News & Politics

5 Popemobiles That Will Help Pope Francis Feel Like a Real Washingtonian

Pope Francis will use a modified Jeep Wrangler as his “popemobile” when he visits DC this month. That’s a fine choice for a tubing trip to Harpers Ferry, but if the pope wants to roll like the people he’s visiting, the way he did in South Korea and the Philippines, he might want to consider some vehicles that would be more at home on Washington’s streets. Photo illustrations by Brooke Hatfield.

1) A Capital Bikeshare bike

Just imagine how much less traffic chaos his holiness would cause (and how much less gasoline this climate-change-conscious pope would use) if he used a convenient bike to get around. There are two Bikeshare stations convenient to the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, several ringing the White House and the Capitol, and a couple near the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. A three-day pass would cost the Vatican only $17, plus a few bucks if his trips take longer than 30 minutes.

2) A Metrobus

Francis is a man of the people, so why not take the Washington region’s best form of motorized surface transit? The H1 line would take him almost everywhere he needs to go (with a slight walk to the White House, and maybe an Uber to the Capitol).

3) Jack Evans’s illegally parked car

The DC Council member’s Chrysler Sebring (touring edition) is likely just sitting, unused, in front of a fire hydrant or in a no-parking zone in Georgetown or a loading zone or in a no-parking zone at an event where there’s already valet parking. Why not put that sweet ride to good use?

4) A DC Duck

Not only would these amphibious vehicles give the pope some flexibility on the size of his traveling retinue—Imagine how many members of Congress could tag along!—but they’d offer him some splendid city views from the Potomac.

5) The DC Streetcar

At this point, the system needs a miracle. And Francis speaks for a guy who might be able to help.
Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.