Metrobus (Washington, D.C.)

Metrobus (Washington, D.C.)
WMATA Metrobus
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority recently purchased BRT buses that are painted in the new Local and Express paint schemes.
Parent WMATA
Founded 1967
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Locale Washington Metropolitan Area
Service area Washington Metropolitan Area
Service type Local and express bus service
Routes 319[1]
Fleet 1,480[2]
Daily ridership 439,424 (August 2009 weekday average)[3]
Operator WMATA
Chief executive Richard Sarles
Web site

Metrobus is a bus service operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Its fleet consists of 1,480 buses covering an area of 1,500 square miles (3,900 km2) in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. There are over 300 bus routes serving 12,216 stops, including 2,398 bus shelters. In fiscal year 2009, Metrobus provided more than 133 million trips.[4] On a typical weekday, it provides more than 400,000 trips.[3]

Metro stopped issuing and accepting paper bus transfers as of January 4, 2009; bus and rail riders must use a SmarTrip card to receive the transfer discount.[5]



The current Metrobus fare structure is as follows:[6]

  • Local bus within District of Columbia (except as noted below): $1.70 (using cash) $1.50 (using SmarTrip)
  • Express bus: $3.85 (using cash) $3.65 (using SmarTrip)
  • Express Airport buses 5A and B30: $6.00

Discounts may be available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, and DC students.(*must have valid ID)

Up to two children, per paying adult, 4 years of age or under ride for free. Children 5 years of age or older pay adult fare.

Express routes: J7, J9, P17, P19, W13, W19, 11Y, 17A, 17B, 17G, 17H, 17K, 17L, 17M, 18E, 18G, 18H, 18P, 29E, 29G, 29H, and 29X.

Transfers and passes

The interior of a WMATA (Metrobus) New Flyer D40LFR Suburban

All Metrobuses have SmarTrip card readers which automatically deduct the correct fare from a rider's SmarTrip card (including transfer credit). Formerly, Metrobus issued paper transfers which gave the rider free transfers to any regular bus for two hours. Beginning January 4, 2009, when a rider uses a SmarTrip card they will automatically receive rail-to-bus transfer credit, and bus-to-bus free transfer time for regular buses is increased to three hours. Express routes have different requirements. This section discusses the transfer policy to and from Metrobus and other regional bus operators. The routes can be Metrobus routes or routes of other regional operators. Note that as of January 4, 2009, transfer credit is issued on a SmarTrip card, riders using cash payment cannot obtain a paper transfer, and thus must pay full fare upon boarding the bus. On June 27, 2010, the transfer window was reduced from 3 hours to 2 hours.

Cost of bus fare using SmarTrip
From to Local Buses¹ to Express Buses²
(Metrobus or Fairfax Connector)
to PRTC routes
Washington Metro $1.00 $2.50 $4.75 to PRTC OmniRide (full SmarTrip fare)
$2.40 to PRTC MetroDirect (full SmarTrip fare)
All other local routes
Free $1.75 $3.50 to PRTC OmniRide
$1.15 to PRTC MetroDirect
Arlington Transit (ART)
Fairfax Connector
(except Routes 380, 595, and 597)
Free $1.75 N/A
Fairfax Connector routes 380, 595, 597
Metrobus express routes
PRTC OmniRide
Free Free N/A
The Bus
Free $1.75 N/A


  1. Local Buses: Metrobus local routes, Ride-On, The Bus (Prince George's County), DC Circulator, Fairfax Connector (except Routes 380, 595, and 597), Connect-A-Ride, Fairfax CUE, DASH, and Arlington Transit.
  2. Express Buses: Metrobus express routes, PRTC OmniRide, PRTC MetroDirect, Fairfax Connector routes 380, 595, and 597.

Current fleet

Metro is currently in the process of having 203 New Flyer LFA, Bus rapid transit style buses delivered. These new buses will be painted in a Red/Silver (Local) and Blue/Silver(Express) paint scheme. 38 of these 203 buses will be painted in the Express paint scheme while the other 165 will be painted in the Local paint scheme. Metro is also currently in the process of repainting its current buses into the Local and Express paint scheme. Red/Silver painted buses will be used on local routes and Blue/Silver buses will be used on Express routes. These buses will have either "local" or "express" on the top of each side of the bus for easy identification.[7] The numbering represents its region of operation. To differ the regions numbering system, Maryland letter is (prefix) to the route number and Virginia letter is (suffix) to the route number. For example: C22 (Maryland) & 15L (Virginia).

Order Year Builder Model Picture Length (ft.) Propulsion Engine/Transmission Fleet series
1997–2000 OBI 05.501 (V) 2008 01 16 - MD564 @ Chapel Ave 05.JPG 40 Diesel 4200-4412
1999 05.503 (V) WMATA 3921.jpg 30 3900-3950
2000 06.501 (VI) Metrobus Orion VI.jpg 40 2000-2099
2001 NFI C40LF WMATA 2407.jpg CNG 2300-2399
2002 2401-2459
New Flyer GNC Washington D.C. Metrobus.JPG 2460-2464
AN460A Neoplan artic.jpg 60 Diesel 5301-5321
2005 NFI DE40LF WMATA 6004.jpg 40 Diesel-electric 6001-6039
OBI 07.501 (VII) WMATA Orion VII 2632 bus.jpg CNG 2501-2615
2006 2616-2685
NFI DE40LFR WMATA New Flyer hybrid, gray paint scheme.jpg Diesel-electric Hybrid 6040-6050
D40LFR WMATA 6214 B30.jpg Diesel 6101-6217
2007 OBI 07.503 (VII) WMATA 3006.jpg 30 CNG 3001-3035
NFI C40LFR WMATA New Flyer 2817 Express Scheme.jpg 40 2801-2825
2008 NABI 60-BRT Articulated Metrobus DC 2010 10 546.jpg 60 5401-5422
NFI DE42LFA WMATA New Flyer 6411 B30.jpg 42 Diesel-electric Hybrid 6301-6461
2009 DE62LFA 62 5431-5452
DE37LFA 37 3751-3770
2010 DE42LFA WMATA Metrobus 6567.jpg 42 6462-6509
2010-11 6510-6609
2011 XDE40 40 7001-7150

WMATA is adding a total of 533 hybrid buses to replace its diesel bus fleet. Each new "New Flyer Xcelsior XDE40" bus costs $571,737 and is expected to break down less frequently as well as offer greater fuel economy. With the latest purchase of 152 hybrid buses for $89.3 million from New Flyer of America, WMATA's Metrobus fleet will consist of 600 diesel buses, 553 hybrid buses and 339 natural gas fueled buses.[8]


Metrobus's old stop marker design, seen here at Glenmont station.
Metrobus's new stop marker design, seen here at the BWI Business District Light Rail Station.

There are 9 divisions (a.k.a. garages, yards or lots) in the Metrobus system. Two of them are open on weekdays only.

Open seven days a week:

  • Bladensburg (B), located at 2251 26th Street NE, in the District. (It is the largest lot in the system.)
  • Four Mile Run (F), located near the stream of the same name in southern Arlington at 3501 South Glebe Road, just south of Crystal City. This garage handles West Ox and Royal division routes on weekends and is a CNG depot.
  • Landover (L), located at 3433 Pennsy Drive in Landover.
  • Montgomery (M), located at 5400 Marinelli Road, just east of Rockville Pike in Rockville. It is situated a block east of the White Flint station.
  • Northern (N), located at 4615 14th Street, NW in the northwestern portion of the District. The facility is a former trolley barn for the Capital Traction Company.
  • Southern Avenue Annex (P) (also known as simply "The Annex"), located on the Capitol Heights, MD side of Southern Avenue by Marlboro Pike. This garage, which was previously open weekdays only, has now expanded to seven days a week due to the closing of Metrobus' Southeastern division garage on March 28, 2008.
  • Western (W), located on 5230 Wisconsin Avenue, NW in the Friendship Heights neighborhood of the District.

Open weekdays only:

  • West Ox (A), located at Alliance Drive and West Ox Road in Fairfax, VA, right next to Lee Hwy (US 29). This division replaced the Arlington division.
  • Royal Street (R), located on 600 North Royal Street in Alexandria.

Limited-stop routes


  • Columbia Pike (16F)
  • Richmond Highway (REX)
  • Georgia Avenue (in District of Columbia) (79)
  • Pennsylvania Avenue (39)
  • Wisconsin Avenue / Massachusetts Avenue (37)
  • 16th Street (S9)
  • University Boulevard / East-West Highway (Montgomery County) (J4)
  • Leesburg Pike (28X)
  • H Street / Benning Road (X9)

NOTE: Routes bolded and in parentheses


  • Potomac Yard
  • Southern Avenue / National Harbor
  • Veirs Mill Road
  • New Hampshire Avenue
  • Eastover / Addison Road
  • Little River Turnpike / Duke Street
  • East-West Highway (Prince George's County)
  • Greenbelt-Twinbrook
  • Massachusetts Avenue / U Street / Florida Avenue / 8th Street / MLK Avenue
  • 14th Street
  • Colesville Road
  • Anacostia - Congress Heights
  • Georgia Avenue (in Montgomery County)
  • North Capitol Street
  • Rhode Island Avenue
  • Rhode Island Avenue Station to Laurel


Richmond Highway Express

A Metrobus Orion VII #2684 in REX colors.

Richmond Highway Express a.k.a. "REX", is a Limited-Stop bus line that operates between King Street – Old Town station and Fort Belvoir along the Richmond Highway corridor in Fairfax County, Virginia. The current "REX" fleet consists of twelve 2006 Orion 07.501 (VII) CNG (2674–2685) buses painted in a blue-and-gold paint scheme, which operate out of the Four Mile Run division. REX began service on September 26, 2004, replacing parts of Route 9A (which now operates between Huntington station and The Pentagon). The original REX bus fleet consisted of twelve 2000 Orion 06.501 (VI) (2073–2084) buses wrapped (but not painted) in blue-and-gold paint scheme before the aforementioned newest Orion 07.501 CNG buses arrived in 2006.

See also


  1. ^ WMATA Facts (PDF). Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  2. ^ Approved Fiscal 2010 Annual Budget (PDF), p. 7, WMATA (2009)
  3. ^ a b August 2009 Ridership by Jurisdiction and Line (PDF) WMATA statistical report
  4. ^ Approved Fiscal 2010 Annual Budget (PDF), p. 5-7, WMATA (2009)
  5. ^ Metro eliminates paper transfers on Sunday WMATA press release: 2009-1-2
  6. ^ Metro - Fares - Metrobus
  7. ^ Metro begins express bus service and other improvements to 16th Street Line WMATA press release: 2009-3-30
  8. ^ Hedgpeth, Dana (May 11, 2011). "Metro is putting its mind to saving energy". Washington Post: p. B1. 
  9. ^ "PlanIt Metro: Metrobus Priority Corridor Network Evaluation". WMATA. November 17, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-13. 

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