Washington DC Metro
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A Guide to Dog-Friendly Transportation in Washington, D.C.

Welcome to our nation’s capital! Washington, DC is incredibly dog-friendly, and that includes their public transportation. Public transportation in DC is not only convenient, but it’s cheap.

We break down different modes of public transport in Washington, DC so you’ll know which ones will welcome your furry friend. Here are their policies and regulations, so you’re sure to enjoy your ride. Here we go!

Washington DC Metro
a title card saying trains

The DC Metro

The Washington Metro (or simply Metro), formally known as the Metrorail, is the best option for underground transport in DC. It’s administered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and includes six lines, 91 stations, and 117 miles of route.

The Metro serves the District of Columbia, as well as several neighboring communities in the States of Maryland and Virginia. It’s the second-busiest rapid transit system in the United States, after New York, so prepare for crowds!

Luckily, the Metro allows dogs, as long as they’re in a pet carrier.

According to the WMATA, their pet policy is as follows:

Service animals that assist people with disabilities are the only animals permitted to ride unconfined on Metrorail and Metrobus. However, a pet may be transported on Metrorail and Metrobus, provided it is carried aboard in a secure container from which it cannot escape. 

So, grab a pet carrier and hop on the Metro!

Washington, D.C. metro map.
Illustration by Paul Spella.
a title card saying bus

The DC Metrobus

The Metrobus is DC’s bus service. It’s also operated by the WMATA, and its fleet consists of 1,595 buses covering an area of 1,500 square miles in Washington, DC,  Maryland and Virginia. There are 269 bus routes serving 11,129 stops! That’s a lot of buses.

The DC Metrobus has the same policy as the Metro: dogs are allowed, as long as they’re in a pet carrier.

The DC Circulator

The DC Circulator provides public transportation to the District’s main attractions and most lively neighborhoods. The best part? It only costs $1 to ride!

The system consists of six routes across Washington, DC, and into Rosslyn, VA. The Circulator services each stop every 10 minutes, so it’s not only affordable, but fast. It’s a great option if you’re looking to see DC’s most popular areas and attractions. The buses are spacious, and they all feature bright-red paint and easy-to-spot signs, so you really can’t miss them.

Luckily, pets can ride too! The DC Circulator pet policy is:

Yes, service animals are allowed on Circulator buses without a crate or container. Pets are also allowed to board the DC Circulator. However, all pets must be contained in a crate or container specifically manufactured for the safe transport of animals and must remain contained and restrained for the entire duration of the trip.

The DC Circulator Map

Travel tip: if you’re going to be accessing DC’s public transportation, then get a SmarTrip! SmarTrip is a centralized payment method that covers all Metrorail stations in DC, Maryland and Virginia, Metro parking garages and lots, Metrobus routes, MTA, and partner regional bus providers. Either get the SmarTrip plastic card, or download the app for mobile pay.

Riding a streetcar

DC Streetcar

The DC Streetcar made its triumphant return to the District in 2016. The streetcar, originally from the 1880s, runs through the H Street NE/Benning Corridor. It’s easy, convenient, and totally free to ride. Plus, they offer a streetcar tracker and schedules to help you plan your ride.

The DC Streetcar pet policy is:

Yes, service animals are allowed on the streetcar without a crate or container. Pets are also allowed to board; however, all pets must be contained in a crate or container specifically manufactured for the safe transport of animals and must remain contained and restrained for the entire duration of the trip.

Yup, that means both you and your dog (in a carrier) can ride the streetcar for free.

More lines are currently in the pipeline, so it’s safe to say the streetcar’s revival was a success.

Riding a bike

Capital Bikeshare

Capital Bikeshare is metro DC’s bikeshare system, with more than 4,300 bikes available at 500 stations. There are stations, of course, in Washington, DC, but you can also find them in Arlington, VA; Alexandria, VA; Montgomery County, MD; Prince George’s County, MD; Fairfax County, VA; and the City of Falls Church, VA.

If you’re up for biking, and your dog is ready to run alongside or ride in a backpack, then Capital Bikeshare is an inexpensive and convenient option. Their bikes are available for use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They even offer e-bikes!

You can either order single rides through the Lyft app, Capital Bikeshare mobile app, or at any station kiosk. Or, if you’re planning to bike more often during your visit, purchase a 24-Hour day pass or a 30 day membership.

Have you been to Washington, D.C. with your dog? Let us know in the comments!


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A Guide to Dog-Friendly Transportation in Washington, D.C.

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2 Comments

  1. Amazing post with great recommendations, thank you so much for this information.
    I have been in Washington DC twice and just visited the Lincoln monument, the Obelisk, the Smithsonian, and I can’t remember if I went anywhere else but now I see there is so much more to get to know!

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