Updated July 8, 2020.
If you’re flying into the D.C. area, you have three options: Reagan National (DCA), Baltimore-Washington International (BWI), or Washington-Dulles International (IAD). If you’re coming from DCA, you can simply take the Blue Line into D.C. for $6 or less. But if you’re coming from BWI or IAD, you’ll have to make a connection or two on public transportation. The next time you fly into IAD, this guide will help you know your options!
If you want something straight-forward and easy, and you’re willing to pay top dollar (or someone else is paying!), a taxi is the way to go. The good thing about Dulles is that the only taxi service allowed is the Washington Flyer. You will not be price gauged, and all taxi drivers have gone through an approval process. You’ll just go down to the arrivals level (where baggage claim is located), go down the ramp at Door 3, and get in line. Very rarely have we needed to wait more than 5 minutes to be on our way. A taxi from IAD to downtown D.C. will run you anywhere from $100-$120.
There is no designated Uber pick-up location at Dulles. You can be picked up at any Arrivals Door, and the app will prompt you to select which door you’ll use. The best doors for pick up, according to an Uber driver, are Doors 6 and 7. The pick up area at Arrivals gets very clogged at the first three doors, since people think they will be picked up faster at one of the first pick up areas. Door 4 is the location of bus pick ups, so it’s difficult for cars to get in to pick up travelers. Door 5 is where cars go when they can’t get to Door 4.
Doors 6 and 7 are typically clearer than the rest, so it’s easier for an Uber to get in to pick you up! Uber from IAD to downtown D.C. is typically $30-50, depending on the type of Uber service you choose.
There is a Metro Bus that goes from IAD to Downtown D.C. (making several stops along the way), and it is the 5A. The bus will cost you around $8, and you can use your SmarTrip Card if you have one. The ride will take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes, depending on time of day. The bus leaves the airport every 30 minutes.
Silver Line Express Bus to Metro
I just tried this method myself for the blog! The Silver Line Express Bus is operated by the Washington Flyer (the same as the taxi service), and it takes you straight from IAD to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro, on the Silver Line. The benefit for this over the bus to downtown is that you can take the Metro to just about anywhere in D.C., as opposed to somewhere on the bus route. The total cost is $8.85-$11.00, depending on time of day. Some things to know about the Silver Line Express:
- The bus is $5 each way, to be paid in cash or by credit card (no SmarTrip cards accepted) at the kiosk inside Arrivals Door 4 before you leave the airport and after you get to the airport
- FREE wi-fi available
- Bus leaves every 15 minutes (find the schedule here)
- Time: 12 minutes door-to-door
- Silver line Metro leaves every 8 minutes during rush hour, 20 minutes during non-rush hour
- Metro Price: $6 at peak (open-9:30am; 3:00pm-7:00pm); $3.85 off-peak and weekends (9:31am-2:59pm; 7:01pm-close)
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