Obama Metro Cards, Neighborhood Ball and Info on the Inauguration

Smart Card picture

Smart Card picture


For those of you who are enthusiastically collecting Obama memorabilia and ephemera for yourselves or your children.

The Washington Metropolitian Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has issued commemorative limited edition  Obama Inauguration SmarTrip cards.  The nifty passes cost $10.00 each with no cash loaded, or $20.00 each with $10.00 of WMATA fare loaded.

I purchased my commemorative smartcard at the Pentagon Metro sales center, they are also for sale at Metro Center in DC proper as well as online at this link.

If you want a cheaper keepsake, WMATA has replaced the image of the adorable panda with a picture of the President Elect.  The paper ticket (on the far left) is dispensed from any fare machine in the metro proper (that issues paper tickets). 

For those attending the inaugruation with 1.25 million or your closest friends.  Here is some great info from the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC).  Also recommend you look athte DC.gov site for spectator information as well (there is a list of what can and can not be brought into the security areas).

Neighborhood Inaugural Ball.  Not quite sure what this is about but it’s being hosted at the Washington DC Convention Center on 20 Jan 09.  Tickets will either be free or very inexpensive.  Again this is according the Inaugural website .  Which states:

The First-Ever Neighborhood Inaugural Ball

President-elect Barack Obama has vowed to change Washington and that’s just what he’s doing. Today we announced that he’ll be hosting the first-ever Neighborhood Inaugural Ball on January 20 at the Washington Convention Center with free or affordable tickets available. There’s never been anything like it.

Past inaugural balls generally have been closed to everyday Americans, populated instead by an exclusive circle of dignitaries and donors. President-elect Obama, however, wants to share this special night with a wide cross-section of Americans, reveling in the possibilities of what we can accomplish together. A portion of the tickets will be reserved for D.C. residents.

In his own words:

This is an inauguration for all Americans. I wanted to make sure that we had an event that would be open to our new neighborhood here in Washington, D.C., and also the neighborhoods across the country. Michelle and I look forward to joining our fellow Americans across the country during this very special event.

Through the use of interactive technology including text messaging and webcasting, the Neighborhood Ball truly will be an event open to all Americans. The technology will link together attendees at other neighborhood balls across the country.

Check back here for more details regarding ticket distribution and interactive technology.

For those not from the DC area planning to use the Metro.  If you are planning on attending any of the inaugural event via metro, recommend you review the information on the WMATA site for ideas on how to best get around.  

Please be aware that the federal government has the right to restrict all vehicular movement as they want, in the DC city limits.  With the  anticipated influx of millions to attend this historic event DC will be the largest parking lot ever (in Germany its called a stau and the locals bring lawn chairs, BBQ grills and relax while they wait for traffic to move on the autobahn).  Best bet is to take the metro or use your feet to move from place to place. 

This is the link to the Metro trip planner, map, visitors kit, and hints on getting around.  You can enter the station/location you want to start your trip from and finish it at.  If you list your anticipated departure time it will even tell you the buses or you can tell it to give you just the train/subway info.  The DC Metro is very easy to use, far les confusing than some other cities (NYC comes to mind).  Keep in mind you can’t eat or drink on the metro-they fine you serious bucks if they catch you, same goes for loud music as well.

Although this may be pure rumor mongering, I’ve heard that the tour buses and transportation buses will be packing the metros full at the outlying stations (makes sense).   If so, they may not stop at many of the stations or you may not be able to get on.  One way around this might be to jump on the metro (much earlier) ride to the end of the line and you’d be golden.  If you’re driving and plan to park (for example at the Springfield station and take the blue line in) get there early and make sure you have a SmarTrip card since the card is the only way you can pay your parking fee when leaving.  You can purchase a smartip card online or at a metro sales center. 

Hope you find this helpful and if you want the commerative cards, I’d recommend you jump quick since they are limited edition.


One response to “Obama Metro Cards, Neighborhood Ball and Info on the Inauguration

  1. Parking is cash only at the metro stations for the Inauguration.

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