Most of the sightseeing neighborhoods (the Mall, Capitol Hill, Downtown, Dupont Circle) are near Metro rail stations, but a few (Georgetown, Adams Morgan) are more easily reached via Metrobus, blue-and-white buses operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Bus No. 42 travels from the Dupont Circle Metro stop to, and through, Adams Morgan. Georgetown is a hike from the closest Metro rail station, but you can take a Georgetown Metro Connection shuttle to any Metrobus stop from the Foggy Bottom or Dupont Circle Metro stations in D.C. or the Rosslyn Metro station in Arlington, Virginia.
The D.C. Circulator is another option for getting around the city; it has five routes and charges $1. The Potomac Avenue–Skyland via Barracks Row, Union Station–Navy Yard via Capitol Hill, and Woodley Park–Adams Morgan–McPherson Square Metro routes cut a path from north to south; the Georgetown–Union Station and Rosslyn–Georgetown–Dupont routes go east to west.
Complete bus and Metro maps for the metropolitan D.C. area, which note museums, monuments, theaters, and parks, can be picked up free of charge at the Metro Center sales office.
Fares and Transfers
All regular buses within the District are $1.75; express buses, which make fewer stops, are $4. For every adult ticket purchased, two children under the age of four travel free. Children ages five and older pay the regular fare. You'll save $0.20–$0.35 and transfer bus to bus for free within a two-hour period by using a SmarTrip card, a rechargeable fare card you can use on buses and the Metro. Just touch the card to the SmarTrip logo on the fare box. You’ll also get a $0.50 discount by using a SmarTrip card on bus-to-rail and rail-to-bus transfers.
D.C. Circulator passengers can pay cash when boarding (exact change only) or use Metro SmarTrip cards, and one-day, three-day, or weekly Circulator passes. Passes can be purchased online at www.commuterdirect.com. You only have to wait about 5–10 minutes at any of the stops for the next bus.
Payment and Passes
Buses require exact change in bills, coins, or both. You can eliminate the exact-change hassle by purchasing a seven-day Metrobus pass for $17.50, or the $2 rechargeable SmarTrip card online before your trip or at any Metrorail station. The SmarTrip card can also be used on the Metrorail system.
D.C. Circulator. 202/962–1423; www.dccirculator.com.
Metro Center sales office. 12th and F Sts. NW, Downtown, Washington, District of Columbia, 20005. .
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. 202/637–7000; 202/638–3780; www.wmata.com.
Several bus lines run between New York City and the Washington, D.C., area, including BoltBus, BestBus, Megabus, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Tripper Bus, Vamoose, and Washington Deluxe. Tripper and Vamoose routes run between NYC and Metro stations in Bethesda, Maryland, and Arlington, Virginia. All the buses are clean, the service satisfactory, and the price can't be beat. Believe it or not, with advance planning, you might be able to get a round-trip ticket for just $2. Megabus also has bus service from Toronto, Canada, and a handful of other U.S. cities. Several of the bus lines offer power outlets, Wi-Fi, and a frequent-rider loyalty program.
BestBus. 202/332–2691; www.bestbus.com.
BoltBus. 877/265–8287; www.boltbus.com.
Megabus. 877/462–6342; www.megabus.com.
Peter Pan Bus Lines. 800/343–9999; www.peterpanbus.com.
Tripper Bus. 877/826–3874; www.tripperbus.com.
Vamoose. 877/393–2828; www.vamoosebus.com.
Washington Deluxe. 866/287–6932; www.washny.com.