Ground Transportation between Baltimore Airport (BWI) and Washington DC for $9 Each Way

Despite a very good 3-day rental car quote from Hertz, TravelWhimsy and I opted to take advantage of public transportation between Baltimore Airport (BWI) and Washington DC during our Easter weekend DC trip.

Instead of spending at least $160 on car rental, gas, and expensive parking in DC, we only spent $36 for both of us ($9 per person each way).

For those of you East-coasters, I am sure you are very familiar with public transportation options for major metropolitan areas; but for those of us new to an area, how do we go about finding useful information to take us to and from an airport unfamiliar to us?

I usually go to the airport’s official website or its Wikipedia site (if the official site does not provide the information I am looking for). In the case of BWI, I visited the ground transportation page of the official site. Most airport sites (including international ones) give up-to-date comprehensive information on your options.

During our first visit to Baltimore, we were pleasantly surprised by the fact that the Baltimore light rail stopped right at the terminal building and cost just $1.60 each way.

The commute between BWI and Washington DC has two parts operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA):

  1. BWI Express Bus (B-30) runs every 40 minutes, 7 days a week, between BWI and the Washington DC Metro’s Greenbelt Station (commute time: ~30 minutes, fare: $6). [Extra tip/lesson learned: B-30 stops at door #2 and then #17. Walk to door #2 to ensure a seat on the bus. We waited at door #17, and I had to stand for 30 minutes.]
  2. Metro rail between Greenbelt Station and your destination in the Washington DC area (commute time: ~30 minutes for most central locations, fare: $3).

There are also various single or multi-day passes/fare card options you can explore on the transportation authority websites.

Door-to-door, it took about 90 minutes. If we had driven ourselves or taken a taxi or shuttle, costs aside, it would have taken about a similar amount of time.

If you have the American Express Platinum card, you could also enjoy the lounge at BWI and get a free meal or premium drink.

Let me know what you think! I respond to all comments.

Don’t want to miss any TravelByPoints tips? Get updates via daily email, RSS feed, Twitter, or Facebook.

  • Scottrick

    If you take the shuttle bus to the parking garage, you can ride the MARC commuter train for about $6-9 or Amtrak for about $12 each way, and it drops you off at Union Station. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about connecting at the Greenbelt station.

    • Thanks, Scott, for the additional option. If your final destination is near Union Station or the MARC or Amtrak schedule works better for you, it would be nice to avoid the bus to rail connection. That said, the bus/Greenbelt option worked best for us.

  • Al

    Any advice on how to get from fort lauderdale to miami beach? Best i could find so far is to take the light rail from fort lauderdale airport to miami airport and thenfrom miami airport to miami beach via taxi. Im flying into fort lauderdale, and staying at fiur point sheraton miami beach. Would love to avoid the expensive taxi. Will be going with wife and four kids. Any advice?

    • Al, my brother-in-law picks us up when we go to MIA, but I have heard that there is a bus linking MIA and Miami Beach that costs about $2? If you have a lot of luggage, taxi might be better for your family of 6?