If you’ve traveled to or from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) in the last number of years, you know how much of a pain it is to get from there to downtown Washington, D.C. (or any other part of the Washington, Virginia, and Maryland metro area). The Silver Line Metro has now opened to Dulles, and it’s a game changer for public transit in the region and travelers going to this metropolis of an airport.
Previous Transportation Options
Just to give you a sense of the bad public transit options up until this point to Dulles, you essentially had 1 of 3 ways out of the airport, and none of them were convenient:
- A local bus, making local stops all the way to D.C.
- A rideshare, which almost always costs more than $50 one-way, or a taxi
- Silver Line Express, a local bus going from Wiehle-Reston East metro station to the airport, but requiring a separate transfer and fare
None of these were convenient options to get to the airport, and either took a long time from one end to the other or were an extreme hassle with connections and different fares. With the opening of the new Silver Line Extension, only rideshares and taxis will remain as options since the 2 bus options have been discontinued.
The New Silver Line Extension
The new Silver Line Extension, running all the way out to Ashburn, Virginia in Loudoun County to Downtown Largo in Maryland, opened for service on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, with the first full day of service on November 16.
Transit times from the airport to D.C. will run about an hour but will be consistently timed vs. the variable times that could result with significant traffic in the area when you travel by bus or car.
Trains will depart according to the following schedule:
- The first train to Downtown Largo (towards Washington, D.C) will leave at 5:10 a.m. on weekdays and 7:10 a.m. on weekends.
- The last train to Downtown Largo (towards Washington, D.C) will leave at 10:53 p.m. on weekdays and 11:53 p.m. on weekends.
Hot Tip: One thing to note is that the last trains toward D.C. leave somewhat early, meaning that if you’re on a late flight into Dulles, it’s likely that you won’t be able to utilize the Metro and will instead need to opt for rideshare or taxi.
How To Access the Dulles Airport Station
Escalators from the Dulles Airport Station connect to the airport’s Daily Parking Garage 1 underground pedestrian tunnel, and there are moving walkways.
To use the Metrorail you’ll need to have a SmartTrip card; you can use the SmartTrip app to purchase a transit card to tap-and-go at stations or purchase a card online or at station vending machines.
The cost of a trip will depend on the time of day and distance of your journey, but should range from $2 to $6. The fare on weekends and weekdays after 9 p.m. is a flat $2 fee one-way. You can use Metro’s Trip Planner to plan your journey and see the exact fares.
The Silver Line Metro is a game changer for transit in the D.C. area, finally bringing a viable option to Dulles airport, 1 of 3 main airports in the D.C. region. You’ll be able to travel with consistent ride times and a cheap fare and be able to reach downtown D.C. within an hour, making Dulles a great choice if you’re not able to fly into the more centrally located Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).
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