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No hero that's understood
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went down to DC with my father and son to watch the Phillies lose the first two to the Nationals. The stadium is beautiful, the city is great but the Metro is way too crowded. I had parking passes for the games, but we thought it would be far less hassle just to ride the Metro. This was true were it not for the fact that it is so over crowded, it made the entire experience painful. At one point while trying to cram our way on to a train, my son made it on and I had a moments fear that my dad and I would get stuck outside the train and he'd ride ahead with out us (he's 8 and not ready for strange city travel alone). At the last second, we forced our way on and everything turned out uncomfortably fine.

Also, I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but to someone unfamiliar with the rate schedule and ticket buying process, it was pretty cryptic. I've been my fair share of cities and this seemed to be the most difficult to understand. For instance, Athens was 10 times easier and I don't even speak Greek.

Other than that and the losing, we had a great time.
 

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I went down to DC with my father and son to watch the Phillies lose the first two to the Nationals. The stadium is beautiful, the city is great but the Metro is way too crowded. I had parking passes for the games, but we thought it would be far less hassle just to ride the Metro. This was true were it not for the fact that it is so over crowded, it made the entire experience painful. At one point while trying to cram our way on to a train, my son made it on and I had a moments fear that my dad and I would get stuck outside the train and he'd ride ahead with out us (he's 8 and not ready for strange city travel alone). At the last second, we forced our way on and everything turned out uncomfortably fine.
You went during a ball game, what did you expect? It's rarely that crowded.

And I'm not sure what was so cryptic. You buy a ticket, scan it on the way in, scan it on the way out- it tells you your balance. The locals just buy rechargeable scan cards.
 

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No hero that's understood
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
nealric said:
You went during a ball game, what did you expect? It's rarely that crowded.

And I'm not sure what was so cryptic. You buy a ticket, scan it on the way in, scan it on the way out- it tells you your balance. The locals just buy rechargeable scan cards.
The people we were smushed together with on the train indicated that it was always like this during rush hour.

Recghageable scan cards were clearly the answer, but trying to understand how much to put on a ticket based on our destination while hundreds of people stood over your shoulder was difficult. I just opted to buy 3 $20 tickets and move on. Also, it never seemed to show the balance left. This was a concern.
 

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Trust me- the Metro is WAY better than the T here in Beantown!!!
 

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The people we were smushed together with on the train indicated that it was always like this during rush hour.
Far from it unless there is a breakdown. Ballgames are always a clusterbleep.
 

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I'm local and I agree with you 100%. I think the metro is a disaster for all the reasons you've mentioned. Summers are bad in general, but looks like you got the rush hour, ballgame, tourist season combo. FUN
 

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Dunno. IMO the DC metro has SEPTA by the short hairs. Clean, comfortable, efficient. Yeah, it's crowded now and then, but at least the air conditioning works and the stations don't reek of bodily fluids.

I'll grant that fare collections aren't for geared for the casual user. A few minutes on the web fixes that, though. And it's one system, as compared to the cobbled mess of sub-systems as SEPTA and the T.

A relative bargain, too (for the rider and the half of the population that doesn't pay taxes, at least.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
MB1 said:
Noobsauce!

Should have ridden your bike.
Bike is clearly the answer, but three generations and no bikes with us made this not possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
danl1 said:
Dunno. IMO the DC metro has SEPTA by the short hairs. Clean, comfortable, efficient. Yeah, it's crowded now and then, but at least the air conditioning works and the stations don't reek of bodily fluids.

I'll grant that fare collections aren't for geared for the casual user. A few minutes on the web fixes that, though. And it's one system, as compared to the cobbled mess of sub-systems as SEPTA and the T.

A relative bargain, too (for the rider and the half of the population that doesn't pay taxes, at least.)
SEPTA Regional Rail is fine if you are anywhere near a station (not all that likely). I've never ridden the bus, so I can't comment there.

Also, it is possible to drive in Philly, but I really didn't get that impression in D.C.

My comparison was more to cities that have an actual subway system. I would not include Philly in this list.

Also, while I'm at it, I now have a better feeling why people dislike Philadelphia sports fans. I was reasonably embarrassed at some of the behavior I witnessed. After losing the second game in walk off HR fashion, the mob was pretty unruly.
 

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Metro used to be awesome. Now due to some world-class leadership failures and structural issues, is merely good to decent.

:(
 

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q_and_a said:
I went down to DC with my father and son to watch the Phillies lose the first two to the Nationals. The stadium is beautiful, the city is great but the Metro is way too crowded. I had parking passes for the games, but we thought it would be far less hassle just to ride the Metro. This was true were it not for the fact that it is so over crowded, it made the entire experience painful. At one point while trying to cram our way on to a train, my son made it on and I had a moments fear that my dad and I would get stuck outside the train and he'd ride ahead with out us (he's 8 and not ready for strange city travel alone). At the last second, we forced our way on and everything turned out uncomfortably fine.

Also, I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but to someone unfamiliar with the rate schedule and ticket buying process, it was pretty cryptic. I've been my fair share of cities and this seemed to be the most difficult to understand. For instance, Athens was 10 times easier and I don't even speak Greek.

Other than that and the losing, we had a great time.
I've had pretty much the exact same experience in Chicago, Boston, New York and Philly going to ball games. The problem isn't the Metro, it's all the people doing the same thing you did.

And as for the confusion on the pricing, you could have avoided that by doing a little research before you got to the ticket machine: http://www.wmata.com/fares/

We were recently in DC during the height of tourist season, and rode the M every day (a couple of days during commute) with no issues.
 

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Off peak, Metro can be very convenient. On peak, Metro is the Electric Sewer. Hot, smelly, and unpleasant. Avoid it if you can.

The problem is poor management and too many people - the system was never designed to handle the passenger loads that it does, and the rate structure doesn't sufficiently support the changes necessary to run efficiently and safely. In fairness, the surrounding area that it serves has become (to a life-long resident) massively overpopulated as a result of local politicians being in the pocket of real estate developers. At this point, the only way to sort things out in the DC area will be call in an airstrike...

MB1 is right - ride a bike.
 

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nealric said:
You went during a ball game, what did you expect? It's rarely that crowded.

And I'm not sure what was so cryptic. You buy a ticket, scan it on the way in, scan it on the way out- it tells you your balance. The locals just buy rechargeable scan cards.
What's cryptic is that Metro charges based on how far you're going instead of a flat rate per trip like most sane subway systems in the U.S. (Boston and NY, for example). It's also insanely overpriced compared to other subways.
 

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No hero that's understood
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
nate said:
What's cryptic is that Metro charges based on how far you're going instead of a flat rate per trip like most sane subway systems in the U.S. (Boston and NY, for example). It's also insanely overpriced compared to other subways.
That was my take on it as well. In other cities it was fairly easy to understand that hoping on the subway cost x per trip. Put y value on the card and you should be good for a certain number of trips. The variable pricing made it not only difficult to try to figure out what the right amount to put on a ticket was, but also created a traffic jam when exiting the Metro. We didn't just go one place, so I would have had to figure out where we were going to go each day, how much each trip would be, add it up, while holding up the line of people who were trying to enter during rush hour.

I didn't research it because it never occurred to me that it would work this way. Also, we originally intended to drive from the hotel to the park, but we thought this would be easier and more efficient.
 
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