Bus Options for Blue Line Riders

June 24th, 2014

“If I’m a Blue Line rider in Virginia, what are my bus options once the Silver Line opens?”

16Y to McPherson Sq.

The 16Y to McPherson Sq.

We get asked this question quite a bit, and even more so now that the opening of the Silver Line is rapidly approaching.  As we have written about extensively on PlanItMetro, the start of service on the Silver Line will mean a reduction in the frequency of rush hour Blue Line trains.  Average headways will increase from 8.5 minutes to 12 minutes.  For most riders, once they arrive at a Blue Line platform their quickest ride will still be via train (even with an additional few minute wait), but there are numerous options for riders looking to switch from rail to bus or new riders looking to commute via bus.

Here are some of your best bus options if you are a Blue Line rider going to, or coming from:

Downtown DC

  • 7Y: Southern Towers to downtown DC.  Beginning August 24, the 7Y will be rerouted to pass within walking distance of these Blue Line stations:
    • Pentagon
    • Arlington Cemetery
    • Pentagon City (2 blocks)
    • Crystal City (2 blocks)
    • Farragut West
    • McPherson Square
  • 16X: Limited-stop service between Culmore and Federal Triangle.  Blue Line stations within walking distance:
    • Pentagon
    • L’Enfant Plaza
    • Smithsonian
    • Federal Triangle
    • Metro Center
  • 38B: Ballston to Farragut Square.  Blue Line stations within walking distance:
    • Rosslyn
    • Foggy Bottom
    • Farragut West
  • Other routes connecting Virginia to downtown DC:
    • 3Y: Lee Highway to McPherson Square
    • 11Y: Mt Vernon to Potomac Park (Express route)
    • 16Y: Barcroft to McPherson Square (MetroExtra limited-stop service)


  • 10R, 10S: Braddock Road to Rosslyn.  Blue Line stations within walking distance:
    • Braddock Road
    • Crystal City
    • Rosslyn
  • ART 43: Crystal City to Courthouse.  Blue Line stations within walking distance:
    • Crystal City
    • Rosslyn

Orange Line stations in Virginia

  • ART 42: Pentagon to Ballston via Clarendon and Virginia Square
  • 10B: Braddock Road to Ballston
  • 23B: Crystal City to Ballston
  • 25B: Van Dorn Street to Ballston
  • 28A: King Street to West Falls Church
  • 29N: King Street to Vienna
  • Fairfax Connector 401, 402: Franconia-Springfield to Dunn Loring

Related Posts:

  1. TimK
    June 24th, 2014 at 09:39 | #1

    The 38B isn’t going to help anybody who’s on the Blue Line in Virginia *and suffering from reduced headways*, because those people are all south of Rosslyn. It didn’t make any sense to include that bus here.

  2. Low Headways
    June 24th, 2014 at 10:26 | #2

    Are any of these bus headways improved? Or is the choice between waiting a ridiculous 12 minutes for a train or an absurd 30 minutes for a bus?

    • Jonathan
      June 26th, 2014 at 09:42 | #3

      I don’t have the prior schedules handy, but here is a sample of the inbound rush hour headways:
      7Y: 3 – 10 minutes
      16X: about 12 – 15 minutes
      11Y: about 15 – 20 minutes
      16Y: 6 – 15 minutes

  3. Alanne
    June 26th, 2014 at 10:43 | #4

    Why is there no bus between Pentagon and Foggy Bottom? It seems like 1/4 to 1/3 of the passengers on the Blue line exit at Foggy Bottom and the 38B does nothing for those who enter south of Ballston. Pentagon is a major bus transfer station and yet there has never been any mention of having a bus from there to Foggy Bottom. Neither the 7Y nor the 38B is a viable solution.

  4. William
    June 26th, 2014 at 10:59 | #5

    What about off-peak bus service between Rosslyn and Pentagon City? Otherwise we’re stuck with shopping at Ballston Common.

  5. Willow
    June 26th, 2014 at 13:51 | #6

    I am stunned that WMATA offers zero bus alternatives for anyone in Alexandria to get to the western part of the District.

    Why not run an express bus from Braddock Road to Foggy Bottom? Or similar?

  6. Scott
    June 26th, 2014 at 13:58 | #7

    @Alanne : When the 7Y is rerouted on August 24th it will pass within 3 or 4 blocks of Foggy Bottom.

    @William : The impact to Blue Line riders is only during the peak period. Off-peak headways will remain the same as they are today for the Blue Line.

    @Willow : Please take a look at the routing and timetable for the 11Y.

  7. Alanne
    June 26th, 2014 at 14:24 | #8

    The 7Y will be 4 blocks south of Foggy Bottom. I currently exit and FB and go another 5 blocks north. For those of us heading north from FB, having a mile to a mile + walk from the bus isn’t a good alternative. Especially so in mid-summer or mid-winter.

  8. Charles
    June 27th, 2014 at 14:06 | #9

    So there really won’t be any “rush hour” service on the Blue Line, so does that mean no “peak service” fair?

  9. Sarah
    June 30th, 2014 at 15:45 | #10

    Where can we see the new route for the 7y to determine whether it will be a helpful alternative to the blue line for those of us traveling from Shirlington to Farragut West?

  10. Scott
    July 1st, 2014 at 09:38 | #11

    @Sarah In the next few weeks, Metro will be distributing information to 7 line riders explaining the new routing including maps and detailed descriptions. You will be able to take the 7Y directly to Farragut Square from Shirlington.

    Starting August 24, here is the new routing for the 7Y:

    From Virginia to Downtown DC:
    The 7Y will run along its current route from Southern Towers to the U.S. State Department.
    After the U.S. State Department, the 7Y will turn north on 18th Street, east on K Street, and terminate at Mt. Vernon Square.

    From Downtown DC to Virginia:
    Route 7Y will begin at 9th and I (Eye) streets and travel west, mostly along I Street, to 19th Street then south on 19th Street to Constitution Ave. At Constitution Avenue and 19th Street, the 7Y will resume its current routing to the U.S. State Department, the Pentagon and Southern Towers.

  11. YT Karashinski
    August 12th, 2014 at 08:50 | #12

    Why not REINSTATE bus service at nights AND on the weekends from the Pentagon/Pentagon City to DC? The 13A and 13B ran 7 days a week — this was a great service to the customers, especially now with the endless Metro weekend construction which results in major train delays .

Comments are closed.