Traffic and transit changes to expect on Columbus Day

The D.C. area will see a number of traffic and transit changes Monday due to Columbus Day. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)

WASHINGTON — There are a number of traffic and transit changes Monday due to Columbus Day, even as many private sector workers report as usual.


Drivers do not need to feed parking meters Monday in the District, Arlington or Alexandria. However, Montgomery County does charge for parking as usual on Columbus Day.

Drivers in D.C. also do not need to worry about street sweeping restrictions or residential parking rules, but parking rules are always enforced along the H Street corridor for cars that get in the path of the DC Streetcar.

Reversible roads and HOV rules

Roads that typically have reversible lanes on weekdays operate in weekend mode on federal holidays such as Columbus Day. That includes Rock Creek Parkway, Connecticut Avenue and Canal Road.

HOV rules are lifted on all standard HOV lanes in the region, except for Route 50 and Interstate 270 in Maryland, where rules apply 24/7. That includes no HOV requirements Monday for the stretch of Interstate 395 HOV lanes outside of the Express Lanes.

The Express Lanes in the Interstate 95 corridor and on the Beltway in Virginia never lift HOV requirements of three or more people in order to get a free ride, but tolls could be lower than a usual weekday for other drivers if there is lighter traffic in the lanes.


The Metrorail system opens at 5 a.m. and closes at midnight like a typical weekday, but trains are scheduled for less often. Riders can expect trains every six to 12 minutes during daytime hours, Metro said. There are no Yellow Line “rush plus” trains scheduled between Franconia-Springfield and Greenbelt, so riders will have to use regular Blue or Yellow Line service.

The upside for commuters is that off-peak fares are in effect all day and parking at Metro garages is free.

The long-running 24/7 single-tracking zone continues Monday through Vienna and Dunn Loring. Riders may have to wait up to 24 minutes for a shuttle train to West Falls Church. The rest of the Orange Line is not scheduled to be impacted by track work.

Metrobus runs on a Saturday supplemental schedule on Columbus Day, which means a number of weekday routes do not run at all, even along major corridors. Riders should be sure to check the schedule for specific routes they ride.

MetroAccess paratransit service is running, but subscription trips are canceled. Other paratransit service in the region, like Arlington’s STAR service, also cancels subscription trips on Columbus Day.

Commuter rail

MARC trains will run on all three lines Monday, but only on an “R” schedule. This is the limited schedule for holidays and severe weather events that replaced the old “S” schedule.

VRE trains do not run on Columbus Day.

Note: The Light Rail stations at BWI Marshall Airport and the BWI Marshall Airport Business District are closed for track work until Tuesday morning, with shuttle buses running at those two stations. That does not impact MARC or Amtrak service.

Commuter bus

Maryland’s MTA Commuter Bus routes do not run on Columbus Day, with the exception of Route 201 to and from BWI Marshall Airport. That route runs on a weekend schedule.

In Virginia, PRTC’s Omniride buses also do not operate on Columbus Day this year. However, Metro Direct, OmniLink local buses and cross county connector service in the Prince William County area run on regular schedules.

Loudoun County Transit Commuter Bus service runs limited service into Rosslyn, Crystal City and D.C., as well as limited service to and from the Wiehle-Reston East and West Falls Church Metro stations.

No Loudoun County buses run Monday to or from St. Andrew, Telos, Ashburn North, Christian Fellowship Church, Brambleton or Dulles South, and there is no midday service to Loudoun County from inside the Beltway. The Ashburn LINK Shuttle service is not running.

Local bus agencies

Fairfax Connector will run holiday weekday service, which means some weekday routes do not run. In addition to the regular holiday schedule, Fairfax Connector is also running the special Vienna-Pentagon rush-hour express route that is in place during this six-week Orange Line work zone.

The City of Fairfax’s CUE bus runs a regular schedule on Columbus Day.

Montgomery County’s Ride On will run on a normal weekday schedule.

Prince George’s County’s TheBus Route 51, which serves the County Administration Building, does not operate Monday. Routes that do run Monday include 11, 12, 13, 14, 15X, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 21X, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 35S, 36, 37 and 53.

Frederick County’s TransIT system will adjust Meet-the-MARC service based on the “R” train schedule, but all other TransIT service will run on regular schedules.

In Alexandria, DASH will run on a Saturday schedule. The King Street Trolley operates as usual.

In Arlington, ART routes 41, 42, 43, 45, 51, 55, 77, and 87 will operate Saturday schedules. No other ART routes will run.

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