Jennifer Pickett 804-786-7432, 804-221-1853
Joan Morris 571-238-5030
Corinne Geller 804-674-2789

Jan. 12, 2009

Virginia provides free bus service to Metrorail on Jan. 20, 2009

RICHMOND - The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), Virginia State Police and Virginia Department of Transportation today announced that transit details are now available for people traveling through Virginia to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 2009.

Since personal vehicles are restricted from traveling from Virginia into Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day, motorists planning to drive or carpool to the event must use an alternative form of transportation to enter the city.
Virginia has the following public transportation options available for access into Washington on Jan. 20, 2009:

  • Reserve a ticket on Virginia Railway Express (VRE) or Amtrak for service into Washington, D.C., and drive to the appropriate rail station.

  • Drive to a Northern Virginia Metrorail station and take Metrorail into the city.

  • Drive to a local bus stop that offers free service to Metrorail.
  • Drive to a local bus stop that offers free shuttle service to a pedestrian bridge.

  • Drive to a park-and-ride lot to be served by transit and take a shuttle bus to Metrorail.
  • Hire a taxi or other for-hire vehicle for service into the city.

  • Reserve a seat on a charter bus

Metrorail, VRE and Amtrak are the primary transportation choices for travel from Virginia to Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day.

A key feature of the commonwealth’s plan is that all Virginia bus routes that serve Metrorail stations will provide free service for the day.

“Providing free bus service to Metrorail will make travel easier and encourage more people to take advantage of Virginia’s transit options on Inauguration Day. The normal flow of transportation into Washington, D.C., has been adjusted for Jan. 20 to help accommodate a significant increase in traffic, so it’s important for travelers to review the choices available, create a detailed plan and stay tuned for transportation updates as we get closer to the event,” said DRPT Chief of Public Transportation Corey Hill.

Bus Service and Metrorail Options

Virginia transit operators will operate service on Inauguration Day, but many systems will have a modified schedule.

For transportation into Washington, D.C., bus operators will primarily provide service to Metrorail stations, where travelers can transfer to Metrorail for transportation into the city.

Some operators are also providing bus service to bridges that are accessible for pedestrians to walk into the District.

The Memorial, Chain and Key bridge will be open for pedestrian and bike access on Jan. 20.

Bus service will also be provided to Metrorail from designated park-and-ride lots in Northern Virginia.

Motorists traveling to park-and-ride lots are encouraged to carpool to maximize parking availability and to help manage highway congestion near the lots.

Lots will fill up quickly, so plan to arrive early. Some transit operators will begin operating service as early as 4 a.m. on Jan. 20.

Not all park-and-ride lots will be served by transit on Inauguration Day. Contact transit operators to confirm service availability.

All Virginia bus routes that serve Metrorail stations, pedestrian access points and park-and-ride lots in Northern Virginia will be free on Inauguration Day.

For those who must drive to access transit, parking is limited and available on a first-come first-serve basis.

In addition, Metrobus is offering shuttle bus service from Virginia directly into Washington, D.C. for a fare of $5 for the day, payable through cash or a SmarTrip card.

Metrorail will operate between 4 a.m. on Jan. 20 and 2 a.m. on Jan. 21, with rush hour service between 4 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Inauguration Day.

Metrorail will charge peak fare during rush hour service and standard fare at other times. Visit for additional information.
Listings for Northern Virginia transit operators by locality and designated park-and-ride lots are available online at

Hours of operation, schedules and routes may vary by transit operator. Please visit operator Web sites or contact transit operators by phone for detailed information.

Passenger Rail Options

VRE will initiate service routes into Washington, D.C., at 5:05 a.m. and will initiate return trip trains at 1:30 p.m. on Inauguration Day.

Tickets are available through mail-order only and must be reserved in advance.

No one will be permitted to purchase VRE tickets at VRE stations on Inauguration Day.

Visit for additional information.

Currently, Amtrak trains from Virginia to Washington, D.C., that will serve the Inauguration Day events are sold out. Tickets may become available as reservations change. Visit for additional information.

Planning Ahead

Creating a personal transportation plan is essential to ensure the safest and most efficient travel experience in the Northern Virginia region on Inauguration Day.

Travelers should take the following steps to create a transportation plan:

  • Consider the transportation choices and choose the best option.

  • Visit the transit/rail operator Web site or call to determine schedules, routes and fares.
  • Create an itinerary with route numbers/names, pick-up locations and times, fares, transfer locations and drop-off locations for both your destination and return trip.

  • Determine the round-trip fare (if applicable) and follow the transit/rail operator’s instructions for fare collection. For example, some services require exact change.

  • Consult transit/rail operator guidelines regarding acceptable carry-on items.

  • Check the transit/rail operator Web site frequently for changes and adjust your itinerary accordingly.

Those in the Northern Virginia region not attending Inauguration activities should anticipate and plan for significant traffic congestion and delays.

Those needing to travel are encouraged to also seek alternate means of transportation or alternate traffic routes.

Local Web sites should be checked in advance for city and county road closures and traffic restrictions.

Employers in the Capitol region are encouraged to consider offering telework, flex time and/or other leave options for their employees on Jan. 20.

More Virginia-specific Inauguration information is available on the Virginia State Police Web site at


Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012