The Papal Visit 2015

This week the District welcomes Pope Francis on September 22. During his visit from September 22 – September 24, it is predicted that travel conditions will be similar in volume to inauguration events.

There will be road closures and security precautions affecting every mode of transit this week. Keep these key tips in mind to make travel less hectic. 

1. Plan ahead
2. Take transit
3. Expect delays
4. Brace for crowds 

To help you make your travel plans, we have compiled major service announcements from the following transportation options:

  • Capital Bikeshare
  • DC Circulator
  • Metrobus
  • Metrorail

Select your mode and get the details you need to travel with ease during this historic papal visit.

Capital Bikeshare

Capital Bikeshare Corral Service will be offered at the following locations and times:

Wednesday, September 23
7am to Noon: 10th St & Constitution Ave NW
Noon to 6pm: 10th St & Monroe Ave NE

Thursday, September 24
7am to Noon: 10th St & Constitution Ave NW

Capital Bikeshare will NOT offer regular morning Corral Service at 21st & I NW and 13th & NY Ave NW on these days.

The are several stations which MAY be inaccessible due to street closures related to the Papal visit from September 22-24.

View the full list and please be prepared to dock your bike at another location. Accessibility to stations is subject to change. Follow Capital Bikeshare on Twitter for the latest updates.

DC Circulator

DC Circulator will implement the following changes to service during the papal visit. 

1. Route Service Suspensions and Reductions

Due to large crowds and street closures, service on the National Mall route will be suspended Wednesday, 9/23 and Thursday, 9/24.

Buses on the following routes will run every 15 minutes beginning at 12pm on Wednesday, 9/23. Normal frequencies on the routes shown below will resume Thursday, 9/24, as rolling closures and congestion allow.

  • Dupont Circle—Georgetown—Rosslyn
  • Georgetown—Union Station
  • Woodley Park—Adams Morgan—McPherson Square
  • Union Station—Navy Yard (See #3 below)
  • Potomac Ave—Skyland

2. Shuttle Service to the Basilica
DC Circulator buses and operators will provide a shuttle – at the standard $1 per trip rate – between the Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland—CUA, and Fort Totten stations from 12pm to 9pm on Wednesday, 9/23. Wait times may vary so please allow yourself extra travel time.

3. Detour: Union Station - Navy Yard
To avoid large crowds and major traffic changes, buses on the Union Station to Navy Yard route will operate on the following detour around the U.S. Capitol:

Southbound: Buses will travel from Union Station down Massachusetts Avenue NE and turn on 4th Street NE toward Pennsylvania Avenue SE. They will then travel their normal route to Navy Yard Metro.

Northbound: Buses will travel from Navy Yard Metro to Pennsylvania Avenue and turn on 6th Street SE heading back to Union Station via C Street NE.

Visit for for a list of route stops and service maps. Follow DC Circulator on Twitter for real time services updates.


Metrobus is planning a number of detours, service changes, and some additional service during Pope Francis' visit. While many service adjustments will be in place, Metrobus plans to operate a regular weekday schedule on most routes for passengers all three days.

Here’s a summary of what’s happening for routes impacted by the Papal Visit.

Route 37 will operate on detour on Tuesday, September 22 for the entire service day.

Routes which will not operate Wednesday, September 23 and Thursday, September 24: 37, D1, D3, H1, L1, S1, 3Y, 16Y

Service impacts at Brookland and surrounding neighborhoods on Wednesday, September 23: H2, H3, H4, H6, H8, H9, 80, D8, G8, R4 | click for more service details

Routes running shorter than normal during the entire duration of the Papal Visit: 42, 43, N2, N3, N4, N6, X2 | click for more service details

Routes running shorter than normal Tues night, September 22 through mid-afternoon Wed, September 23: 30N, 30S, 31, 32, 33, 36, 38B, 39, 52, 54, 80, G8, S2, S4 | click for more service details

Routes running shorter than normal on Wednesday, September 23: 7Y, 11Y, 16X, A9, L2, P17, P19, W13, X1 | click for more service details
Routes with planned detours on Thursday, September 24: 30N, 30S, 32, 33, 34, 36, 97, P17, P19, W13, X1 | click for more service details

Anticipate delays on routes around the border of road closures/detours: 39, 53, 62, 63, 64, 70, 74, 79, 90, 92, 94, 96, A42, A46, A48, D2, D4, D6, G2, P6, S9, V1, W2, W3, W4, W6, W8, W9, X8, X9

The best advice for Metrobus customers traveling a route listed with a detour or shorter than normal routing is to transfer to Metrorail at your first opportunity. Free Metrobus-to-Metrorail transfers will be available (ask Bus Operator for transfer, present to Station Manager upon entering). If delays are anticipated for your route, plan ahead and allow for additional travel time.

Be prepared for longer waits, increased trip times and limited Next Bus predictions online due to route detours. Visit for additional updates and changes to Metrobus scheduling.


Metrorail will be open at 5am and close at midnight on Wednesday, September 23 and Thursday, September 24.

During this time, all Metrorail stations will be open; however, selected station entrances may be closed due to security needs.

Metrorail will offer regular rush hour train service during the AM and PM commute and additional train service during midday and late evening hours. Please note, the system is expected to be extremely crowded during the traditional rush hour periods

There will be no scheduled track work on any rail line, and trains will run at near rush-hour service levels during midday and late evening hours to provide additional capacity for riders. &

Wednesday, September 23: Brookland Station

To support the expected 25,000 guests arriving for Mass at the Basilica on Wednesday afternoon, Brookland Station may be designated “exit only” prior to the event and “entry only” following the event (exact times TBD).

Due to capacity issues at Brookland Station, riders may wish to consider using two adjacent stations: Rhode Island Avenue and Fort Totten. Rhode Island Avenue is about a 1 mile (20 minute) walk to Brookland; Fort Totten is about 2 miles (35 minutes) away. DC Circulator will offer shuttle service between the stations and the event (fare $1 each way).

Additional Resources

Visit for additional updates and changes to Metrorail service. Full details on road closures, event security and more is available at

goDCgo’s interactive map is a great resource to plan trips on the go.

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the latest transit news and updates during the Papal visit.

Posted on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 (Archive on Saturday, September 26, 2015)
Posted by dkean  Contributed by dkean