Transportation in and around Washington

Metrorail, Metrobus, Taxis, Airports, Cars, Bicycles, Zipcar

The Washington, DC area has an excellent public transportation system, consisting of an integrated network of rail lines and bus routes. Find extensive information about the Metrorail and Metrobus system.


Metrorail is fast, clean, and safe. Close to 750,000 people use this system every day. Maps and fare information are located in each Metro Station. The closest stop to the Buchanan is the Crystal City Metro Stop on the Blue and Yellow Lines. Farecard machines are located in every station and the fares depend upon the distance traveled and the time of day. During rush hours (from 5:30am until 9:30am and between 3pm and 8pm on weekdays) trains run more frequently (approximately every three to five minutes). Fares are also higher during this time period. Trains do not run as often during non-rush hour times. On weekdays the system operates from 5:30am until midnight. On Friday and Saturday nights, trains run from 8am to 2am. Make sure to check what time the last train leaves from your station when you go out for the evening – cab fare can be expensive if you get stranded far from home.

One other important thing to remember when entering or exiting the Metro via the escalators is to always stay on the right if you plan to “ride” down/up and leave the left open for those who “walk” down/up the escalators. No food or drink is allowed in the station or in the train cars and fines can range up to $100.


If you are transferring to Metrobus after riding the Metrorail, you will find a machine that dispenses bus transfers inside the Metro station gates. Each passenger is entitled to one transfer, which allows you to ride a connecting bus from a Metro station to your destination for a reduced fare. You must get the transfer at the Metro station you depart from, not your destination station. Metrobus operators do not carry cash and cannot make change. The bus fare for most trips is $1.35. The bus may be less efficient, but it is a great way to see the city.


Taxicabs are easy to find in Washington. You can go many places in the District by cab for less than $7. DC cabs are regulated by meters. 

Taxi service phone numbers in VA:

  • Arlington Yellow Cab: 703-522-2222
  • Blue Top Cab: 703-243-TAXI (8294) 
  • Red Top Cab of Arlington: 703-522-3333

Taxi service phone numbers in DC:

  • Yellow Cab: 202-544-1212   
  • District Cab: 202-398-0532 
  • Dynasty Cab: 202-526-1200 
  • BWI
    Linthicum, MD (Baltimore)
  • Dulles
    Dulles, VA
  • Reagan National
    Alexandria, VA

Driving one’s own vehicle into DC is strongly discouraged. Parking is very limited in most sections of the city and can be extremely expensive.  Paid parking is available at the Buchanan.  Please talk to Roxane for more information.


W&M in Washington has created a partnership with Zipcar, which is a great option for participants 21 years or older to get around the city when public transportation is not an option.

To Get a Zipcard, first read these entry requirements, and then register online.

If you meet all of the above requirements, here’s how to register:
  • Go to the W&M Zipcar site for our specific plan.
  • Select the “Occasional Driving Plan,” which charges a $25 annual fee, $8.75/hr of use and $62/day. (A separate $25 application fee is waived for W&M students.)  
  • You will then be asked to choose a user name and fill out personal information including driver’s license number and credit card information. 
  • Your request will go through the Program Director, who will confirm that you are indeed a student in the W&M in Washington Program and then off to ZipCar for final approval. 
  • Check out the website for more details on how to pick up your card and get started!
Capital Bikeshare

Like Zipcar, Capital Bikeshare allows you to get around in the city without having a vehicle of your own. Capital Bikeshare bikes are located at over 110 different stations throughout DC and Arlington, and are available at all hours of the day. You can join Capital Bikeshare for a day, a month, or a year. The first 30 minutes of your ride are free, and after that there is a small fee to continue using the bike without returning it. They can be rented and returned at any Capital Bikeshare station. Check their FAQs and subscription page for more information.