Budget Options for Getting around the Nation’s Capital

Budget Options for Ground Transportation from the Airports and Getting around the Nation’s Capital

Compiled by Andrea Cheney, December 2006.

A. Ground Travel from the Airports to Downtown Washington, DC

1) Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA):

·        Metrorail (subway): Travel via the Yellow Metrorail line from Reagan National Airport to downtown DC (Gallery Place/China Town). The Convention Center is one stop past Gallery Place. The Blue line has a longer travel time to down town destinations.

2) Dulles International Airport (IAD): It is very expensive to take a cab to DC.

·         Washington Flyer Motor Coach   to the West Falls Church Metrorail station (fare $9). From here take the subway downtown.

·         Metrobus route 5A: Express service (fare $3) to L’Enfant Plaza. From here, transfer to Metrorail or a Taxi.

3) Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI)

·         Public Transportation (Bus and Metrorail)

·         BWI Train Station (Penn Station Stop): Two options for train travel to Washington, DC (Union Station): 1) The MARC train, fare $6 one way. Operates during weekdays only and 2) Amtrak, fare approximately $19 operates each day. See links at the bottom of the  page (from the BWI Train Station link) to MARC and Amtrak websites for schedules.

B. Getting to the Airports from Downtown Washington, DC

Washington Metro Area Transit Authority webpage with information for subway travel to the Airports. In some cases, transfer to a bus is required to reach your airport destination.

C. Getting Around in the District of Columbia

1.) Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) for subway and bus travel:

·         Maps for stops and stations (see link below to Station Masters Guide to Metrorail Stations to view another version of the Metrorail system map that may be more helpful in some cases than the official version).

·         Trip planner – how to get to your destination by bus or by Metrorail (subway) or a combination of the two. It also calculates walking distance from the Metrorail or bus stop to your destination.

·         Fares and schedules.

·         When’s the Next Bus, a feature that displays bus stop specific arrival times for the next vehicle.

2.) Station Masters Guide to Metrorail Station Neighborhoods : This website includes Metrorail system map with an added feature not found on the official WMATA site Metrorail system map. Click on your Metrorail stop destination and display a map of area that surrounds that stop and the location of some landmarks and places of interest.

3)  DC Circulator: A three route bus service that operates in the “heart” of the District of Columbia at 5 to 10 minute intervals. The $1 fare is the least expensive in town. Metrorail transfers with a $ .35 payment are also accepted. See the “ticket information” link to view information about payment options and always remember to ask the Circulator bus driver for a transfer! Routes include:

  • The North/South Route: Travels between the Washington Convention Center and the Southwest Waterfront and operates from 7 AM to 9 PM each day.
  • The East/West Route: Travels between Union Station and Georgetown and operates from 7 AM to 9 PM each day.
  • The Smithsonian/National Gallery of Art Route: Travels on a continuous loop around the National Mall.

4) Taxi Cabs: There is an extra charge for radio-dispatched cabs. Most local riders “hail” a taxi from busy intersections and other well-traveled locations.

·        Get to Know Washington’s Cab System : Fares are calculated by “zones” through which you travel instead of meters. “Zone” pricing is explained and also travel and money-saving tips are included.

·          District of Columbia Taxicab Commission website: Fare Calculator and Taxicab “zone” maps.

·        Taxis in Washington: Zone Defense: A visitor’s guide from the Washington Post website that makes recommendations for successful travel via taxicab and provides additional information about calculating cab fares before you start your trip and money-saving tips.

5) DC Pedicab: A pedal-powered rickshaw that is an environmentally-friendly way to get around town. Flag one down or call (202) 345-8065 to arrange for a pickup.