Some old friends have been following my move here and are interested in making the move (from Silver Spring), but wonder if they can manage living here with only one car or eventually no car. Good question, so I consulted several frequent users of public transportation, and thanks to Matt Johnson, Mary Denise Smith and Wendy Osborne for their valuable suggestions for this article. My conclusion for talking to them and others is that living car-less in Greenbelt isn’t just doable; it’s easy. Here are the transportation services at our disposal:
Buses for Everyone
Metrobus G12 seems to be a favorite, running Monday – Saturday. From Roosevelt Center to the Greenbelt Metro Station, takes less than 10 minutes. Along its route are also the New Carrollton station, Doctors Hospital, the post office, Roosevelt High, Greenway, Greenbelt Elementary, and Capitol Office Park. Here’s the schedule. On weekdays, the G12 runs every 60 minutes throughout the day, and every 30 minutes during peak hours. On Saturdays, it runs every 60 minutes.
Metrobus G13/G14/G16: Despite having 3 numbers, this is one line. The different numbers reflect different service patterns. The G14 is the primary route. It runs from New Carrollton station (MARC, Amtrak, Orange Line) to Greenbelt station (MARC, Green Line). Along the way, it serves DuVal High, Goddard Corporate Park, NASA Goddard, Cipriano Square, Roosevelt High, Greenway Center, Old Greenbelt, Golden Triangle Office Park, and Beltway Plaza.
The G14 runs from New Carrollton to Greenbelt via Goddard Corporate Park and Beltway Plaza. It runs AFTER the end of the morning rush through the end of the evening rush. The G13 is the same as the G14 EXCEPT that it skips Beltway Plaza in the early mornings before the mall is open. It runs during the morning rush. The G16 is the same as the G14 EXCEPT that it skips Goddard Corporate Park after the end of the evening rush hour. It runs on Saturdays as well.
Together, the G13/G14/G16 runs every 60 minutes throughout the day and every 30 minutes during peak hours. On Saturday, the G16 runs every 60 minutes.
Metrobus R11/R12 is one route. The R11 skips Beltway Plaza in the mornings before the mall opens. The R12 runs at all other times. It runs from Greenbelt station (MARC, Green Line) to Deanwood station (Orange Line). Along the way it serves Springhill Lake Elementary, Greenbelt Middle School, Beltway Plaza, Westchester Park condos, and down Kenilworth Avenue to Deanwood. It runs every 60 minutes throughout the day and every 30 minutes during peak hours. It runs every 60 minutes on Saturday.
I’m told the answer to all bus-subway-travel planning is the excellent, user-friendly Metro Trip Planner for anyone in the WMATA system.
Fare and how to pay: Cash (exact change) or Smart Card, and one can add $$ to the SmartCard on the Metro busses (cash only, I think), something Metro is pushing. Senior discounts begin at 65. Regular fares: $1.60 using a SmarTrip® card, $1.80 using cash, 80¢ (using Senior SmarTrip® card) and 90¢ (using cash, with proper ID) for seniors and people with disabilities. Express bus fare is $3.65 with smartTrip card or $4/cash; $1.80 for seniors/disabled.
PG County’s “TheBus”
TheBus operates M-F only, 6:30 am-7 pm. It’s free for seniors, the disabled, and “first child under 5″ and $1.25 for everyone else. Exact change required or use SmartCard. Click here for all the routes but in brief, B11 serves Old Greenbelt, making a loop through East Greenbelt that takes 30 minutes. WMATA’s trip planner includes this county system.
TheBus 11 runs from Greenbelt station (MARC, Green Line) to Greenbelt East. Along the way, it serves the Federal Courthouse, Old Greenbelt, Greenway Center, the Greenbelt Post Office, and Roosevelt High School. It runs weekdays only, every 30 minutes throughout the day.
TheBus 16 runs from Greenbelt station (MARC, Green Line) to New Carrollton station (MARC, Amtrak Orange Line). Along the way it serves Springhill Lake Elementary, Beltway Plaza (Giant side), Berwyn Heights, Golden Triangle Office Park, Greenway Center, Doctors Hospital, and New Carrollton Library. It does NOT serve Old Greenbelt. It runs every 60 minutes throughout the day and every 30 minutes during peak hours.
TheBus 15X is an express route. It runs from Greenbelt station to New Carrollton station, stopping only at NASA Goddard. It does not make any local stops in Greenbelt. It runs every 40 minutes, during peak hours ONLY.
Comment: “A BIG plus? The drivers for TheBus are courteous and when they get to know you, will exchange pleasantries when you board! I ride TheBus #11 from Laurel Hill Road/Hillside to the Metro Station, and from the Metro to either that stop or Roosevelt Center. If I am quick in the Co-op, I can catch the same bus on its return loop, which has become a bit of a joke with a couple of the drivers.”
Greenbelt Connection – Cheap Bus Rides, even on Sundays
The City of Greenbelt operates Greenbelt Connection, a limited transportation service within Greenbelt utilizing a 12-passenger, wheelchair accessible van. Service is available to all residents of Greenbelt. To arrange for transportation call 301-474-4100 at least 24 hours before you need a ride. Operates M-F from 8 a.m. to 3:30 pm. Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. No operation on holidays. The cost is $1 for seniors, the disabled and kids 6-18, free for kids under 6, and $2 for everyone else.
U. Maryland Shuttle
Any Greenbelt resident can use this shuttle service if they buy an annual pass for $10. The route is from NASA to the university center and “takes forever” but it’s “damn cheap” in the opinion of one user, and operates weekends. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Click here for the schedule to Greenbelt, and ignore any warning on the website about having to show the driver your university ID. Greenbelt residents are provided service by agreement between the city and the university.
B30 Bus to the Airport
This is touted as one of the best things about living here, so I’ve promised to try it the next time I fly out of BWI. It runs approximately every 40 minutes and goes nonstop from the Greenbelt Metro to the terminal, which I figure is faster than dealing with shuttle buses to long-term parking, right? And it only costs $6 each way, cash or SmartCard. Here’s the schedule.
For the Disabled AND people over 60:
Call-a-Cab 1/2 Price
Coupons for 1/2-off taxi rides are available for the disabled and seniors (60+). It takes weeks to get the coupons, so users suggest buying enough for quite a while (e.g., $50 for $100 worth of travel). The coupons don’t expire. Additional passenger pay just $1 extra unless they’re 60 or older or under 6 years old. There’s a $3 snow emergency charge. Questions? They’ll provide service within the county or from the county to outside the county. Companies using this program are Barwood Taxicab Co. and Taxi Taxi. Call 301-883-5656 or go to this website to buy the coupons.
One of my public-transit commenters had never heard of this, though she qualifies. So, happy to help spread the word!
GIVES (Greenbelt Intergenerational Volunteer Exchange Service) arranges for volunteers to provide all sorts of services to the “frail and disabled of all ages, as well as the elderly” – including rides. Call 301-507-6580 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only for the Disabled:
This is a demand-response curb-to-curb service. Service is available to all residents of Prince George’s County who are not served by or cannot use existing bus or rail services. However, priority is given to senior and persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities must provide their own escort, if needed. Service animals are allowed for the visually impaired. More info here.
MetroAccess is a shared-ride, door-to-door, paratransit service for people whose disability prevents them from using bus or rail. If you think you may need paratransit service, see our eligibility requirements. More info here.
Gaps – More Service Needed?
- Because there’s no county bus service to Roosevelt Center on Sundays, people can’t get to our Farmers Market.
- One user reports being unable to get to IKEA or Behnkes!
- There’s no way to get to MOM’s without a significant hike from a bus stop.
- Another commenter writers “Neither TheBus nor Metro bus makes any effort to coordinate their efforts. Metro busses will pull away even when TheBus driver is flashing their lights and honking to tell them they have a (paying!) passenger.
- Scroll down to the comment from Erica!
Greenbelt by Bike?
That’s worthy of its own blog post, and a cycling expert to author it. And that’s coming soon – from Jeff Lemieux.