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A Guide On Riding The Metro As Told By A Small Town Girl

Updated on May 22, 2015

Immersion

Coming from a small little town that has a population of approximately 10,000 people, trying to navigate my way through D.C. has been an outstanding experience. At least it isn't a complete culture shock, I have had my fair share of traveling across the country and to multiple other countries. But for someone like me, it can take a little while to get used to. My very first day on the metro in D.C. was exciting and slightly nerve-racking. It took $4 and a bus to get me to the nearest metro rail, where my journey began at 8 a.m.

Getting In The Swing Of Things

The whole time that I was on the metro bus, I kept thinking to myself "ugh, everyone can probably tell that I'm a newbie at this" so I tried to act all calm and have the facial expression of someone that rides the metro every day. A couple new people got on at every stop, mostly people in business suits as we were heading to the Pentagon. From there is when I needed to ask someone for assistance. Once I got off the bus, I had followed everyone down an escalator that led to the metro rails. I felt like such an idiot because it seemed like everyone knew what they were doing, and I only saw one other family asking for help. All I knew is that I was trying to get a Smartrip card, and that I needed to add extra money to the card because I was planning on doing lots of traveling on the metro.

Thankfully, one of the workers in the metro station helped me out no problem. I explained that I was new to the city and that where I'm from, there is nothing like this. The guy that assisted me was very helpful and polite and got me set up with a Smartrip card. For $10 I was able to purchase a card. I made sure to add extra funds because I knew I was going to travel a lot. From then on, I continued my adventure of navigating the metro.

Planning It Out

Navigation and Awareness

Once I got my Smartrip card set up, I was completely lost. I had no clue which line I needed to take to get to my final destination, and I ended up almost getting on the wrong train! Thankfully, the same guy that helped me set up my Smartrip card noticed I was having some difficultly and helped me out further. If it wasn't for that certain gentleman that gave me direction that day, I probably would've been completely lost.

I managed to catch the train I needed in time, and enjoyed riding the metro peacefully. For me, the most difficult part is just figuring out which line leads where and which line will get me to where I need to go fastest. Once I got that figured out, I was finally getting the swing of things. By the end of the day, I was pleased with myself and what I had accomplished on my own (and with the help of that kind metro worker). In all the times I've traveled, I have always had someone else with me to help navigate the way. This truly was the first time I was immersed into something I did not know.

It definitely has been a learning process, but it has been a great experience for me. I just need to be aware of my surroundings, and keep track of where I am and when my stop is. All in all, using the metro is an easy to learn means of transportation.

Continuing the Experience

The next day I went out earlier than 8 in the morning, and spent my day riding around the metro and going out into the city. By late afternoon, I was exhausted, and almost fell asleep on the metro. I found riding on it to be very relaxing and peaceful (as long as it's not extremely crowded). Of course I still made a couple mistakes, but it'll get easier with time. If you are like me and new to the area, this site really helped me, so check it out: http://www.wmata.com/

Hopefully in a few weeks I'll be a pro, and won't need to use my handy Metro App or the website anymore! Let me know what your thoughts are, and if you had any of the same difficulties I did.

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