The system began with the introduction of the Georgetown – Union Station and Convention Center – SW Waterfront routes in 2005. In 2006, the Smithsonian – National Gallery of Art route was added to the system. In 2009, two routes were added: Woodley Park – Adams Morgan – McPherson Square and Union Station – Navy Yard. In 2010, the system expanded beyond the borders of the District with the Dupont Circle – Rosslyn route.

Finally, in 2011 the Potomac Ave Metro – Skyland route was introduced. In 2011, DDOT suspended operation of both the Smithsonian – National Gallery of Art and Convention Center – SW Waterfront routes due to low ridership and the need to reduce expenditures during the recession. WMATA’s Metrobus Route 74 replaced the Circulator Convention Center route.

Now, after more than 10 years of providing affordable, comfortable and efficient service, the Circulator system continues to expand and is now the fourth-largest bus system in the region. New service along the National Mall launched in June 2015. Through a partnership between DDOT, DCST and National Park Service (NPS), the Circulator is now providing visitors, commuters and residents door-to-door transportation to more than 25 museums, monuments and memorials along the National Mall.