Bus / Tours, Washington D.C.
MetroBus has 322 bus routes with over 12,000 scheduled stops in DC, Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties in Maryland, and Fairfax County, Virginia. Its 1500 buses operated all day and much of the night depending on the route. MetroBuses carry an average of almost 500,000 people per day on weekdays, about 250,000 on Saturdays, and only 150,000 passengers on Sundays. Fares on regular routes are $1.25 and $3 on express routes, plus $0.10 per trip without the SmartTrip card. Drivers do not carry change, and the money machines are slow to feed dollar bills, so get a SmartTrip card!
I took the MetroBus from Dulles Airport to Rosslyn Station (Express Route 5A). The bus was clean, safe, and quick. There were only about 2 stops between the airport and Rosslyn's Metro Station where I got off the bus. This $3 ride from the airport to downtown sure beats the $55 taxi ride!
since there is no metro service to georgetown the easiest and cheapest way to get there from central washington d.c. is the circulator bus. the circulator yellow line runs from union station to the corner of wisconsin & M streets in central georgetown. the bus leaves every 10 minutes from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM. the bus makes numerious stops along the way. you can download a route map from their website.
As previously mentioned, we took advantage of a day trip to Washington, D.C. by bus which was sponsored by my employer for the fantastic price of only $10 US per person roundtrip plus a well-deserved gratuity to our bus driver.
There are some good options for bus travel to D.C. from the major cities of New York, Boston, Newark, NJ on the low-cost carrier, Bolt Bus, which is operated by Greyhound Buslines. Unfortunately, Bolt Bus has no service from Philly/South Jersey to the D.C. area. Nonetheless, other visitors wishing to travel to D.C. from the other major cities can catch some unbelievably great deals on Bolt Bus especially if you can book early.
Another excellent bus option is the Mega Bus which services many major cities from the Northeast to Washington, D.C. For example, I checked the MegaBus schedule for a trip only 2 weeks out which leaves from near Philadelphia's 30th Street Station and arrives near D.C.'s Union Station. There were numerous schedule times throughout the day for a roundtrip fare of approximately $40 including fees -- I priced a trip leaving about 9:15 a.m. and returning at approximately 5:30 p.m. Fares depend largely on how early you book, days of the week, and time of day you prefer.
[Many people opt to travel from Philly or cities on what is generically known as the "chinatown buses." These buses which are all white and virtually unmarked are certainly a cheap ride but seem to experience a higher than average number of crashes -- I was once even told by a professional bus driver never to ride with the chinatown buses.]
Greyhound Buslines has routes from New York, Philadelphia and other major cities to D.C. at not unreasonable prices based on schedule and how early you can book.
Amtrak trains run regularly between all of these major cities to Washington, D.C. The special Acela Express Trains will have you in D.C. in approximately 1 1/2 hrs. from Philadelphia, but roundtrip tickets will run approximately $115 for value seats. For business travelers, this is the preferred method of travel between many northeast cities.
Regular or regional trains may run 1 hr 50 minutes to a little over 2 hrs. to cover that distance but will definitely be more affordable at between $50 and $85 approximately depending on when you book. Checking the amtrak.com website will confirm price, availability and other options.
Here are websites to use when considering your travel options:
Timetables of metrobus are displayed at the bus stops (by Sheraton National Arlington hotel on my picture) but warning: only at some stops. There is no metrobus timetable at the stop by Fort Myer for example. Instead there is always a phone number where to call for information. Keep in mind that due to unpredictable traffic conditions in urban area of Arlington the metrobuses (in contrast to metrorails) may always come delayed.
WHERE TO FIND THE TIMETABLE
If there isn't on the bus stop you have a few option:
1. call the number shown on the bus stop sign if you have a cell phone,
2. ask at the hotel desk if there is any by the stop (Days Inn by Fort Myer),
3. find the detailed timetables of your line in the web here - download them and print out or put to your palmtop (PDA format).
There are many tours available in Washington DC
All the information can be found on the gounrd floor of the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center Building at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
The DC Information Center there is open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 6:oo pm.
You can find out about:
Capitol Walking Tours
DC Heritage Tourism Coalition
Old Town Trolley
Potomac Riverboat Company
I've been walking around the Smithsonian malls for a decade or more now, but a recent addition has been added to the poorly-dressed masses of tourists. Well-dressed tourists on two-wheeled gyroscoped contraptions.
For $65 bucks and a $450 dollar deposit (to insure you don't take that $13k piece of the future home with you), you get a great ride around the monuments. The vast spaces of the National Mall, from Lincoln Memorial, to Jefferson, to the Capital, make what could only be a long walk seem effortless. If you've got some extra cash due to the great Euro conversion, spend it on this.
It's worth it for the children's reaction to your zooming past them on the sidewalk.
I'm not the tour bus tourist but I have heard some great things about the DC tours. Not only do they efficiently tour you around the most popular sights but they also give you the back stories and point out the details on the reason why certain monuments were made a particular way. Make sure to do your homework and find the tour that works for you and your budget.
We were in Washington a few weeks ago (end of april). Because it was just a day trip on our way round the east coast, we decided to take a "hop-on-hop-off" bus tour to see as much we can. Unfortunately we settle for the "city sight seeing" tour with their red double decker buses because there was a brochure in the hotel lobby. We spend more than half of the time waitig for the bus!! The buses of the red line circulates supposedly every half of an hour, but it was more than one hour. Then we decided to take the other offered line: the blue line, which should go to Georgetown. We were waiting for 3 hours! We never saw the blue line even existed!
As you can imagine, we were disappointed and angry, so we planned to complain about their bad service. But the man just got angry and we didn´t obtain our money back.
Conclusion: never use this sight seeing tour when you visit Washington. The personal was unfriendly and the buses always late!
A cheap way for going from Dulles International Airport to the Metro Church Station.
In the 2nd level of the airport's terminal you'll find the Washington Flyer bus counter. The bus leaves about every 30 minutes from the airport to the Metro Church and station and viceversa.
It will cost you about $9 oneway and $16 roundtrip.
There are bizzare boat/car looking amphibian things that leave from the Train Station for a 90 minute tour of the major D.C. monuments. Great for kids, or anyone who has wanted to drive their car into the water, the Ducks are a strange D.C. landmark.
From their website;
"Ducks come from DUKW, a military acronym that designated the vehicle as amphibious military personnel carriers. D Stands for the year it was designated, 1942; U for its amphibious nature; K for its all-wheel drive; and W for its dual rear axles.
DUKW's were created following the attack on Pearl Harbor as a means to transport supplies from ships to areas that did not have port facilities. DUKW's were first used operationally during the invasion of Sicily. Nearly 90% of all supplies came in by DUKW on the vital second and third days of the invasion. D-Day brought a force of 2000 DUKW's to the Normandy coasts. The fleet was an essential element in the strategic surprise of the enemy which assumed the Allies needed a port to make an effective landing. DUKW's are standard 2 1/2 ton GM trucks in a water-tight shell with an added propeller."
During my last visit to the area, some classmates and I decided to take a trolley tour of DC. Since we were in class all day we had to take an evening tour. The price was $38 a person which seemed pretty reasonable. This is a great way to see the majority of the popular monuments and buildings but if you want to spend any amount of time touring this isn't a good choice.
I didn't use DC Ducks, I just saw this in front of the Union Station as we were waiting for our Old Town Trolley.
It must be fun touring Washington D.C. on this amphibious vehicle! They go along the city steets and then they splash into the Potomac River to offer you a whole different look at the city. Isn't this a great idea?
Check their website for some more info if you're interested.
BY METRO: DC’s subway system is clean and efficient, the kind of modern transport you’d expect in a city of this class. A day pass for 5 dollars gets you full use of the underground network for the day after 9.30am. It’s handy for the zoo, for getting into town if you’re not staying central and for crossing the center of town when you’re tired. Apparently a bus service runs from the Huntington Metro stop out to Mount Vernon.
BY BUS: More extensive than the Metro subway, travelling by bus also lets you see more of the city. A trip costs 1.10 dollars, but rush hour traffic can be bad.
BY TOURMOBILE: These trolley buses run a circuit around the main sites, so you can use it as an orientation to the city. You can hop on and off as you please for 14 dollars a day. For that fare, you are transported around a dozen or so of the main attractions, plus over the Potomac to Arlington National Cemetery. For another 22 bucks they can take you out to Mount Vernon that same day as well, but the more economical option if you're doing heavy-duty sightseeing would be to buy a 2-day pass for 37 dollars. This gets you around all the central sites, Arlington Cemetery and also Mt Vernon, which deserves a good half-day at least on its own.
Cities of the American northeast – Washington, DC, Boston, and New York – might not be the world’s cheapest, but you can save a bundle by taking advantage of the recent boom of budget bus companies. These buses, which also connect with Philadelphia, Toronto, Pittsburgh, and even Charlotte, are a steal at as little as US$1 one way. (These prices are not typical!) I am thinking about going from Charlotte to DC next week and Megabus is currently quoting a round trip as low as $85. Boltbus does not currently serve Charlotte. Megabus has a much wider service area, ranging from Portland, Maine to Del Rio, Texas and Orlando, Florida. Considering most destinations are pedestrian-friendly (with good public transport and walkable centers), you can hop-scotch across the region without booking a flight or hiring a car. Better still, the ride’s comfortable, there’s free wi-fi, buses leave on time and there’s often plenty of room.
Book early online to get serious discounts on already cheap routes from Megabus and BoltBus.
Signature Tours of DC is a subsidiary company of Royal USA Tours and Transportation, Inc. The company provides bus tours around Washington DC for over 10 years and I must say that the team is pretty nice. I enjoyed a pleasant day and went to most of the Washington DC attractions.
Signature Tours provide different types of tours around Washington DC - day and afternoon tours, night, private and custom tours. The company is ready to answer all clients needs.
The prices of the tours are quite affordable - from $59 for adults and $49 for kids under 12 years old. All tours come with free refreshments! Also, all buses of the company provide air conditioning for the hot summers and the cold winters
Here are some of the DC attractions included in Signature Tours trips:
The Capitol Building
J. Edgar Hoover Building
Vietnam War Memorial Wall