Metro station entrances are marked by tall brown columns with a large "M" on each side. Metro lines are color-coded: Blue, Green, Orange, Red and Yellow. Not only does the column identify the station by name, but the color stripes at the top show which Metrorail lines serve that station. Maps in the stations and inside the trains also help you find your way.
Finding Your Route
Check the backlit maps near the farecard machines to determine the line or lines you need. Note the destination (last stop) of the line going in the direction you want to go. Note any stations where you need to transfer. Transfer stations are marked with a double black circle.
Your Metrorail fare depends on when and how far you travel. Peak fares are charged weekdays between 5:30 - 9:30 a.m. and 3 - 8 p.m. Off-peak fares are chared at all other times. Fares are posted in all Metrobuses and at all Metro station kiosks. Up to two children 4 years old or younger ride free when accompanied by a paying passenger.
On Metrorail, you need a magnetically encoded farecard to ride. Each passenger must have one. Farecards can be purchased at any Metro station for as little as $1.10 - the least expensive ride - or for as much as $45. You get a 10 percent bonus when you buy one for $20 or more (for example, pay $20, get a farecard worth $22). Note: Farecard machines give change in coins and the maximum change returned is $4.95. Keep this in mind if you are using a large bill.
If you're transferring from Metrorail to Metrobus in the District of Columbia or Virginia, get a rail transfer at the station where you enter and give it to the Metrobus operator when you first board to receive a discount on your bus fare.
How to Buy a Farecard
Metro has two kinds of farecard vending machines. The standard farecard vending machines are marked Farecards and several are located at each station's mezzanine. The other type is marked Passes/Farecards. You'll find them at selected Metro stations. Both are easy to use.
Farecards vending machines
Insert money into the slot.
Press the minus (-) or plus (+) button until the lighted display shows the value you want.
Press the white Push for Farecard button and remove your farecard. Your change will be returned in coins near the bottom of the machine.
Passes/Farecards machines (at selected stations)
The machine talks. Push Audio button to activate.
To buy a pass or passes:
Select A (pass) then select type of pass.
Choose the number of passes.
Press C to confirm.
Insert money and/or farecard.
Remove passes as they are issued and any change.
To buy a farecard or farecards:
Select B (single farecard) or C (multiple farecards).
If buying more than one, select number of farecards you want.
Use the plus (+) or minus (-) button to choose the value of the farecard(s).
Press C to confirm the selection is correct.
Insert money and/or farecard.
Remove farecard(s) and any change.
Please note: Farecards are not refundable.
How to Use Your Farecard
At the Metro station, just insert your farecard into the gate with the green light and white arrow. Keep your farecard! You'll need it to exit. When you exit, your fare is automatically deducted and your farecard is returned if any value remains. Farecards with no remaining value are kept by the faregate. If your farecard does not have enough fare for you to exit, you need to add money at the exitfare machine.
Where to Wait for the Train
Signs in each station tell you which side of the platform to wait for your train. Read down until you find your destination station. Trains generally stop in the middle of each platform. Destinations are displayed over the train's front and side windows. The color of the line is shown in the front window.
• Please do not eat, drink, smoke or litter on Metro vehicles or in stations. It's illegal and punishable by fine and/or jail.
• Tape players and portable radios are allowed as long as you use an earphone or headset.
• Do unto others . . . Let passengers leaving the bus or train get off before you try to get on.
• Be kind. Special seats are reserved for senior citizens and riders with disabilities. Please give up your seat if you see them standing.
• Parking at Metro-operated lots is free on weekends. Note: Free parking is available only at lots owned by Metro. Some lots adjacent to Metro stations are privately owned and do not offer free parking. Check before you park.
• If you are traveling late at night, check the signs on the station manager's kiosk for the time the last trains leave the station. At many stations, the last train departs before midnight. Allow at least five minutes to get to the platform before the last train is scheduled to leave the station.
• Metro has a great selection of passes that can save you money. The more you ride, the more you can save. Call 202-637-7000 to find out more.
• Magnets and Metro farecards don't mix. Keep your farecard away from credit cards and magnetic wallet clasps.