Transit to Make Big Impact on Inauguration Day
Inauguration Day is quickly approaching…and D.C. is preparing.
An estimated 1 million attendees are expected to make their way to the National Mall for the big day, bringing visitors from the local area, surrounding states, and nationwide. A recent study by George Mason University even predicted a $1.4 billion boost to the D.C. economy due to tourism from the Inauguration.
Not only that, but the Women’s March on Washington, taking place January 21st, is expected to draw a crowd of 200,000, drawing in celebrities like Amy Schumer, America Ferrera, and Zendaya.
So, how exactly is D.C. planning to accommodate such a high number of visitors? The answer — public transit.
With such a high profile event, driving into the city (even in an Uber or Lyft) is a risky move. Besides the amount of traffic you’ll inevitably be stuck in, you have to add road closures and parking to the equation — yikes. This is why public transit will play such an important role on Inauguration Day.
“People need to plan ahead. They need to be prepared for crowds. They need to be prepared for winter weather,” said Leif A. Dormsjo, Director of the D.C. Department of Transportation.
In the spirit of planning ahead, the D.C. Metro is offering a Commemorative Inaugural SmarTrip card to riders at a discounted price of $10. This will give riders an unlimited amount of Metrorail and Metrobus trips on Inauguration Day — and if purchased ahead of time, will eliminate the wait time at the fare kiosk.
Take the Republican National Convention, as another example. This past summer, Cleveland’s public transit played a major role, offering a special Convention weekly pass to accommodate the city’s 50,000 visitors. RTA even launched Passport’s RTA CLE mobile ticketing app prior to the event. The new app made it easy for visitors to plan their trip, track transit, and purchase their fares ahead of time. Users could also take advantage of the weekly pass through the app. This made traveling to the Republican National Convention as convenient as possible.
Public transit plays a vital role in the success of large events like inaugurations, conventions, or the Olympics, helping transport visitors (who may be unfamiliar with the area) seamlessly to their destination, which we can expect to see later this week. In addition, offering options like mobile ticketing apps and smart cards make these events run even smoother.