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Getting around Washington by public transport, by car, bus, metro, taxi

Getting around Washington

With a newly constructed metro line, getting around Washington by public transport is quite pleasant. On the other hand, Washington is about how to get around by car due to a shortage of parking spaces.

Below are the main info for getting around Washington.


The US capital is considered as the most suitable city for walking on foot. In a short time one realizes that the statement is quite truthful. Wear comfortable shoes, and get ready for long walks, especially for the National Mall. Even using public transport, you will often find yourself walking many kilometers!


In the city, it is preferable to leave your car in the suburbs, or at your hotel, moving with public transport. Along the National Mall, one moves peacefully on foot. Keep in mind that parking is quite limited, and rates are quite high.

Taxis move throughout the city, offering a quick and comfortable service, with fairly high prices. Generally you pay $3.50 for the call, to which you need to add about $2 for each mile traveled. Keep in mind, in any case, that the cost is always expressed in fractions, or 1/4 of a mile.

Getting around Washington


Recently completed, the metro represents the best urban transport system. The trains are all new, and the stations rather large, clean, safe and modern. The service is managed by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

The metro is the most used by locals and commuters. During peak hours, the main lines are particularly crowded. Also, be careful not to consume food and drink inside the trains. It is absolutely forbidden, and you risk heavy fines. The rule applies to adults and children.

The meter consists of 5 lines, identified by different colors. They cover, in a capillary way, the center and the periphery. The red line, and the orange line, are the most crowded. Especially by workers.

The metro runs every day, including holidays, from Monday to Thursday, from 5am to midnight. Friday, 05:00 to 03:00 Saturday, 07:00 to 03:00 Sunday, 07:00 to midnight.


The buses represent a complementary solution to the metro. Metrobus operates in the city with over 100 lines, active from early morning to late evening. Buses connect the Washington DC metropolitan area with the suburbs.

The service offered by DC Circulator is excellent. Six lines allow you to reach destinations out of reach of the metro. Among these, the Yellow Circulator line, which connects Union Station with the beautiful Georgetown district; the line operates every day from 07:00 to 21:00, with extension until 02:00 at night on Friday and Saturday. Another interesting line is the National Mall Route (Red Line) which runs along the National Mall and the main museums. It runs every day from 07:00 to 19:00 in winter, and until 20:00 in summer.

Another strength of the DC Circulator service is the price: you pay only $1 for each single journey. Excellent quality-price. The buses are red and easily identifiable by the logo on the side. Thanks to the low floor, they can be used by people with mobility difficulties and on wheelchairs.



Photo ©, Peterfitzgerald

The metro fare system is rather complicated. The rates, in fact, vary depending on the day, time and distance!

To travel on all vehicles, including the Bus DC Circulators, you can buy the excellent SmarTrip. This is a special prepaid card that you can top up with any amount, paying cheaper rates. At the first purchase you pay 10$, with 8$ of credit available. You can buy it online, at the machines in the station and at the many authorized retailers. Remember to validate it with each use, before starting the journey.

On the metro, on weekdays, depending on the distance, the price varies from a minimum of $2.25 to a maximum of $6.00. If you use the metro, in WEEKDAYS, in the slots 09.30-15.00 and 19.00-midnight, you save on the cost (from $2.00 to a maximum of $3.85).

A single trip on MetroRail on a Saturday or Sunday costs $2.00. After midnight, the price goes from a low of $2.25 to a high of $6.00, again depending on the distance. The ticket to travel on the Express Metrobus lines costs $4.25.

Unlimited Pass are intended for users who want to use public transport frequently. They are subscriptions, available in different denominations, which allow unlimited travel on buses and metro. The 1-day version costs $13 and is valid until midnight on the day of validation. The 3-day pass costs $28. The 7-day pass, on the other hand, costs $58.

Please note that children up to 5 years of age travel FREE accompanied by a paying adult. From 5 years of age, everyone pays the standard rate.

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