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How To Get From Baltimore/Washington International Airport to Washington, D.C. [2024]

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James Larounis
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James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
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Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is about 33 miles north of Washington, D.C., almost the same distance that Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is to D.C. Along with Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), they make up the 3 major airports serving the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region, with BWI often considered to be the cheapest of the 3, thanks to especially low fares from Southwest Airlines, which operates a hub here.

There are several ways to get from BWI to Washington, D.C., and we’ll explore each and what may make sense for you.

Washington, D.C., Area Airports

Though there are 3 airports serving the Washington, D.C., region, each serves a different purpose:

  • Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI) is near Baltimore, Maryland, but serves as an airport near the D.C. area. Southwest operates a hub here, and several other low-cost carriers, including Frontier and Spirit, have flights here, which often causes flight prices to drop among all carriers.
  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is the major international airport for the area. While BWI has some international flights, Dulles carries the majority of them for the area. The airport also is a major hub for United.
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is the closest airport to Washington, D.C., but only serves domestic flights and a few short-haul flights to Canada. The airport has a perimeter restriction limiting how many longer flights can take off per day.

Overview of Costs

Transit MethodEstimated Cost
AmtrakFrom $5
MARC Commuter Rail$8
Ride-ShareFrom $70
Hired CarFrom $125
TaxiFrom $90


BWI is one of the few airports in the country with an on-site Amtrak and commuter rail station. To get to this station from the airport, head down to the baggage claim level and follow signs for the Amtrak station shuttle bus, which is operated by the airport. The bus leaves every few minutes, so you shouldn’t have to wait long. The ride between the airport terminal and the train station is about 10 or so minutes.

Amtrak at BWI
Numerous Amtrak trains serve the BWI Airport daily. Image Credit: BWI Airport

The airport shuttle bus drops you off right at the train station, and from there you can either stay on that side of the tracks for trains headed north or take the passage to the other side of the tracks for trains heading south (which includes those going to Washington, D.C.).

Not every Amtrak train stops here, but most do, including Northeast Regional and select Acela trains. The ride is approximately a half-hour long, and coach class fares start around $5. If you want to splurge, you can upgrade to business class, and these tickets typically cost between $20 and $30, though having a little bit of extra legroom and access to a complimentary nonalcoholic beverage is probably unnecessary on such a short ride.

Amtrak trains headed toward Washington, D.C., drop off at Washington Union Station, about a 10-minute walk to the Capitol. Some trains even go beyond D.C. and head south to the Virginia cities of Fredericksburg and Richmond.

Hot Tip:

If you’re purchasing an Amtrak ticket in advance, make sure you purchase a fully refundable fare so you can cancel your train if your flight is delayed.


The Maryland Area Rail Commuter (MARC) rail system shares the BWI train station with Amtrak. Also similar to Amtrak, MARC single-class trains run almost every hour from BWI to Washington Union Station.

Tickets are $8, and the ride, depending on how many stations you stop at, can last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. MARC trains aren’t designed for luggage, so be mindful of this before purchasing a ticket.

You’ll see the ticket machines just before you get to the platform, so you can easily pick up a ticket before boarding.


Ride-shares pick up from the lower level at baggage claim, on the outermost curb. Call your ride and tell them which door you’re outside of, and that is where your driver will meet you to pick you up.

A normal ride-share from BWI to Washington, D.C., costs about $70, so it certainly isn’t cheap, but it is probably the most convenient for those in a small group or those with luggage.

The biggest issue with ride-share pickups from BWI to D.C. is the potential traffic. Both I-95 South and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway are notorious for heavy traffic, especially during rush hour. This can easily turn a roughly 35-to-40-minute ride without traffic into well over an hour.

Hired Car

Consider hiring a car service if you want to splurge and get on the road as soon as you arrive.

Here are average hired car rates and how much they usually cost from BWI to D.C.:

  • $125 for an economy car
  • $220 for a standard car
  • $330 for a first-class sedan
  • $230 for a 7-passenger van
  • $330 for a premium SUV
  • $500 for a 16-passenger bus

You’re expected to pay a gratuity on top of these fares. Because hired cars are so expensive, you really should only do this if you’re in a large group or you want the peace of mind of a vehicle waiting for you as soon as you arrive.


A taxi from BWI to D.C. can easily run you $90 or more, and because they’re metered, you may incur lots of additional charges with the unpredictability of traffic.

Taxi stands are on the baggage claim level. It’s worth noting that most flyers into BWI don’t use taxis to get to D.C. because of the distance and cost. It is more common to take the train or use a ride-share.

Final Thoughts

If you’re traveling light, using the on-site airport train station and taking either the Amtrak or MARC into Washington, D.C., is the easiest and cheapest option. Between both lines, you’ll find several trains an hour and often will be in the city within an hour, depending on the train’s schedule. If you can’t take a train, you can use ride-shares, taxis, and hired cars, though these will all be more expensive to get to D.C.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is Uber from BWI to Washington, D.C.?

You can expect to pay around $70, exclusive of gratuity, from BWI to Washington, D.C. If you’re traveling in a peak period, the fares can be significantly higher.

How to get from Baltimore airport to D.C.?

The easiest — and fastest way — to get from BWI to Washington, D.C., is taking the free bus to the airport rail station and then hopping on an Amtrak or MARC train, which can easily cost under $10 and won’t be impacted by traffic.

How much is a taxi from BWI to D.C.?

It costs approximately $90 to travel from BWI to D.C. by taxi, though taxis are metered, and the price you pay can be wildly different depending on road and traffic conditions.

How much is the train from Baltimore to D.C.?

Amtrak trains start at $5 from BWI Airport rail station to Washington, D.C., and using a MARC train will cost you $8.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.


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