What is the name of the public transportation in Washington DC?

Can anyone tell me? I'm going to visit DC but I don't know what the name of the public subway or bus is in order to buy tickets. I'm looking for the company that is similar to MTA in New York, MBTA in Boston or SEPTA in Philadelphia.

When I used google map there are a few authorities for public transportation in DC: DC Circulator, WMATA and Maryland something. Are those authorities the same? Can I use the same ticket for all? Thanks

9 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    WMATA is the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and it runs Metrorail and Metrobus. Both extend out into the suburbs of Northern Virginia and Maryland. However, jurisdictions in both states have their own transit systems. Montgomery County has RideOn, which also serves some of the Red Line stations. I think Prince George's County has The Bus. Arlington County has ART. There's REX in Alexandria, I think. And in Fairfax, there's the Fairfax Connector. While they are different agencies, you can use a SmarTrip card on any of the transit agencies in the DC area. And I strongly recommend you buy a SmarTrip card as Metro no longer offers paper transfers, plus you will pay more if you use cash.

    Circulator runs only in DC, primarily in touristy areas (www.dccirculator.com). It's a bit cheaper than Metrobus, but not nearly as extensive. You can use your SmarTrip on the Circulator as well.

  • Rhonda
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    DC has the second busiest mass transit in the Nation after New York. However, It really depends on where you are going and where you are coming from. I take the metro bus every morning and on every occasion a bus either comes early or not at all. The trains are more reliable but they are going through a number of safety inspections due to the accident that killed 9 and injured 70 others. Not only that a number of people have been hit by buses and I see buses all the time broken down. It's a system that you take your chances with. All in all its good, but it could be much better

  • 1 decade ago

    WMATA runs the main system called Metro. Metro runs out into neighboring Maryland and Virginia. And then once out into the suburbs, other systems take over going out to the exurbs.

    DC Circulator is partially run by WMATA and partially by District of Columbia. Smartrip cards are good on it.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    As said - WMATA operates the DC metro and bus system. There is also the MARC train (MD commuter train), the VRE (Virginia commuter train) and areas outside of DC also have their own buses (ie: Ride On buses in MD).

    WMATA's website is http://www.wmata.com

    You can use passes, metro farecards, or a SmartTrip card for the metro (run by the WMATA). You can also use a SmartTrip card for DC buses and Ride On buses as well as parking. You can not use them for MARC or VRE, those are separate and you need different tickets.

    Source(s): DC area resident
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  • John L
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    WMATA runs the subway and buses in DC and the close suburbs. For travel to remoter suburbs there are various MD and VA agencies.

    If you get a WMATA SmarTrip card, which you can order on their web site, that'll be good on anything you're likely to use in D.C.

  • Order a SmarTrip card. They work on most likely every system you will use.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago


  • 1 decade ago

    the metro system if you go to wmata.com then you can see all the things that uner the transit system...

  • 1 decade ago


    same pretty much everywhere.

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