Car rental at Union Station?
June 5, 2011 9:39 AM   Subscribe

We'd like to take the train from Boston to DC. Is it possible to rent a car at Union Station in DC or do we have to schlep out to the burbs somewhere? We need to rent a car since DC isn't our ultimate destination. We'd rather not take the train to BWI and get a car there, so we're trying to figure out our options. Thanks in advance, everyone.
posted by pentagoet to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
You can rent cars at the station. It is very convenient.
posted by procrastination at 9:43 AM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

We'd rather not take the train to BWI and get a car there, so we're trying to figure out our options.

As procrastination says, you can rent cars at union station. But I thought I'd point out that the NE regional line goes through BWI anyways (I think every train stops there) so if your destination is north of DC you could just get off there.
posted by advil at 9:53 AM on June 5, 2011

Just last weekend we did this exact trip, and rented a car from Alamo for the weekend. The car rental desk is on the upper floor of Union Station. Worked just fine.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:05 AM on June 5, 2011

Where is your final destination? As alluded to above, if it is in southern Maryland I'd recommend renting @ BWI. If it's in northern Virginia then I'd suggest taking the Metro at least to National Airport (preferably farther) and renting there. I haven't tried that, but as a regular DC commuter my goal would be to avoid driving inside the Beltway. Not that it is difficult, just annoying and usually takes longer than you expected.
posted by postel's law at 10:37 AM on June 5, 2011

You can rent cars at union station right outside the train platforms, as everyone has pointed out. Even with postel's warning in mind, it is relatively easy to get out of the city from Union Station by car, if your final destination is in Virginia or Prince George's County, MD.

That said, taking a train from Boston to DC is neither time- nor cost-effective compared to flying.
posted by deanc at 11:55 AM on June 5, 2011

You can rent a car at Union Station, yes. I have done it before (the only caveat I'd say is that once one of the agencies ran out of economy cars, and gave me a Smart car (hah). It is directly in the station and very

Nthing other posters that suggest renting a car at BWI if you are planning to go somewhere in Maryland. Spending another 30 minutes to get to DC will just add on extra travel time.

regarding deanc's comment - it may or may not be cost effective, depending on the ticket. The cheapest bucket price for the train can be a lot cheaper than a last minute flight. And the poster may not like flying for a whole host of reasons.
posted by waylaid at 1:40 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Years ago (2003-04), I would typically rent cars at National Airport because you could get much cheaper rates there via Hotwire. I don't know if that's still the case, but cars at Union Station were always a lot more expensive since Hotwire never featured deals there. Of course, that would mean schlepping out to National, which is pretty easy by Metro, but not ideal if you just want to hop into a car and go.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:59 PM on June 5, 2011

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