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The Metro

The Medical Center stop is at NIH. The functioning, rates and holidays are given at the website of the company ( In brief, the rate depends upon the length of the journey and the time of the journey. Tickets are sold by an automated machine. You can buy a Smarttrip card ($5) and put in any amount you want. The amount for each trip will be debited automatically from your card. It is possible to transport a bicycle on the metro but only on the last car. This is permitted between 10 AM and 2 PM, and after 7 PM on weekdays and all day through on weekends. For more information about this, log onto Bike .

TIP: Those planning to commute by public transport, NIH provides monthly allowance upto $115. You need to buy a Smarttrip card.

The Bus

There are two bus systems:

The Ride On Link

The Metro Bus (

Drivers do not give back change so you should have the exact change for the ticket with you. Recently system was upgraded, now you can use SmartTrip card on all three Metro, Metro Bus and Ride On without juggling between cash or transfer tickets. If you don't have it then you can do it old way: If you take the metro prior to taking the bus, you can get a transfer ticket after exiting the gate in the metro, This way you will pay only 25 cents for the bus. Ticket prices are available at the internet sites of the two companies, inside the buses or on the automated ticket machines. It is possible to buy a single use ticket or a ticket for a whole day. You can ask the driver for a transfer ticket which allows you to travel freely on the bus in the next 2-3 hrs. Drivers are usually nice so dont hesitate to ask questions. It is useful to buy a bus pass or a metro pass. These passes are valid for a week from Sunday to Saturday. They are available at GIANT. You can also buy ride on passes/tickets at 101 Monroe Street, Rockville, (Bus Route Ride on #46).

Buying a Vehicle

It is possible to live in the vicinity of the NIH without a car or use the metro or bus. Many people prefer to buy a car for better mobility. Many ads for used cars are posted on the bulletin boards of different buildings in NIH (Bldg. 10, 31, near the cafeteria or near R&W gift shop) and the covered parking and garages.

If you buy from an independent owner, it is preferable that you choose someone who lives in the area who can be contacted in case of problems even though post-docs who are leaving are the ones who sell their cars before leaving at a reasonable price.

To get an idea about the price of cars, consult the blue book. It gives a price based on the model, age, mileage, etc. Do not buy a car which has not passed the state inspection because you would have to do that by yourself in order to get the car insurance and the license plates (make sure it clears the state inspection, even if the car has passed Virginia state inspection, you would still have to get an inspection done if you are a Maryland resident).

Buying a new car is more expensive and has more insurances but it substantially reduces the risks of mechanical problems. It is relatively easy to get a car loan from the bank. You can join up with AAA ( For an annual fee of ~$50 per year they offer towing services for free over relatively short distances in case of a break-down. They also function as travel agents and you can obtain tourist guides and maps freely from them for travel throughout the US. It is also practical to join the AAA in order to get reductions in car rentals, hotels, restaurants and museums.

Car Insurance

This is the first thing to do after buying a car, because without this you cannot get license plates.



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