What Will the Travel Times Be on the Silver Line?

September 20th, 2013

The stations on the new Silver Line are two minutes apart in the Tysons area, and the Tysons-area stations are eight minutes away from both East Falls Church and Wiehle-Reston East.


Draft travel times for the new Silver Line stations.

Earlier this year we published a series of posts about the region’s newest rail line, the Silver Line, due to begin service in early 2014. Those posts included answering the questions, “Where will it go?“, “What will happen to rail schedules?“, and “What will happen to bus schedules?“.

Now it’s time to talk about preliminary travel times between Silver Line stations. The map above illustrates the estimated travel times between the five new stations. These times are preliminary and may be refined after operational testing has been completed.

Below is a widget that can be used to look up the travel times between any two stations, including the five new Silver Line stations.*


Origin Station Destination

This preliminary data is also available for download in an O/D table format. (XLS, 73K)

Will you be using the new Silver Line? How do these travel times compare with your current commute? Let us know in the comments.

* Note on travel time calculations: travel times were calculated assuming peak period conditions and include 5 minutes for transfers. Actual travel times may be lower.

Related Posts:

  1. Lee McElrath
    September 21st, 2013 at 18:25 | #1

    39 minutes from Reston to Farragut West would be faster than my normal downtown commute which during school can be 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  2. Andrew Chapman
    September 27th, 2013 at 12:05 | #2

    This travel time from Wiehle to Silver Spring (67 min), or vice-versa, is about 10-15 minutes more than in a car, comparing a typical driving rush-hour to a typical Metro rush-hour. I’m speaking for a VA-to-MD morning and MD-to-VA evening commute. This Metro time will typically be much more advantageous for people doing the opposite

    The mystery factor will be including the time on the Fairfax Connector bus to/from Wiehle and the transfer time between bus and Metro. Adding these in, it’s quite likely the Silver Line trip will end up taking much longer than driving — however, on the plus side, it’s far less likely for there to be a major delay as with the driving route, when a bad commute can hit 90 minutes.

    One bummer, however, relates to cost — currently this route is about $6.50 total each way for bus plus train. Now, with the bus still being necessary but the train ride being more expensive, it looks like the total will run to around $8.50-9.00 each way (based on the Wiehle-downtown DC fare being $5.75 as reported).

  3. Howard Marks
    September 30th, 2013 at 10:20 | #3

    I am still confused about the bus connection at Wiehle-Reston East to Dulles. I have heard of a Fairfax Connector bus, but I don’t know if it makes intermediate stops, the fare, operating hours or how long it will take to reach the airport. Also what about heavy luggage storage. Ditto for the Washington Flyer bus. There is no mention of a Metrobus connection, either.

    Please help explain the new setup….thanks…

  4. Andrew Chapman
    September 30th, 2013 at 10:32 | #4

    @Howard Marks — Here’s the Fairfax Connector page on the 981 bus that’ll run between Dulles and the Wiehle Station:
    Looks to me like the only intermediate stops will be Reston Town Center (going toward the airport) and Herndon-Monroe Transit Center (coming from the airport), but I’m not sure. Last I heard, the fare will be the same as the 981 now.

    FYI, here’s the Fairfax Connector page with all the Silver Line bus plans — http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/routes/silverline/

  5. Michael
    September 30th, 2013 at 10:44 | #5

    Also: here are metro’s ideas for the 5A.


    No decisions have been made yet.

  6. Timothy Adkins
    October 11th, 2013 at 12:32 | #6

    It’s ashame that the commuting times is going to be longer if I use the silver line vs private car.

  7. Wayne P.
    October 30th, 2013 at 15:34 | #7

    Excellent information. As is, it appears that my door-to-desk will be 150% of what it is now, +/- depending on the Connector. That means, however, that I’ll have all that time to read (or nap) and not have to deal with GWMP/I-66/Toll Road/other drivers. I claim that as a win!

  8. Bill
    November 23rd, 2013 at 11:55 | #8

    1. I wish the Silver line went “ALL the way” to the Dulles Airport. 2. Not happy about having metro 12 minutes apart on Blue line when Silver opens. Adding more cars does not make it better unfortunately.

  9. Howard Marks
    November 24th, 2013 at 20:05 | #9

    @Bill The Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority also wanted rail to Dulles to build all at the same time, but lost the debate. We are very lucky the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors approved the Reston to Ashburn segment via Dulles funding proposal by one vote.

  10. Michael Grant
    December 2nd, 2013 at 23:08 | #10

    It looks like the Silver Line will provide limited travel time benefits compared to the Fairfax Connector buses that run from Reston along the airport access road to West Falls Church, but at significantly higher costs to transit riders. I currently commute by transit from Reston to Farragut West using a Fairfax Connector bus to West Falls Church, where I transfer to Metrorail, and pay $4.85 each way ($3.75 Metrorail peak fare + $1.10 bus transfer). I understand that Metrorail fare from Wiehle Ave-Reston to Farragut West will be the max fare of $5.75 each way. Add a $1.10 bus connection, and this becomes $6.85 each way, or $2 more each way. Essentially, the new Silver Line adds $4 per day to Reston commuters – a 40% increase in commuting costs — with little or no time savings if taking bus to rail. If parking at the new Wiehle Ave station, commute costs go up even more. I read that Fairfax County will be implementing some free shuttles to the metro stations in Tysons. Why won’t they do this for the Wiehle Ave station in Reston? Also, it seems unfair for the WMATA fare structure to be based on distance traveled, without accounting for the service benefit. Traveling a few miles by Metro downtown during peak hours saves a lot of time compared to driving or a bus, but the long distance out from Reston to Tysons yields zero time savings compared to using a bus operating on the airport access road. Will WMATA consider this in revising its pricing?

  11. Andrew Chapman
    December 4th, 2013 at 13:42 | #11

    @Michael Grant
    Great point. I had the same thought about my future commute, but think the advantages will prevail. My concern is more for people who work low-income jobs who currently use the 950 and 980 Fairfax Connector buses. I know one guy who works at Safeway in Falls Church and lives in Herndon; his commute will now cost much more (relative to his income). A commute increase of $4 per day is a big deal for someone making $9 per hour. To add insult to injury, some of these people go west on the Metro to Dunn Loring or Vienna — which means they now will have to transfer at East Falls Church, adding several minutes to their trips.

    For people who’d like to (or need to) keep their costs down, I wish the Fairfax Connector would keep a route to West Falls Church — even if it’s less often.

    My hope is, once everything has rolled out, a lot will be tweaked — how could it not? There’s no way for everything to be anticipated.

  12. Shiva Chen
    December 13th, 2013 at 10:42 | #12

    Many riders will not be happy to find out they will lose their 555 bus service from Sunset Hills Park and Ride to West Falls Church (a 19 minutes ride). Please do not discontinue this service.

  13. Michael
    December 13th, 2013 at 11:46 | #13

    @Shiva Chen
    Hi, Shiva.

    The 555 bus is operated by Fairfax Connector. Please submit your request to them directly.

  14. Jerry Mahone
    December 17th, 2013 at 13:48 | #14

    It looks like Largo Town Center to Greensboro is 60 minutes. It will take me about 30 minutes to get to Largo Town Center. It will take about 5 minutes from Greensboro to work walking. That’s 95 minutes.

    Currently, my commute from Annapolis to the Tyson’s area is about 65-120 minutes. Obviously, a huge range. So, the Silver Line commute is roughly in the middle of this range. That’s not bad, considering that drive to the station is the easy part of my current commute, and that I get consistency and reading time on the train, with less wear and tear on the car.

  15. Terry
    January 2nd, 2014 at 09:42 | #15

    I was hoping the starting date would be more specific by this time (1/2/2014). The out of pocket cost will be about the same for me. The commute time will be better mostly because of the varience in driving time will decrease. For health reasons I had dropped the Fairfax Connector portion of the cummute several years ago. My biggest savings will be a significant decrease in the miles put on my vehicle each day.

  16. Howard Marks
    January 2nd, 2014 at 14:44 | #16

    When I commuted in from Dunn Loring-Merrifield on the Orange Line to downtown it wasn’t just a time issue. About half the time taking the I-66 HOV lanes were faster than Metrorail. The real issue was the quality of the ride. Leisurely reading the newspaper or office paper work with someone else doing the driving got my day off to a great start. Metro is truly the Rolls-Royce of public transportation despite all the criticisms you’ve read about.

  17. Nic
    January 21st, 2014 at 22:15 | #17

    My daily commute now consists of two buses and one Metrorail stop.

    This new Silver Line fare from Wiehle will actually DOUBLE what I pay now, and that’s just one way. I guess the whole trip will actually QUADRUPLE.

    I am limited on driving because of a permanent medical condition, so I really depend on public transit.

    I feel extremely frustrated that it seems that I cannot choose my choice of transit. From what I have been able to read, all buses will now drop of their riders at Wiehle, forcing the rider to take the more expensive Metrorail.

    If I am mistaken, and this statement is incorrect, please someone, let me know. I am stressing with the possibility of having to quadruple my costs.

    Thank you.

  18. Michael
    January 22nd, 2014 at 10:44 | #18

    Hi, Nic:

    Please let me know what your current commute is and I will research your current and future transit options including fares. Post your origin and destination here or in an email reply to me.



  19. Ida
    January 27th, 2014 at 10:06 | #19

    @Wayne P.
    there is the option of using the weekly bus and train passes. the bus pass costs $16 per week and the train pass costs $57.50 per week. this will save money and get you a full month of unlimited travel as opposed to the monthly train pass at just over $230 a month for only 28 days of rail service. i went this route when i was traveling from east falls church to rockville 6 days a week. it was nice not having to worry about running out of money while traveling.

  20. PJ
    January 30th, 2014 at 10:35 | #20

    Imagine the time you will have reading a book or using the Internet. It will give you some time to decompress as opposed to sitting in a car and staring at tailpipes. @Andrew Chapman

  21. Howard Marks
    January 30th, 2014 at 15:39 | #21

    I agree with Andrew–Before we moved downtown we commuted on the Orange Line from Merrifield-Dunn Loring to either McPherson Square or Federal Triangle. Driving was almost always 10-15 faster, but stressful. On the train, we read and talked and had a relaxing start to our day.

  22. M Lec
    March 9th, 2014 at 16:28 | #22

    Have a son who is interning at PWC in Tysons Corner and staying at GWU Foggy Bottom Campus from June, 2014 through mid Aug. Understand the Silver Line won’t be up and running in June. Can you give me details of his best commute options.

  23. Andrew Chapman
    March 10th, 2014 at 09:07 | #23

    @M Lec
    The most likely answer is that he’ll take the Orange Line from the Foggy Bottom station to the Ballston station, where he’ll transfer to the 23A bus to Tysons (which stops less than a quarter-mile from PWC). The more accurate answer is that he’ll want to go to the Metro trip-planner tool and plug in his exact timing, which may result in taking a different route (for example, staying on the subway to West Falls Church and connecting to a bus there). This is also true for his commute home. If he’ll be flexible in his schedule, he’ll want to play around with the trip-planner options, since the commute can range from about 55 minutes to 75 minutes.
    The trip-planner tool is at:

  24. Low Headways
    May 29th, 2014 at 14:49 | #24

    “travel times were calculated assuming peak period conditions and include 5 minutes for transfers. Actual travel times may be lower.”

    By which you mean much, much higher? With your unacceptably long headways during most of your revenue service?

    With the poor frequency of weekend trains (and other “offpeak” times), one can easily spend more than half of their journey just waiting for a train to service the platform. It’s ridiculous and you guys seriously need to address that.

  25. Howard Marks
    May 30th, 2014 at 14:13 | #25

    You need to load the “Next Train” App on your PDA. It’s awesome–it gives you the arrival times for Metro trains at every station in the system. There is no need to waste time waiting on the platform during off-peak hours with this app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jazzmoonstewdio.android.dcmetro.activity

  26. Michael
    May 30th, 2014 at 14:16 | #26

    @Howard Marks
    Thanks for the feedback, Howard. Also note that WMATA’s mobile website at http://wmata.com has a “next train” feature as well!

Comments are closed.