The District Department of Transportation’s mission is to ensure efficient and safe mobility of motorcoaches traveling in the District of Columbia while mitigating community impacts and preserving transportation infrastructure. Motorcoach operators provide an important service for tourists and visitors that travel to Washington, DC. The following information provides important tips for motorcoach operators to ensure safety and create a memorable experience for tourists coming to the District to visit the nation’s historic capital. This information is also applicable for commuter bus and intercity bus operators and can be applied to school buses being used as tour buses for field trips.
If you have any questions regarding motorcoach operations in the District, please call the new Motorcoach and Group Tour Operators Hotline at 1-855-67-BUSES (28737).
Because conditions change frequently, we will attempt to keep this information up to date. If you notice any discrepancies, please contact DDOT at (202) 671-2226.
New user-friendly Motorcoach Operators Guide - DDOT, in collaboration with Destination DC and the Downtown DC BID has developed a new user friendly Motorcoach Operators Guide that can be downloaded and carried with drivers when operating in the District. Download a copy of the Guide here.
Diesel Idle Reduction Video - DDOT and our sister agency DDOE have produced a short video to inform commercial vehicle drivers about the idling laws in DC, and to enlist their help in our Diesel Idle Reduction Campaign. To view the video, please click here. Please share this with your groups and friends and help spread the word. For more information, or to nominate a driver who exhibits positive idle reduction behavior for recognition, visit turnyourengineoff.org.
New Hotline for Motorcoach Drivers and Tour Operators - DDOT has collaborated with Destination DC to establish a new one-stop shop for all the information motorcoach and group tour operators need to know when planning trips to the nation's capital. From motorcoach parking, permitting and routing to itinerary planning, these information gateways can answer all your questions. The hotline will be in operation from 8:30am - 5:00pm EST, Monday - Friday. Simply call 1-855-67-BUSES (28737) to work with a travel expert!
DDOT Motorcoach Action Plan - DDOT has undertaken a comprehensive review of motorcoach operations in the District and developed a report which includes short term, mid-term and long term recommendations for the management of this activity. Read more
Memo for Motorcoach Operators 2012 - This memo provides important Summer 2012 information for motorcoach operators in Washington, DC including a map of parking and drop-off/pick-up locations in the city. Read more.
Tour Bus Parking Changes in East Potomac Park/Hains Point: - Effective June 30, 2011 - The National Park Service (NPS) is eliminating motorcoach parking along Ohio Drive in East Potomac Park. About a year ago, NPS adjusted the hours for parking along Ohio Drive to discourage commuter parking and promote visitor parking. This action has resulted in an unintended increase in tour bus parking along Ohio Drive causing safety concerns involving reduced visibility on narrow roads, safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, and other park users. Due to this change in tour bus parking, motorcoaches are encouraged to use the designated bus parking lot at the southern end of the park. In addition, motorcoach operators should prepare for this change in parking by being aware of the tour bus parking and loading/unloading along the National Mall and Memorial Parks. Tour bus loading/unloading is located in designated drop-off and pick-up zones that are indicated by appropriate signage throughout the park. Click here for a map and listing of these locations on NPS property and throughout Washington DC. More information is available on the National Mall and Memorial Parks webpage at www.nps.gov/nacc.
DDOT Proposes New Regulations for Intercity, Commuter, Sightseeing and Shuttle Buses. Read more.
District “Diesel Anti-Idling Campaign”. Read more.
Motorcoach Guide to Washington DC
The District Department of Transportation has developed a brief reference guide for motorcoach operators in an easy, printable format. We recommend that all motorcoach operators carry a copy of this guide when traveling to the District. View or print the pdf copy of this guide.
*To view DC Driving 101 – 10 simple rules for driving in the District – click here.
The District recognizes the important service that motorcoach operators provide to tourists and continues to work to ensure that adequate parking is available. This is an ongoing challenge however as there are many events occurring throughout the city on a daily basis and parking for buses is limited. It is important to know and follow traffic and parking regulations when operating in the city. Be aware of pedestrians and bicyclists, and read all signs before you park.
DC Motorcoach Parking Map and Drop-off/Pick-up Locations
The District Department of Transportation has identified all motorcoach parking and drop-off/pick-up spaces in the District. To view a map of motorcoach parking and drop-off/pick-up spaces, click here.
For a complete list of all motorcoach parking and drop-off/pick-up spaces in the District click here.
Arlington County, Virginia, has six tour bus zones with 44 parking spaces in areas convenient to local tourist attractions. These spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved. Click here for more information.
The City of Alexandria, Virginia, allows motorcoach parking at designated locations. Some spaces in historic Old Town Alexandria require a free parking permit which must be obtained in advance; paid short-term parking is also available. Additional free, unreserved parking locations are available within three miles of Old Town. Click here for more information.
District Parking Guidelines
High Impact Zones
Please check posted signs before parking since some short and long-term parking is subject to change.
All buses must turn their motors off when parked. This is city law enforced by the Metropolitan Police Department. The fine is up to $1000 for a violation.
Don't embark or disembark passengers in "Loading Zones" or at Metrobus stops.
Don't park in any area posted "No Parking" or "No Standing."
Don’t park adjacent to any residential property, school, playground, hospital, church or park. (A standing vehicle that is not loading or unloading passengers is considered to be “parked” regardless of whether the engine is on.) Fine for violation is $250.
Don't park in metered areas when the meters are in effect – unless the meters are designated for motorcoach parking.
No tour bus parking or standing on H Street, between Madison & 17th Street, NW.
Information regarding street closings can be obtained from the DC Government web site here or by phone from the Office of Emergency Preparedness at (202) 727-3159.
All motorcoaches providing city tours must have a licensed DC Guide on board at all times. Tour guides should make specific pick-up time arrangements with drivers.
Certain locations within the District are more sensitive to bus parking due to the number of tourist attractions in an area. These high impact zones are:
10th Street between E and G streets
Old Town Trolley Visitor’s Center
National Mall – Independence Avenue between Ohio Drive and 3rd Street; Constitution Avenue between 23rd Street and 3rd Street
Georgetown – K Street between 30th and 31st Streets.
These zones require all bus operators to follow city regulations to ensure safety. Bus parking is not permitted in these areas with the exception of Independence Avenue between 15th and 17th Streets. Violators will be ticketed and fined.
Prohibited Parking Areas
Do not park in the following areas or you will be ticketed.
- H Street
- Pennsylvania Avenue
- Water Street
Please show consideration for our environment and the District’s anti-idling law. Motorcoaches may idle for up to three minutes in the District of Columbia, and may idle for up to five minutes if the temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit (32oF) or below.
To read the regulation click here.
For information about Metrorail and connecting Metrobus routes at District attractions, call 637-7000 or go to wmata.com.
For information about the Circulator bus service and connecting Circulator bus routes at District attractions, call (202) 962-1423 or go to dccirculator.com.
Review your destinations and routes before coming to the city. Additional information about suggested routes can be found in the Motorcoach Guide to Washington, DC.
To download a pdf list of the restricted streets in the District click here.
To download a draft pdf map with motorcoach restrictions and suggested routes, click here.
To view a pdf map with designated motorcoach routing around the US Capitol, click here.
To view a list of motorcoach restrictions around the US Capitol, click here.
Special events, construction and security concerns result in occasional street closings. For information on street closings, please call the Office of Emergency Preparedness at (202) 727-3159 during business hours. You can also register to receive traffic updates from DDOT.
Registration or Permit Requirement for Chartered Buses
All operators must be in compliance with the chartered bus law prior to entering the District of Columbia. A bus from any US state or Canadian province used for conveyance of a chartered party with a seating capacity of greater than fifteen (15) passengers is required to obtain one of the following:
Any vehicle owner that uses a trip permit for a vehicle other than the one listed on the front of the trip permit, is subject to a fine of not more than $500 or 180 days imprisonment or both.
Any applicant that misuses, transfers or sells a trip permit is subject to a fine of not more than $1000 or 180 days imprisonment or both.
Any vehicle that does not have a trip permit or is not apportioned to operate in the District will be assessed a $500 fine.
For more information, go to the website for the DC Department of Motor Vehicles or call (202) 729-7078.
Commuter buses provide regular scheduled services between the District of Columbia and the surrounding counties for District workers. This is an important service that alleviates congestion by reducing the number of personal vehicles traveling to the city on a daily basis. The District Department of Transportation has several ongoing initiatives to ensure the effective management of this service.
To view a presentation about the Commuter Bus Management Plan click here. For more information about commuter bus services in the District, please visit the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Commuter Connections website.
Intercity buses provide an inexpensive long distance transportation option for people traveling to destinations such as Philadelphia, New York City and beyond. The District Department of Transportation has recently conducted a study for the effective management of this service and regulations governing the operation of intercity buses in the District are pending.
For information about the Union Station Rehabilitation Corporation's plans, click here.