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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 07/26/2005

Blues Traveler

By Erin

I just returned from my cousin's wedding in Louisville. It was a great time with good food, mint juleps and Southern accents, but I almost missed the whole event. Last Friday, I arranged to have a large, blue shared-ride van (which shall remain nameless) pick me up from work hours before my scheduled departure. I won't bore you with details, but after a crazed roller coaster ride around (and around) the city that seemed better suited for a bat-out-of-hell than an unsuspecting posse of airport travelers, I made my flight with mere seconds to spare.

After the unnecessary stress of my Friday trip to Dulles (which undoubtedly stripped about 10 years off my life), I've compiled a list of the numerous other options we Washingtonians, Northern Virginians and Marylanders have for getting to local airports. Mix, match and figure out a way to get there that will leave you flying high instead of dashing madly for your departure gate.

By car: For those with a car, you can make the drive out to Dulles along the generally traffic-free access road. There is an abundance of daily, short-term and long-term parking in the vicinity ranging from $9 to $36 per day.

By Metro: The Washington Flyer coach service departs from the West Falls Church Metro station by the Fairfax Connector/Reston buses at the "Dulles Airport Shuttle" sign. The trip takes about 20 minutes and costs $8 one way or $14 roundtrip. The coach departs on the quarter every half-hour from 5:45 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. on weekdays and 7:45 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. on weekends.

By bus: Metro's 5A bus takes an express route along the access road to Dulles. The bus picks up  passengers at L'Enfant Plaza, Rosslyn, Tysons-Westpark transit station and the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride Lot. The bus leaves L'Enfant Plaza at 5:33 a.m. and continues approximately every hour until 10:37 p.m. every day.

By taxi: Any taxi service can take you to Dulles, but Washington Flyer maintains an exclusive contract as the only cab transporting passengers from the airport. The ride from the District costs approximately $50. Reservations can be made at 703-661-6655.

By car: It isn't too difficult to reach BWI from D.C.; it's essentially a straight shot along I-95. Parking ranges from $8 to $20 per day, but the airport is currently offering a coupon for $2 off parking in the daily garage.

By train: Amtrak and the MARC train both service BWI via the Baltimore-BWI station. A ride from Union Station costs $14 on Amtrak.  Monday through Friday, the MARC train (Penn Station line) runs from Union Station for $6. The trains depart between 5:54 a.m. and 10:40 p.m.; the trip takes approximately 26 minutes.

By bus: Metro offers the BWI Express Metro B30 bus service from the Greenbelt Metro station. It runs every 40 minutes, seven days a week, to the Greenbelt station. Buses run 25 times each weekday and 21 times on Saturdays and Sunday, every 40 minutes.

Reagan National Airport
By car: The airport, just off the George Washington Memorial Parkway, is easily accessible by car or public transportation. Parking ranges from $9 to $28 per day.

By Metro: Both the blue and yellow lines stop at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

By taxi: The short ride to the airport costs approximately $12 from the District.

By bus: Surprisingly, Metro offers only limited bus service to the airport from 6:13 to 7:43 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays via lines 13B, 13F and 13G.


By Erin  | July 26, 2005; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
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Reagan National Airport is not "surprisingly easy to reach" by car.

Everytime I or my friends drive in the vicinity of these VA mazes, we always get lost.

Posted by: kz | July 26, 2005 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I hate SuperShuttle, for the record.

Posted by: amc | July 26, 2005 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I always have family come in to National. From Maryland it is easy to get to using the GW Parkway.

Posted by: tc | July 26, 2005 6:53 PM | Report abuse

How accessible is the airport from the BWI Rail station? Is it a chore to haul lots of baggage?

Posted by: Jason | July 27, 2005 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Excellent list!!! thanks. However, the limited bus service to National Airport isn't surprising in the slightest- considering how incredibly close it is, and how easy it is to get there by metro, who needs the bus?

Posted by: Sam | July 27, 2005 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I had a similar "super" shuttle experience, complete with a brake-slamming, near-death experience at a red light. If you factor in late pick-ups, time lost on meandering routes, the various and sundry smells of summer floating around the van, and the company of idiots who want to share their travel plans with you it is really not worth the few bucks saved.

Posted by: Michael | July 27, 2005 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Re: BWI rail station-there's a shuttle that goes directly to the terminal. You catch it in front of the rail station so it's very easy. I highly recommend the B30 bus from Greenbelt. It stops at the new Southwest terminal and in fron of the Intl departures entrance.

Posted by: Jay | July 28, 2005 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I have sworn off Super Shuttle, after they not once, but TWICE simply failed to come pick me up. While waiting and waiting for the driver to show up, I called them and the operator a talked to suggested that I just catch a cab - thanks a lot!

Posted by: cj | July 28, 2005 2:48 PM | Report abuse

At least you made your flight! I had to can the Tom Petty concert last night after running into Washington gridlock everywhere I went. I should have never went the usual routes, and should have used only back roads, swerving downed trees, free falling my way through to the top of the world last night.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2005 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I've taken the MARC train to BWI and found the trip remarkably hassle-free. Having the ability to chill out and read a book versus fight Beltway traffic was incredible. $6 for a quick, stress-free ride??? Go for it!

Dulles- 495 is the Devil incarnate, DO NOT USE DULLES IF AT ALL POSSIBLE!!! You can find the same discount fares at BWI without the traumatic auto travel on the Beltway.

Posted by: Sarah | July 29, 2005 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I, too, had a harrowing SuperShuttle ride. At 60 mph, the driver was fishing in his pocket for loose change to navigate the toll plazas on the way from Dulles. We were wondering why he didn't take the access road. The driver drove recklessly and had no idea where several of the major local hotels were - luckily I and other passengers knew how to direct him. Never again.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2005 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Another parking option at BWI: Hotels that offer "Park, Stay, and Fly" rates. If you have an early morning flight at BWI, you can stay the previous night at one of these hotels, take a shuttle to the airport, and leave your car for 1-2 weeks (depending on hotel) for one rate.

Posted by: Greenlady | August 4, 2005 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Re BWI: for the person with luggage --or in case you're tight on time-- there also usually are cabs waiting at the railway station. (Charge is no more than around $7.50 pp to the airport.

Posted by: JB | November 22, 2005 12:54 PM | Report abuse

My most recent experience with SuperShuttle included driving the wrong way on a street, driving on the sidewalk (yes, really) and, of course, the requisite two hours of picking up strangers all over the city. If airport parking weren't so expensive, I would never use them again.

Posted by: Erin | November 27, 2005 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Super Shuttle stole four hours of my life one night on the trek from Dulles to Capitol Hill. I was transferred between four different shuttles before they managed to get all the riders into the proper buses. Ulitmately I counted myself lucky, though, compared to the van of passengers apparently left sitting on the access road because the van ran out of gas. When I go home at midnight, I apparently left my purse on the van. I spoke with no fewer than a dozen actively rude/willfully ignorant staff before it was eventually returned three days later. Avoid SuperShuttle like the plague.

Posted by: Christina | December 2, 2005 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Super Shuttle refused to bring me and my family from Reagan Airport to Reston after having a confirmed reservation saying it was too far to travel. The driver opted to bring another group to Dulles airport. After waiting for another driver and van he indicated that shuttle drivers often do not come out in bad weather, there was a slight drizzle that evening. I am done with Super Shuttle.

Posted by: Rodney Scott | January 27, 2006 8:58 AM | Report abuse

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