Transit from IAD to DCA?

Discussion in 'Washington, DC' started by ducster, May 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. ducster
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    ducster Gold Member

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    I have a TATL arriving in the afternoon at IAD, and I'm departing on a flight from DCA a few hours later. I know I can cab or shuttle it, but what's the best way using public transit? How long does it take to use the bus and Metro?
     
  2. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Oh man that's rough... there's no rail service but I'm sure plenty of people here have made the trek and they'll tell you it can be an absolute nightmare with traffic.

    Arriving into IAD in the afternoon will kill you, but it should be possible if you have "a few hours" to get to DCA. You can call a cab company or better yet SuperShuttle, since they ferry people between both airports.

    http://www.supershuttle.com/en/IADAirportShuttleWashington.html
     
  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I thought there was some sort of an infrequent paid shuttle bus service to the nearest Metro station to IAD. If you're doing this in rush hour, hopefully without much luggage, my instinct would be to grab a cab to the Metro and take that to DCA, where the station is in the B/C terminals. (You can walk or take a free shuttle bus to the A concourse.)

    Taking a cab or (worse) the supershuttle puts you at risk of big traffic jams, depending on the time of day.
     
  4. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Don't forget it's a TATL too, so he still has to get out of the airport. I gotta say I don't envy him. :)
     
  5. mhnadel
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    mhnadel Silver Member

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    The major advantages of the Washington Flyer over the 5A bus are slightly greater frequency (every half hour vs. about 45 minutes) and better luggage storage. For that you pay $4 more.

    At least security at DCA is usually quick, so transportation is the major issue.
     
  6. mhnadel
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    mhnadel Silver Member

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    The Washington Flyer bus to West Falls Church metro is every half hour - not exactly infrequent. There are pretty minimal traffic issues with it since it uses the Dulles Access Road (usable only to/from the airport). I've found that their schedule is quite reliable. The metro is, alas, less reliable.

    The real issue with Super Shuttle is that they like to make assorted stops along the way. I don't know if they do this to DCA since there may be enough people going there, but I don't use it going home unless I want to take the grand tour of Herndon and Reston on the way.

    There shouldn't be a lot of traffic issues inbound in the afternoon. The Dulles Access Road is generally uncrowded and the traffic on 66 is mostly outbound then. It's just the stretch between Rosslyn and DCA that has any real risk as you get near rush hour.
     
  7. ducster
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    ducster Gold Member

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    Thanks, this was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks also to everyone else for replying- lots of helpful info.
     
  8. jfhscott
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    jfhscott Silver Member

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    I would opt for the 5A, myself. The 5A usually uses a metrobus which has generous overhead storage, and it would take OP all the way to Rosslyn, so OP would not have to change from the Orange line to the Blue line. Oh, OP should also note to take the elevator down to the Rosslyn station, as the escalator to Metro is one of the longest I have ever seen, which could be a problem with bags.
     
  9. Chriscross
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    Chriscross Silver Member

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    If I arrive IAD at 3.45 pm going to the Radisson close to DCA and a metro stop on the blue line, is the bus 5a/blue line my quickesr option compared to Carmel car service?
     
  10. dinasaur

    dinasaur Active Member

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    3:45p inbound to DC isn't a particularly bad time for traffic on the highway, though it does start to pick up around that time. (With the caveat, of course, that I'm comparing this in relation to DC-area traffic!) I would say that car service is your fastest option, but not by a large margin.

    Taking the 5A bus, by the time you got to Rosslyn and switched to the metro, trains will be at commuter frequency (assuming a weekday) so you won't wait too long. The Radisson is only a couple blocks from the Crystal City metro station, and I believe they have a shuttle that goes to the Pentagon City station.
     
  11. dennistimer

    dennistimer New Member

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    I am arriving at IAD at 6:04am on Tuesday and then I have a flight out of DCA at 10:00am; what is the least expensive and most expedient way to accomplish this traveling? I will be hand carrying luggage so public transportation is a viable method. Some one recommended I try UBER, but that is more than I really want to spend. Montgomery Shuttle won't even give me a quote. I am used to $29 car rentals but they don't seem to exist in D.C. area.
     
  12. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    We always take the 5a bus to Roslyn Metro Station which is on the blue line five stops from DCA. I'd plan about 1:30 for the bus to be safe plus 20 for the metro.

    That will cost you about $10. The 5a is over $5 now and not a nice round number, bring ten dollar bills, also a dollar in change if you don't want to give metro the decimal. The metro itself might be as high as $3 plus $1 for a paper ticket.

    You can plan your trip at http://wmata.com
     
  13. LAM

    LAM Silver Member

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    You could now take the Washington Flyer Bus to the Wiehle/Reston Metro Station. Take the Silver line to Roslyn and then the Blue line to DCA. Slightly more expensive but will keep you out of some of the rush hour traffic on 66 into Roslyn. Another option is Super Shuttle but the downside is they won't leave IAD until they have a few people in the Shuttle so you will have to wait most times and you may be one of the last people to get dropped off. I live fairly close to DCA and I always get dropped as one of the last people when I take the shuttle from IAD.
     
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  14. profpeabody

    profpeabody Silver Member

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    For dennistimer -I agree with LAM. Rush hour for the Washington area starts at 6AM. Metro will be the most efficient and fastest way to go if you have carry-on only. Because of the location, you should find plenty of seating on the Metro into Roslyn and from there it is a quite hop to DCA on the Blue line.
     

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