Metro’s station names seem to be continuously growing longer, but your tweets don’t need to.
With this handy new map, you can treat Metro stations like airports and use these convenient station codes to make your commute descriptions brief.
In the unlikely event that Metro did adopt codes like these, they wouldn’t be the first. Hong Kong’s MTR uses 3-letter codes to help with station naming. In Atlanta, MARTA station signs are emblazoned with a code indicating line and distance from Five Points, the center of the system. There are likely other systems that use codes like these, either publicly or behind-the-scenes.
For the most part, the abbreviations are straight-forward.
In some cases, the code is merely the first three letters of the station name. That’s the case with Gallery Place (GAL) and Archives (ARC). In other cases, initials suffice. East Falls Church and West Falls Church are in this category.
But sometimes those methods didn’t work. I excluded codes that could be overly ambiguous. College Park and Columbia Heights, for instance, both begin with COL, so I didn’t use that code for either station.
I also avoided using codes for major airports or train stations in the United States. For that reason, I didn’t use BAL to abbreviate Ballston. BAL refers to Amtrak’s Penn Station in Baltimore. Instead, I shortened Ballston to BSN.
A few times, codes presented themselves almost ready-made. DCA works perfectly for the station at National Airport. New Carrollton NCR and Rockville RKV inherit the Amtrak station codes from the adjacent stops. But King Street (KGS) doesn’t take on the Amtrak code for it’s neighboring train station, ALX.
There were other easy codes, too. I shortened Eisenhower Avenue to IKE and Stadium-Armory to RFK.
So, now when you tweet about Metro, keep it short.