ACSS Family of Sites
Home >> Blog >> Commuting in Madrid vs the DC Metro Area


Commuting in Madrid vs the DC Metro Area

Alberto Fernandez
Alberto Fernandez January 23, 2020 Alberto is a former Associate Program Manager at Arlington Transportation Partners.

ATP Takeaway: You can understand if you have a good commute if you compare it with other commutes. Here’s how Arlington commutes compare to a commute in a European city.

As a Madrid native, I have always been proud of my city—the best tapas, my beloved soccer team, and the public transportation system! Have you ever wondered what the commute would be like if you lived in Madrid? I am going to try to answer that question for you.



The Commute Time Factor

Madrid has not always been the capital of Spain, only just since the 1560s. Since then, it hasn’t stopped growing. As of today, the inner city population is around 4 million people and the estimated population in the metropolitan area is around 7 million people.

Here comes the commute difference: on average, a madrileño spends 62 minutes on their daily commute versus the 28.3 minutes spent by Arlingtonians. Compare both those commutes to the 86 minutes for the average commute to DC!

Prior to moving to the US I lived my entire life in the core of Madrid and I always used public transportation. I tried all the options: Metro, train, and my favorite, bus. It is nice to commute in an old majestic city, see the monuments, and the historic places. You almost feel like you are in a Lonely Planet guide!

Reasons to use transit

Due to the city’s age, there is a lack of parking in office buildings as well as apartments.  So instead the city took advantage of the space that is available and created a wonderful public transportation system is made up of over 300 metro stations and over 200 bus lines. You can have tapas everywhere or go to Real Madrid Stadium without worrying about traffic or parking.

Cost-Effective Commute

At this point, you might be wondering, how expensive is public transportation in Madrid? Fares increase for unlimited rides on public transit the further you travel from the downtown center. Having low cost and high-quality transit makes commuters happy and 52% of people living in Madrid rely on public transportation.

Explore Your City

Now that I live in Arlington, I explore the transit systems and get to know new routes in my neighborhood. I love taking the Metrobus 38B to Clarendon restaurants and Capital Bikeshare to Gravelly Point. There are two Spanish tapas restaurants located in Arlington—Pamplona, located in Clarendon, and chef Jose Andres’ Jaleo, in Crystal City. If you want to enjoy a glass or two of sangria without worries, try using any of the transit options near these places.


Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/ for Arlington Transportation Partners

Tags: How I Commute to Work, Behavior, Did You Know?, ATP Travels


Want to reach us? Contact us and we'll get back to you in 1-2 business days.