Metro (Subway & Bus)

Metro Transportation

Washington D.C.’s Subway & Bus System

Washington D.C. boasts one of the best public transportation systems in the world. The system is made up of an underground subway (Metrorail or Metro), and an extensive bus system, (Metrobus and Circulator). Visitors to D.C. should plan to use these systems as much as possible. Driving, and particularly parking, can be very difficult especially in and around the National Mall, so the Washington D.C. metro is highly recommended.


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The Metro website, Metro Opens Doors, offers extensive information on the system, stations, maps fares, and service changes. Don’t miss the “Trip Planner” where you can enter your starting address and where you want to go. The system will return several options, including travel time, and cost.

Metro Rail Cool Facts:

  • Opened in 1976
  • 5 lines, 86 Stations, 106.3 Miles of track
  • Second only to New York as the busiest system in the United States
  • Highest ridership day: Inauguration of Barack Obama, January 20, 2009. One million, one hundred and twenty thousand riders!

Metro Bus Cool Facts:

  • 300 Bus Routes
  • 12,216 Stops
  • Annual trips: 133 million
  • 1480 buses
  • Buses are powered by Diesel, Diesel/Electric Hybrid and Compressed Natural Gas
  • SmartTrip card works on both the subway and bus systems


The Circulator bus system began in 2005 as a supplemental, shuttle type of bus service. Routes are simpler, with no schedule, arriving every 10 minutes from 6 or 7am to 7pm to 2am depending on the route. Fare is $1 or $.50 for seniors. There are currently 5 routes traveling throughout the downtown area of DC.

Circulator Cool Facts:

  • $1 FARE!
  • Arrives every 10 minutes
  • Buses are equipped to take you and your bike
  • Mobile apps to let you know when the next bus arrives
  • Works with the SmartTrip cards from the Metro
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