As many March for Life participants come from out of town, riding the Metro can be a new and confusing experience. We, at the March for Life, want your transportation to and from the March to be safe, comfortable, and commotion free.
Before leaving your bus, hotel room, or gym floor, make a plan, and communicate it to your team members. Make sure everyone in your group understands the fundamentals of riding the D.C. metro system. Plan your trip using the Metro Trip Planner, know what color line you are getting on, know your departure station, and arrival station. Download and distribute to your group the Metro Pocket Guide. Have a plan in case someone in your group gets separated in the crowd, or accidentally misses your train. Provide chaperone and group leader cell phone numbers to every participant of your group. Purchase fare cards ahead of time, and ensure you have enough money on the card to cover travel.
Here are six “local tips” which will help make your metro ride as smooth and as easy as possible. Follow these tips, and you’ll be riding the metro like a D.C. local!
1. Have your metro card easily accessible, before you enter the station. Metro Stations are crowded during rush hour, and even more crowded on the March for Life, during rush hour. One way to alleviate long lines, and avoid the frustration of fellow metro riders is to have your metro card ready, in your hand, before you enter the line for the faregate.
2. Don’t Run. I understand your scenario, and see it every day: you are walking down the escalator, and you see your train on the platform. You think “I better run so that I don’t miss that train!” You end up pushing and shoving, and someone gets hurt. I promise, another train will come, and most likely in no more than five minutes, and very often in less than 1 minute. Metro officials are expecting a high volume of riders this January 22, and are well accommodated for your arrival. The last thing that we want to happen is for pro-lifers to have a bad name among D.C. residents!
3. When riding the escalators, stand to the right, walk to the left. This is an easy way to avoid the annoyance of local metro riders. If you are going to stand, stand on the right hand side escalator and walk on the left, unless of course, everyone is walking, then walk.
4. DO NOT try to hold the metro doors open. Metro doors are not like elevator doors, and will close on your hand, arm, leg, backpack etc, and believe me, it hurts. Attempting to hold open doors will only delay train departure, frustrate your fellow riders, and possibly injure you. If you are afraid that some of your group members will be separated, make a plan ahead of time, in the event that this happens.
5.Keep your valuables in a safe place. Electronic thefts in metro stations have been on the rise in recent years. Metro advises that you put electronics away while riding metro, but if you must have them out, be aware of your surroundings. Most cell phone thefts happen near the door, so do not use your cell phone near the door of a metro. You don’t want to end up like this guy:
6. Don’t eat or drink on Metro. It is illegal to eat in the DC metro facilities; this includes escalators, platforms, trains and buses. There are large fines for eating, drinking and littering on metro. I think it’s safe to assume this is the last thing you want to spend your money on at the March for Life.
In short, be aware of your surroundings, and keep a close hold on your valuables, be courteous, don’t push, shove, or run. Treat Washington D.C. as you would treat your own home, and treat other riders, as you would treat your friends. Let’s blow away local riders by how courteous and polite pro-lifers are!