Getting around Washington DC doesn’t have to be a pain. Besides simply driving, there are quite a few other transportation options available to the public.
Metro Bus & Rail
The MetroRail requires everyone to have a fare card, which you can add funds to ride the Metro Rail, during peak hours on weekdays from when the Metro opens till 9:00am, 3:00pm-7:00pm, and Midnight till Closing, The cost of travel on the Metro varies from $2.10 to $5.75 depending where you get on and off at. The cost during off-peak hours, which is anytime not listed under peak hours, is $1.70 to $3.50.
There is parking available at all 42 MetroRail locations, they offer daily and hourly parking. All lots accommodate to motorcycle as well as bicycle parking, 35 of the 42 stations provide reserved parking. Customers can purchase a permit for $45-$65 but, you have to be parked by 10:00 am other wise it is open to the public. In addition to purchasing the permit, you still need to pay the daily/hourly rate to park. The monthly fee simply ensures that you have somewhere to park. Parking is free at all Metro operated lots on weekend and Federal Holidays.
MetroBus services Washington DC as well as parts of Maryland and Virginia, with over 11,000 bus stops this is the 6th busiest bus agency in the country. The buses run in 3 different jurisdiction exclusively in Maryland, DC and Virginia. Regular fares are $1.60 with a SmarTrip card and $1.80 with cash. This is more difficult to get around compared to the Metro Rail. Check this map of the bus routes!
DC Circulator Bus
The DC Circulator busses are all red in color, you can’t miss them. All of their stops can be identified by the yellow, silver and red with circular tubes with signs that provide you with useful information about the bus route. You might notice that some of the Circulator stops are right next to Metro Stops, be careful not to get them confused. Metro Bus signs are Red, White, and blue. This option of transit is fast and inexpensive, it will cost you $1 to ride. Transfers can be a bit confusing, they no longer accept paper transfer, everything is paper-less so you need a SmarTrip Card to transfer. Since SmarTrip Card’s are accepted by both the Metro as well as the Circulator, you can use just one card for all your public transit needs. Below is a table to break down how transfers work between the Circulator and the Metro:
|Circulator to another Circulator||Free within 2 hours|
|Circulator to Metrobus||Free within 2 hours|
|Circulator to Metro||$0.50 discount of the Metro fare|
|Metro to Circulator||$0.50|
The Circulator has 6 routes with specific operation times. This bus arrives at every stop every 10 minutes, to find out how long till the bus arrives you can visit circulator.dc.gov from any mobile device. This transit solution is also incorporated in Google Maps and NextBus applications along with the Metro and other transits across the country.
If you traveling to DC and looking for a place to park your car check out this list of parking companies that have locations in and around the DC area. DC has over 17,000 metered parking spaces for you to park, but watch out for regulations so you can avoid DC parking tickets. They have made some changes recently which include; enforcement on Saturday’s and Monday thru Friday evening enforcement. They have also simplified their rate structure to have only two different rates. In “premium demand zones” which include the busiest commercial districts it will cost you $2.00 per hour to park there. With the change of enforcement to the “premium demand zone” and busy commercial district’s the hour of nighttime parking enforcement was extended to 10:00 pm. Below is a list of district’s included in the premium demand zone.
- Adams Morgan
- Georgetown Historic District
- Penn Quarter/Chinatown
- U Street, NW Corridor
- Downtown Central Business District
- Maine Avenue and Water Streets, SW
- The National Mall
- Wisconsin Avenue, NW (from Van Ness Street to Western Avenue)
“Normal demand zones” it will cost you a little less, $0.75 per hour to park there. The hours of operation in these area’s starts at 7:00am and ends at 6:30 pm.
Don’t have a car? Try car sharing!
ZipCar is a car sharing program that allows you reserve a car by the hour or by the hour. You can make reservations, find your car all from your mobile phone.
Uber allows you to hail a cab or request a black car service to pick you up and take you to your destination.