Discover Bethesda, Maryland...365 Days a Year!

Day 9: You got me going in circles . .

Look for these signs to ride

One spring day when my daughters Nicole and Caroline were very little I decided they needed some adventure.  I told them we were going to take a trolley ride through the city.  They were very excited, swinging their stocking covered legs back and forth on the sidewalk bench, as they waited impatiently for the Trolley to come.  All of the sudden we could hear the unmistakable rumble of the trolley as it made its way down Bethesda Avenue to the bus stop.  We climbed aboard the Bethesda 8 Trolley and quickly headed to a seat in the back. The seats were made of wrought iron and wood and we had a great view out the open back windows of the bus.  Spring air filled the bus as the driver pulled back onto the road as the wind began to blow the girls hair.  “Weeeeeeeeeee”, they squealed as we headed off on our adventure.  I think we completed the figure 8 bus loop through downtown Bethesda four times that day.  We waived at every pedestrian we saw and tried to get passing car and truck drivers to blare their horns by giving them the bicep pump signal.  You know the one where you close your fist and pump your arm up and down hoping like mad the driver will honk their horn.  People were waiving, horns were blaring and I was smiling at all the fun we were having…..and for free!

The signature red Trolley arrives

As the city of Bethesda has grown, so too has the need to get from one end of town to the other.  Enter the Circulator, Bethesda’s free and cool way to traverse downtown.  Formerly known as the Bethesda 8 Trolley, for it’s figure 8 shaped route through the town and the bus’ Trolley car design, the Circulator ferries passengers from the Woodmont Triangle area down Woodmont Avenue to Bethesda Avenue where it turns onto Arlington Road and heads back up to Old Georgetown Road returning to the Woodmont Triangle (see Circulator map). Unfortunately the Trolley buses may not be with us much longer due to high maintenance costs and reliability problems.  The current route, which services 20,000+ riders a month, will be served by sleek new buses instead.  So get the kids and get out and enjoy a nostalgic ride around town….. while it lasts.  ~Brian

The Circulator is managed by Bethesda Urban Partnership and the operation is as follows:

The Circulator Route

Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday: 7:00 am – 12:00 am
Friday: 7:00 am – 2:00 am
Saturday: 6:00 pm – 2:00 am
Sunday: no service

Stops (approximately every 10 min.)

  • Woodmont Ave. & Bethesda Ave.
  • Arlington Rd. between Elm St. & Hampden Ln. (Giant & Library)
  • Arlington Rd. & Montgomery Ln.
  • Edgemoor Ln. near Woodmont Ave.
  • Bethesda Metro Station
  • Old Georgetown Rd. near Commerce Ln. (Safeway)
  • Old Georgetown Rd. between Fairmont Ave. & St. Elmo Ave.
  • Old Georgetown Rd. between Cordell Ave. &Del Ray Ave.
  • Auburn Ave. & Old Georgetown Rd.
  • Auburn Ave. & Norfolk Ave.
  • Rugby Ave.
  • Rugby Ave. & Del Ray Ave.
  • Woodmont Ave. between Cordell Ave. & St. Elmo Ave.
  • Woodmont Ave. & Norfolk Ave.
  • Woodmont Ave. at Garage 11
  • Woodmont Ave. & Moorland Ln.
  • Woodmont Ave. between Edgemoor Ln. & Montgomery Ln.
  • Woodmont Ave. & Elm St.
  1. Bethesda 365

    Too bad the Circulator does not run on Sunday, the day of this post! Whoops!

  2. Richard

    Bethesda has two of the shortest streets in the county. Miller Avenue is a block long and has 2-3 businesses. Even shorter is Reed Street, so short it’s not even on your map. It’s that 50-foot piece of road across from Barnes & Noble connecting Woodmont Avenue to a very small parking area in front of the Landmark Bethesda Row Cinemas. Since that area will be the terminus of whatever mass transit line is selected to connect Bethesda with Silver Spring, Reed Street may then be wiped out. Let’s enjoy it while we can!

  3. Bethesda 365 » Top 5 Things to do in Bethesda in October

    […] 5. Halloween in Bethesda is an event!  From school festivals to neighborhood parties to late-night parties for the big kids, there is something spooky around every corner!  If you want to dress up and let off some steam, try a bar crawl to Union Jack’s, The Barking Dog, Tommy Joe’s or any of the other dozens of sports bars and pubs who are sure to be offering some freaky fun. Hitch a FREE ride around town on the Bethesda Circulator! […]

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