Whether coming to Georgetown is your first time away from home or not, you will probably have to figure out how to get around Washington, D.C., at some point during your first few weeks on the Hilltop. The District is not gigantic, but it can be a hassle to get around without the proper information. Here’s our guide to breaking the Georgetown bubble and navigating the region.
Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle service
Why spend money when you can use a university transportation service that your tuition already pays for? GUTS buses, as students call them, provide free transportation along five routes: Rosslyn, Dupont Circle, the Georgetown University Law Center, Arlington and the university’s Wisconsin Avenue offices. Of these, only the Wisconsin line picks up students in front of Darnall Hall, while the other four pick-up locations are at the McDonough Bus Turnaround in front of McDonough Arena. GUTS buses run between 5 a.m. and midnight, and the Dupont and Rossyln routes depart every ten minutes during peak hours (6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) For all other schedules, check the GUTS website.
The seemingly easiest option to get around D.C. is to order an Uber or Lyft or hail a taxi. Taxis are easy to find at the front gates or across from Walsh Hall on 36th Street NW between N Street NW and Prospect Street NW. District law requires taxis to accept credit card payment, but you can also pay with cash.
Uber and Lyft are popular ride-sharing options that provide trip fares up front. While both applications allow you to drop a pin on a map to indicate your pick-up location, Uber has designated default pick-up points when traveling from campus, located at the intersections of 37th Street NW and P Street NW, O Street NW, N Street NW and Prospect Street NW, as well as Epicurean Restaurant in front of Darnall Hall. And as expected, both services offer promotional deals for first-time users or credit for riders who invite first-time users to join the app.
If you seek a car to drive yourself for a longer outing, Zipcar and Car2Go offer rental services that charge based on the time length of your trip. Zipcar maintains rental locations by the Leavey Center, McDonough Arena, and on Tondorf Road between McCarthy Hall and Village C West Hall. The university also offers discounted rates through major car rental companies like National, Enterprise and Budget through Georgetown Travel Services.
At some point, the Uber, Lyft and taxi fees will add up, and you may bring yourself to venture around the DMV area with public transportation. Despite what you may hear, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority’s rail service can be helpful when making longer trips to the Capitol, to the Target in Columbia Heights or to the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
WMATA operates six color-coded rail lines: Red, Orange, Silver, Blue, Yellow and Green. Though none of them offer service directly to the Georgetown neighborhood, the two closest stations are located at Dupont Circle, where the Red Line offers service through Northwest Washington, and in Rosslyn, where the Blue, Orange and Silver lines connect most of central and Northeast D.C. to Northern Virginia. GUTS buses provide access to both stations, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, take a 15-minute walk across the Key Bridge to Rosslyn.
Metrorail service begins at 5 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday. Service ends at 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 p.m. on Sunday.
Fares have increased recently to offset WMATA’s SafeTrack program to modernize and repair older rail lines and vary depending on the time and length of your trip, but you can purchase a rechargeable SmarTrip card on your first visit to a Metro station or a CVS store for $10 (the card is $2 and comes preloaded with $8 fare), and you can add credit to your card through payment at a Metro station or online. To be safe, make sure to keep at least $10 preloaded on your card before taking a day trip. From there, consult the color-coded maps and take D.C. by storm.
WMATA boasts 325 Metrobus routes in addition to its six rail lines covering all of D.C. Fares have also increased this summer to $2.00 per ride on a regular bus and $4.25 on express bus lines with limited stops. WMATA’s G2 bus connects the Georgetown neighborhood to Dupont Circle and Le Droit Park, and it can be boarded right outside the front gates. This bus is fairly reliable and runs about every 25 minutes. A six-minute walk to 34th Street NW and Q Street NW gets you to the D2 bus, which runs from Glover Park to Dupont Circle. This bus, along with the D6 line, runs along Reservoir Road to the north of campus as well. For the most up-to-date information, consult wmata.org, and for updates on WMATA in general, check The Hoya’s coverage.
The D.C. Circulator also offers bus services on select routes, with two lines serving Georgetown. Though not affiliated with WMATA, Circulator buses run alongside Metrobuses, providing service to high profile sites. For a flat rate of $1 (cash and SmarTrip card accepted), you can travel along M Street between Rosslyn and Dupont Circle or hop on the Georgetown-Union Station line to get to downtown D.C. Both lines meet on the intersection of M Street NW and Wisconsin Avenue NW.
Want to take a quick trip to the Waterfront or bike down to the Lincoln Memorial? Capital Bikeshare, a bike-sharing service, provides a less convenient but easy-and-fun-to-use way of taking a scenic trip through our nation’s capital. Rent the bikes from the pick-up station located right outside the front gates on 37th Street, and drop them off at the station closest to your destination. Some students bring their own bikes from home to get around campus. If you do bring a bike, bike racks are located near the entrances to most residence halls and academic buildings.
Getting Home for Holidays
Whenever you decide to go home or take a vacation, you’re sure to have many options to travel.
If you drove into campus or live on the East Coast, trains and buses are your best bet. Union Station is a hub for Amtrak, Megabus and Boltbus, all providing service to most major cities along the East Coast.
For those flying home, Reagan National Airport, Dulles International Airport and Baltimore/Washington International Airport all offer flights from the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area to all major cities.
Reagan (DCA) is the closest air hub to campus — the noise from the airplanes flying overhead is a major concern for neighbors. An Uber or taxi to the airport will cost you under $20, while WMATA’s Blue Line will take you right up to the check-in level. Just hop on the GUTS bus or take the Circulator across the bridge to the Rosslyn Metro station.
Dulles (IAD) and BWI are much further, however. A trip into Northern Virginia will cost you about $60 for a taxi or Uber, while WMATA operates the 5A bus from the Rosslyn Metro station to Dulles for $7.50. A taxi or Uber to BWI will cost you upwards of $100, but Amtrak or the MARC rail service can get you there for as little as $7 for MARC or $12 for Amtrak if you are willing to get to Union Station.