Small ideas can make Metro greater.

Zoo Weekend Package

Offer (and advertise) a package of Metro fare/parking for getting to and from the National Zoo on weekends from any metro parking lot in the system for a family of a given size. Price the deal such that the entire family (say, of up to 7) gets to park one car and ride the metro both ways for a price that would be cheaper than paying for zoo parking and the cost of driving in. Advertise it as a great deal (make sure its actually a good deal) and a fun experience for the kids, and faster and less stressful than driving.

There are enormous traffic backups and parking congestion on weekends around the zoo, and capacity on the weekend metro is there to add riders (at least once SafeTrack ends). Why not leverage that capacity and encourage families to take advantage of Metro to have a safe, fun, and less stressful ride to the zoo? This doesn't actually cost anything beyond the advertising, which can be done fairly cheaply one assumes-- it would be a pricing program designed to increase ridership. Someone has to do the math of course to figure out what to price it at and what would make sense, but giving families an incentive to use the metro to get to the zoo is a net plus for everyone.

Submitted by: David Y., Washington, DC


Metro parking is already free on weekends, and so is the Zoo. The "weekend package" would then be for Metro fare only. The max fare to/from Woodley Park station on a weekend (off-peak) is $3.60 each way, so buying a $10 SmarTrip card (which comes with $8 value) would essentially work as a day pass, or riders can buy actual day passes for $14.50 each. There doesn't seem to be a "product" here.

The useful kernel in this idea, is the idea of Metro advertising popular DC destinations on every line (the Zoo, the Smithsonian, Strathmore, Nats Park, Tysons, etc.), and how cheap/fast/easy it is to take Metro there. That could help generate demand (new riders) for Metro on weekends.

by Kevin F. on Jun 22, 2016 2:55 pm • linkreport

Well...shows you what I know about Metro parking. I still think its worth it to offer some sort of "group" package for families -- if only to simplify the purchase for families that don't normally ride. Advertising is the other key -- people really don't think about how much time it takes to drive and park near the zoo -- if they realized there is no parking (and if the street parking was priced properly), we'd see fewer families attempting to squeeze a minivan into a tiny spot of a side street. As you point out, similar DC destinations may merit a similar type of treatment.

by David Y on Jun 22, 2016 9:49 pm • linkreport

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