by Ed Lonsinger
on Monday, October 28th, 2019 at 4:04pm.
Hop, skip, jump? Planes, trains, automobiles? Swim, bike, run?
All joking aside, with so many transportation options these days, how are you ever supposed to know which is the right choice for you? While navigating a large city can be overwhelming at times, the truth is that it all depends on your individuals needs. How do YOU prefer to travel, and what is your budget? We’ve created a list of the most popular modes of transportation in the DC area, excluding the use of your individual car.
This may seem too obvious, but we often overlook the walkability of DC. Walk Score rates DC with a score of 77, making it the 7th most walkable city in the US. Take advantage of our city’s historic neighborhoods and classic beauty while earning a few extra steps through your fitness app.
DC’s public transportation is operated by WMATA, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. They provide rapid transit and bus service throughout the jurisdictions of DC, Maryland, and Virginia using the SmarTrip card. Let’s take a look at each.
Metrorail, or Metro, is DC’s premier transit system, and the second busiest system in the US. It services 91 stations over 6 color-codes lines. The layout of the system makes it possible to travel between any two stations with no more than a single transfer. Trains run at regular intervals throughout the day providing fast and reliable service to area residents and visitors. Fares are determined based on distance.
Metrobus operates 24/7 and provides more than 400,000 trips each weekday serving 11,500 bus stops in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Regular fare is $2 per ride, with unlimited free transfers between Metrorail buses. Student discounts are available to DC residents. Find your bus arrival time here.
The Circulator is geared towards visitors since it runs between the city's main attractions and some of the more popular neighborhoods. 6 distinct routes across DC, all for $1 per ride. Runs every 10 minutes.
Capital Bikeshare is a bikeshare service that services 500+ stations throughout 7 jurisdictions: Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, the city of Falls Church, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County. It is designed for quick trips and convenience. Rides cost $2 for single trip up to 30 minutes; $8 for a 24-hour pass. Using their app, find an available bike nearby. Unlock with the provided code, then take as many short trips as you want while your pass or membership is active. When you're finished, return your bike to any station with an available dock.
This is probably the most popular service available throughout the city. Apps such as Lyft and Uber have revolutionized the on-demand rideshare experience. They are safe, cashless options that provide service to and from your destination. Riders hail a local driver through their app, and general wait times are 3-5 minutes. Drivers are pre-screened for your safety, and provide live updates on their GPS location. You can tailor the experience to your needs as well, from budget-friendly options to high-end luxury vehicles.
These services are an inexpensive and environmentally responsible alternative to owning a car. Benefits include dedicated parking locations around the city, and 24/7 access. You only pay for the time you use, and that price includes gas, maintenance, and insurance. Here are a few of our favorites:
Reserve a car ahead of time or pick up spontaneously. Unlike Zipcar, which have to be dropped off in specific locations, car2go can be dropped off in any legal parking location in the city, including metered spaces. Be respectful though, don’t park in a spot with an upcoming time restriction, and no parking in a parking garage unless marked with designated car2go sign.
Metro’s daily ridership record of 1.2 million people was set on January 20, 2009 for Barack Obama’s first presidential inauguration
Leave a comment and let us know what your preferred mode of transportation is!