no longer tied to metro just because it’s the easiest system to figure out.

  • I just moved to DC in April from Boston thinking the Metro would be better than the T. Well I was wrong.. Spent rush hour in chaos far too long. I resorted to purchasing a car and reducing my stress.

  • Yes. Have barely ridden Metro since 9/11/2001. I go out of my way to avoid it.

  • I actively avoid Metro. I used to love it. But, now with less service, longer wait times, more breakdowns and many more transit options (BikeShare, Car2Go etc) I almost never use it. It’s really a shame. It was a great system.

  • I wish I could ride it less, but I rely on it every day for work. Question for Popville: Am I better off doing something else? I live 2.5 blocks from the U Street metro stop and commute every day from there to my office in Silver Spring in the building just outside the metro stop. Some times it takes me 23 minutes to get to work. Some times it takes me 40, with no real reason for the difference. I’ve tried driving and every time I do it, I regret it; Georgia Avenue is where dreams go to die. Is Bridj ride share a good alternative? Uber is too expensive to make that trip, no? Oh, and my boss isn’t into teleworking.

    • If driving is a legit option, try different routes. 16th street and north cap/blair road can also get you to Silver Spring. You’re going against traffic so those might be much better than Georgia, which seems to suck at all times no matter which way you’re going. There are the 16th street buses which also go to Silver Spring. You could get a bike, if you’re into that.
      But honestly, you’re traveling 5.5 miles, and this ain’t the suburbs. 23 to 40 minutes doesn’t seem like a terrible deal to me. I would try all of the above and anything else you can think of, see what works best. Maybe mix things up too – no reason why you have to do it the same way every day.

      • Also, about driving: if you don’t have Waze on your smartphone, download it. Then use it in the morning just to check what the fastest driving route from your house to SS is. Even if Georgia is the fastest, Waze will also suggest other routes – try those out sometime, they might take a bit longer but be a much nicer drive.

        • I find Waze to be useless for commuting because the part that always has all the accidents has no alternative route. Might work better for people going to MD though.

        • Thanks! I hadn’t thought about checking Waze before I go. I usually just hop into the car, hop onto Georgia Ave and then the regret begins. I agree with Anon below about a ride-share, carpool program. It would make a killing. I actually see a lot of the same people on my commute each day.

        • Actually, Blair Rd gets backed up as it goes through Takoma Park. But agree on 16th Street as consistently fast route to Silver Spring. Google’s giving it 24 minutes and that sounds about right.

    • I don’t know much about Silver Spring. But one common theme I’m noticing among the people who still take Metro is that they commute to the suburbs. It seems like once you step outside the DC border your non-Metrorail options diminish pretty quickly. With reverse commuting on the rise someone ought to come up with a good carpooling system that goes out to those places. They’d make a killing.

      • Uber launched a carpool service a week or two ago.

        Suburbuians should sign up to be an Uber driver then only “drive” during AM/PM rush. Pick up/drop off people on your way to work and not only are you paying for your own commute, you’re also producing less emissions AND taking a couple cars off the road, alleviating congestion.

        ^WMATA sucking; needing more income; saving the environment; making new friends; too much traffic has all been solved. You’re welcome.

        • SouthwestDC

          I tried UberPool last week and it was really expensive. Maybe $2 less than if I’d ridden solo, but that’s still 4 times as much as Metro. Unless they start doing it with vans full of people it’s not an affordable option.

  • I sure do. Metro sucks, and it’s getting worse every month. We all know that. That’s why there are less people riding the train in general. I used to ride it on the weekends, but not anymore. Unfortunately, I still have to ride it for work. Instead of Metro, I use Car2go. It’s pricier, but really worth it, and it saves me so much time getting around town.

  • Yup, I also switched over to the bus, but partly because I got a new job downtown that made bus commuting more convenient. That said, the bus arrival times during rush hour are, at best, light suggestions. Those digital arrival time signs–which I thought were a genius idea at the time–were such a waste of money in practice.

  • I have completely given up on metro. I switched from a daily commute on the Orange Line from McPherson Square to Federal Center to driving. I used metro daily for nearly six years before making the switch — the recent disruptions and poor service have made the service practically unusable. I’d be happy to give up the car if metro improved but I don’t see that happening in the near future.

  • Yep, I used to ride the metro daily for work and often on nights and weekends. After the red line accident, it just got too frustrating and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. I don’t own a car, so I moved to a location where I could commute to work via bus or bike. I use car2go and uberx as well.

  • Yep, I’m done with it. I’ve lived car-less in the city for 13 years now and used to use it all the time, but no more.

    I walk to work. Uber or car2go anywhere else. And I’m buying a car in the spring.

    I’ve also stopped house-hunting near metro stops. Why pay a premium for something I never use.

  • I couldn’t take the utter failures of metro anymore so I started driving to work. It takes me less time (about 45 mins. less now that they stopped OR/BL service to Stadium Armory) and I pay about double in gas and parking, but it’s worth every penny.

  • Yep. I want to support metro, but it’s not worth my time or experiencing that stress. I now bike, bus or walk. I only take metro if I absolutely have to. The bus may be longer, but the experience is much better.

  • I used to commute daily from Shady Grove to Farragut North, it was slow, uncomfortable, expensive and unreliable. I moved to Friendship Heights, same issues. Now, I pay an arm and a leg to live within walking distance from work just to avoid the Metro. It’s worth every penny. I take it maybe twice a month now, if that.

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