University of Richmond - public transportation options from nearby airports

We’ll be sending a freshman to U of Richmond later this summer and were curious if anyone could summarize the available options from local airports, train or bus options to campus from Reagan, Dulles, and BWI. I’m guessing one or another of these is preferable for one reason or another, or maybe they are all about the same. Just curious how easy it is to catch public transportation to and from, and what the pricing is like, etc. Not familiar at all with the area, and I’m sure someone has probably done all the legwork on this already. If anyone could shed some light on the various options, it would be much appreciated.

“Reagan, Dulles, and BWI” are not nearby airports. Richmond is the nearest airport and University of Richmond offers shuttles to Richmond airport and the Richmond Amtrak station during breaks and holidays. Click on “buses and shuttles.”

@Sevmom, no direct flights to Richmond airport from where we live, so it seemed like one of the other airports would end up in a shorter total commute. It looks like they are about 80 miles. Not exactly close, but I assumed there are buses or train service available from there.

I’m a UR student who lives in Northern Virginia.

I guess if need be, you could take the metro from one of the airports. I would assume Dulles would probably have a shuttle (or you could take a cab) to the metro (can’t tell you about Reagan, since I usually fly out of Dulles). You can get off at Alexandria, which is literally right across the street from the Alexandria Amtrak station and take the train down to Richmond/Staples Mill (this is about a 2 hour ride). You would have to take a taxi back to campus from there, which IIRC, is only like $20-30. If it is a regular break (fall, thanksgiving, winter, spring breaks), there is a free shuttle from the Staples Mill train station to campus.

There is no shuttle from airports other than the Richmond airport (those are not “local” airports, but rather airports for NoVa and DC), which is available for the above breaks for a cost of $15.

Personally, when I travel for breaks, I take the shuttle to staples mill, Amtrak to Alexandria, and my parents pick me up there (its not too far from where I live).

I think flying to Richmond would probably be a shorter commute, since you avoid having to go through switching between metro and Amtrak. Plus Amtrak always runs behind, since they dont own the tracks in VA.

Thanks @guineagirl96. Looks like not a lot of very direct options. We’re in Western NY, so direct flights or train service anywhere in the Northeast is always a royal pain.

Just wanted to update, since I did some research. If you want to take the metro, apparently, there is a metro station at the Reagan airport. You could take either yellow or blue line from there; both would go to Alexandria. Dulles wouldn’t really work, since their shuttle goes to the silver line and you cant transfer to the blue line until Rosslyn. It’d be a much longer metro ride.

EDIT: Crossed comments with you. I have several friends in NY at UR. You could actually take Amtrak all the way down from NY and avoid the flight all together; that’s what my friends do- its actually faster. I would look into seeing whether there is an Amtrak station near you or whether you could get to one easily and explore that route.

Thanks, I’ll check into that option.

Even with a stop, it is only between 3 1/2 -5 hours flight time between Buffalo (not sure though if that is where you would fly out from though) and Richmond. By the time you try to transfer to a train, or bus (and the stress of all that), it may not be that better a deal. Agree it is a good idea to look into taking the train all the way (maybe about 7 hours?). I would be inclined to stick with one type of transportation to Richmond-either fly all the away , or take Amtrak all the way. Greyhound could possibly be an option as well but would probably be the least pleasant option.

There’s Amtrak just a few miles from where we live, but the route is not direct at all. Looks like the only option is to go through Penn Station, which is crazy far out of the way. Would be about a 15 hour trip one way from here. We’ll figure it out. Hopefully she will make friends or be able to ride share with some other U of Richmond students from our area.

Might be worth driving her to Buffalo if that is at all close . Train from there to Richmond looks like 6-8 hours. Good luck with figuring this out. University of Richmond is a great school. Hope your daughter enjoys it there.

I’ve tried it using both cities on the Amtrak web site, and I’m not seeing any options under 14 hours from Buffalo or Rochester. There are two legs. When I first looked at it, I thought it was short (under 8 hours too), but that’s just the first leg to get you to Penn Station (Empire Service). Then there is the second leg from Penn to Richmond (Northeast Regional). Hopefully I’m just doing it wrong, Which is totally possible, since I rarely use Amrtrak, but not looking too promising. I tried it on Google Maps too with the same results. I’m sure we’ll be able to work it all out somehow. She’s definitely excited about going. It will only be a few trips home per year, so not that big a deal. Just want to minimize the travel time to the extent possible.

Yes, I was reading it wrong. It would take a long time on the train. Plane should be the best bet in your situation. Penn Station is a good option for NY kids that live closer to it, but that does not help you.

Yep, prob flying direct from ROC to DCA, then take Metro to King Street, pick up Amtrak Northeast Regional from Alexandria to Staples Mill, then cab to U of R is the best option. Prob about 5 hours door to door without delays.

US Airways looks like it has good service between Rochester and Richmond as well-some flights about 3 hrs, 15 minutes including connecting flight. Then shuttle from Richmond airport to campus for $15.

Interesting. Definitely seems like a decent option. Thanks.

Whatever you decide is best, be sure to arrange transport to campus from whatever she comes in on. This can be the most challenging in some cases. My D flies into RIC which is never direct for us either but coming from the west coast, it’s just something she has to live with. The campus has some airport shuttles but very limited on hours they run. They aren’t scheduled for kid who will spend all day on a plane and have to come in during the evening. My D took cabs first semester because she was too young to have an Uber account. After she turned 18, she started using uber with isn’t cheap but more affordable than a cab. Hopefully the campus shuttle works for her.

The public transit in Richmond can be a frustration. Taxis and Uber seem to be the preferred way to get around since public transit can take hours to go even short distances. You’d think there would be some smoother routes to the college.

@turtletime, thanks, good point about the shuttle times. I assume that may be an issue for us as well. I expect she will only need to fly a couple times a year, if at all, but want to have a good idea of what the options are. Does your daughter like the school?

For the first trip to school, send her by plane. That way she won’t be juggling her baggage from one means of transport to another. The airline will handle everything except her carry-on(s).

When she’s settled at her university, she’ll be able to learn about other transportation options that are workable. For example, depending on where she needs to get in NY State, she might be able to cobble together cheap travel on Megabus

Thanks for the insight. Our D is coming from the west as well and to return home, her best option is to catch a 6:20 AM early morning flight at RIC to catch a convenient connecting flight west. If the campus shuttles don’t run that early, how much is a typical cab or Uber fare from campus to the airport?

If there are other kids from your city there (with a car) that is your best bet. That was always the cheapest and most direct way. There are usually other people heading home on major breaks.