There are now two bus lines that go directly from downtown Bethesda to mid-town NYC. They are cheap, convenient, fast, and mostly quite pleasant. And the good news is you don’t have to schlep down to Union Station to catch the train, nor do you have to contend with driving on 95, which always leaves me a little harried at the end of the day. I love it.
I’ve taken a few trips on the Vamoose Line. They take reservations. The trip takes about 4 hours from Bethesda, 4.5 from Arlington. They have about 9 buses heading to NYC from Bethesda/Arlington on the weekends, and about 4-6 departures Monday-Thursday. It’ll cost you $30+ each way. If you sign up for their frequent traveler program and travel 4 times, the 5th ride is free. The bus will drop you off near Penn Station. If you feel like splurging, they also offer a gold line for the promise of 50% more leg room and wider, leather seats. It’ll run you $60+ for the fancy bus. Buses leave from 7409 Waverly Street in Bethesda – right near Booeymongers (Bethesda Metro station) and 1801 Lynn Street in Rosslyn (Rosslyn Metro station). The bus might make one pit stop along the way, where you can grab a sandwich and stretch your legs (Update… caught the bus in December 2015 and no pit stop was made… not sure if it’s a change to the service, or the individual bus? Be warned).
A second option is also available… the Tripper Bus. While I have no first-hand experience with this line, my friends do rave about it. Trips are a little cheaper, starting at $27. There is also the option of paying a lot less (supposedly trips start at $1), but I don’t know how it works. I’ll leave you to fend for yourself. Buses run with less frequency than Vamoose, but not by much. They offer the same frequent traveler program. Bethesda buses leave from the SW corner of Elm Street and the corner of Wisconsin Ave, right in front of Regal Cinema.
You can charge your cell phone along the way, and your computer as well. Happy trails.