Public Transport Long Island to DC

I’ve got a cousin at Bellehaven in Upton, N.Y., who wants to make a trip to D.C. over Memorial Day weekend. What’s the easiest way for someone who doesn’t drive to make such a trip?

Amtrak runs to Union Station, which is right on the DC Metrorail (subway) system.

The Greyhound bus terminal is a few blocks north of Union Station.

There are also cheap busses between the DC and NYC Chinatown districts.

The easiest way is for your cousin to take the Long Island Rail Road to Penn Station and from there take Amtrak to DC. There are also cheap bus lines that run from the Penn Station area to DC, some of which can be foundhere.

Take the LIRR to Penn Station, then take Amtrak to DC. It’s but a few steps away.

Peter Pan from the Port Authority if you’re on the cheap.

The commuter rail technique:

LIRR to Penn Station, NJT to Philadelphia 30th Street Station, SEPTA to Wilmington, Amtrak to Baltimore, then MARC to DC Union Station.

(As far as I could find, there’s no public-transit rail service from Wilmington to Baltimore.)

Just a note about this…it will be cheaper than Amtrak, but will take MUCH longer. I’d image this would take 8 hours or more.

When I was really poor I did the commute rail route from JFK airport to Philadelphia via the subway and NJ Transit and it took me over 5 hours.

How does the cost of Amtrak compare to the cost of the air shuttle from LaGuardia?

I commuted from New York to DC every weekend for 2-ish years, in the early 1990s. Obviously my price info is quite out of date, but back then, the airfare cost roughly 2-3 times as much for a round trip, IF I took the cheap trains rather than the Metroliners. The planes were about 140 one way (full-fare) and train fair was about 90 bucks round trip (IIRC).

If weather was nice, the planes were much faster. For some reason, however, the weather was rarely nice on Friday evenings, and they didn’t save me time the majority of the time. I preferred the train.

I don’t know if the cheap trains still run. And the cheap fares were only certain hours. Similarly with the shuttle, you could get cheaper fares with the usual roundtrip purchase but you couldn’t fly those cheap fares during “prime” hours (e.g., Friday 6 PM). And the cheap trains weren’t reserved - which meant you stood (pun intended) good chance of being unable to sit down until Philadelphia.

Anyway, trains are the more reliable way to go, but I’d imagine it’s a trek to get into Penn Station from Long Island.

I think a better solution is good old Southwest Airlines.

Islip to BWI, and the fares are mighty cheap. Cheaper than Amtrak, even.

From BWI, you can get to Union Station in Washington DC on a MARC train for six bucks.

Look into it, and tell me if I’m wrong.

Well, not exactly wrong, but it’d be cheaper to take the Metro shuttle bus from BWI. Plus, the MARC doesn’t run on weekends.

So – Islip to BWI, Metrobus to Metro station, then Metro to wherever you want to go.

Well, I checked into it, and the really cheap fares are a little hard to chace, it being a holiday weekend and all.

The tickets on Southwest will run between 160 and 180 round trip. Not bad, and a definite option in my book. It will really save time and effort, since Islip is out on Long Island anyway.

It seems flights out of Islip are quite a bit more expensive than those out of LaGuardia. Maybe take the train to LaGuardia and fly from there?

That doesn’t seem bad for a round trip fare on a holiday weekend.

And taking the train clear into Penn Station , then getting to LaGuardia, might be worth it for the savings. But, it might not. It’s a big aggrivation to take if it only saves you 15 or 20 bucks on the fare.

The highest one way fare, Islip-BWI, is 79 bucks. Add in all fees, you’re looking at $180 round trip. And Islip is right out on Long Island, which is the starting point here.

Flying this short hop also beats hours in the train, unless you’re in the comfortable, fast trains. Unfortunately, they’ll run as much or more than the flight, and you’ll still have to get into NYC to catch them.

No trains run to LaG.

For ease of transfers, I’d vote for the LIRR-AmTrak run.