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How does Metro work?

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Washington, DC is proud to have one of the world's best public transportation systems. Most visitors quickly master the Metro system and, in the process, discover that it's a very quick, efficient and affordable way to get around the city. Many find it to be an enjoyable attraction as well - the trains and escalators are especially popular among kids.

Metro operates Monday through Thursday from 5 a.m. to midnight; Friday from 5 a.m. to 3 a.m.; Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m.; and Sunday from 7 a.m. to midnight.

Base fares start at $1.70 per trip (including trips between all downtown points), but the rates are higher for visitors traveling from the suburbs and during peak hours (5-9:30 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. on weekdays, midnight-closing on weekends). The maximum one-way fare is $5.75. You can purchase a one-day ticket for $14, which allows you to ride as many times as you'd like. Tickets can be purchased by cash or credit cards from vending machines located at the stations. Station managers are on hand to assist you in purchasing your tickets. You can also purchase them here on Metro's website. To calculate the distance and fares between two stops, visit the Metro's Trip Planner.

There are five colored lines: Red, Blue, Orange, Yellow and Green, connected to one another at transfer stations in downtown and the close-in suburbs. Some stations are serviced by more than one line. Trains are clearly marked with the color of the line. Trains indicate the direction in which they are traveling with the name of the end-point of the line. During peak hours, trains usually come every 5-6 minutes. At off-peak times, trains come every 12 minutes. Late-night trains come every 15 to 20 minutes. Keep in mind that peak hours are typically crowded with commuters. If possible, travel on Metro during off-peak hour times.

Hotel, restaurant and attractions listings on this site and in the Official Visitors Guide to Washington, DC indicate the nearest Metro stop. The interactive map on washington.org can also help you identify the closest station.

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