Metrobus (Washington, D.C.)

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WMATA Metrobus
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 320[1]
Fleet 1,480[2]
Daily ridership 439,424 (August 2009 weekday average)[3]
Fuel type Diesel, Diesel-electric Hybrid, CNG
Operator WMATA
Chief executive Richard Sarles

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 the District of Columbia, Central Maryland, and Northern Virginia, (except as noted below): $1.80 (using cash) $1.60 (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[edit]

A Metrobus operating the 23A northbound route is seen driving on North Glebe Road in Arlington County, Virginia.

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, Fairfax Connector, or Ride-On)
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)
Ride-On (except route 70)
Free $1.75 N/A
Fairfax Connector routes 380, 595, 597
Ride-On route 70
Metrobus express routes
PRTC OmniRide
Free Free N/A
The Bus
Free $1.75 N/A


  1. Local Buses: Metrobus local routes, Ride-On (except route 70), 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, Ride-On route 70, Fairfax Connector routes 380, 595, and 597.

Current fleet[edit]

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

Metro has currently award a five-year contract with NABI the procurement of up to 654 new buses. The first batch of 85 NABI diesel-electric hybrid 42-foot buses is already on order, with delivery expected within a year. The new buses will replace some of Metro’s older Orion V buses, which were delivered in 1997 and 2000. Going forward, the contract gives Metro the option to order up to 498 additional 42-foot buses and up to 71 60-foot buses over the five-year period. Metro has the option to choose diesel-electric or compressed natural gas (CNG) buses for the 42-foot models. Metro is currently in the process of having 52 new Orion Bus Industries VII 3G, Bus rapid transit style Hybrid and Diesel buses delivered. These new buses will be painted in a Red/Silver (Local) paint scheme. In addition, WMATA is also purchasing 95-100 additional New Flyer XDE40 buses to replace the 2000 Orion VIs and most of the 1997 Orion Vs. 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 "MetroExtra" 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, most Maryland letters is "prefix" to the route number and Virginia letters is "suffix" to the "number" of the route. For example: C22 (Maryland) and 15L (Virginia). 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]

Order Year Maker Model Picture Fuel Propulsion Engine/Transmission & Notes Fleet
1997–00 OBI 05.501
WMATA Orion 5 4264.JPG Diesel
  1. About 200 1997-2000 Orion Vs remain.
  • To be retired in 2015.
2001-02 NFI C40LF
WMATA New Flyer C40LF 2393
  • Cummins C-Gas Plus
    • Allison WB-400R
  • * To be retired in 2015.
  • * 161 units remain in service.
  • * Buses #2336 and #2406 are now retired.
  • Bus #2463 is Out Of Service
2002 Neoplan
AN-460A Neoplan artic.jpg Diesel 5301-5321
2005 NFI DE40LF WMATA 6004.jpg Diesel-electric Hybrid 6001-6039
2005 OBI 07.501 (VII) WMATA Orion VII 2632 bus.jpg CNG 2501-2615
2006 07.501 (VII) 2616-2685
2006 NFI DE40LFR WMATA New Flyer hybrid, gray paint scheme.jpg Diesel-electric Hybrid 6040-6050
2006 D40LFR WMATA 6214 B30.jpg Diesel
  1. Bus #6206 is retired due to an accident in late 2011.
2006 OBI 07.503 (VII) WMATA 3006.jpg CNG
  • Cummins Westport C-Gas Plus
    • Voith DIWA 864.3
2007 NFI C40LFR WMATA New Flyer 2817 Express Scheme.jpg
  • Cummins Westport C-Gas Plus
    • Voith DIWA 864.3
2008 NABI 60-BRT Articulated Metrobus DC 2010 10 546.jpg 5401-5422
2008 NFI DE42LFA WMATA New Flyer 6411 B30.jpg Diesel-electric Hybrid
  • Cummins ISL
    • Allison EP-40 Hybrid System
2009 DE62LFA 5431-5452
2009 DE37LFA
WMATA New Flyer DE37LFA 3769
  • Cummins ISL
    • Allison EP-40 Hybrid System
2010 DE42LFA WMATA Metrobus 6567.jpg
  • Cummins ISL
    • Allison EP-40 Hybrid System
  • Bus #6487 is Out Of Service
2010-11 DE42LFA
  • Cummins ISL
    • Allison EP-40 Hybrid System'
2011-13 XDE40
WMATA New Flyer XDE40 7006
  1. To replace all 2000 Orion VIs and most 1997 Orion Vs.
  • Bus #7138 is Out of Service
2012 OBI 07.503 (VII)
  • Cummins ISB6.7
    • BAE Systems HybriDrive
  1. To replace all 1999 Orion Vs.
2012 07.503 (VII)
  • Cummins ISL9
    • Allison WB-400R

On Order[edit]

Order Year Maker Model Fuel Propulsion Engine/Transmission Fleet
2014 NABI 42-BRT Diesel-electric Hybrid
  • TBD
  • Delivered by June 2014
  • To replace Orion V
2015 42-BRT
  • TBD
  • To replace Orion V
2015 60-BRT
  • TBD
  • To replace Neoplan AN460A
2017 42-BRT
  • TBD
  • To replace Orion V
2016-19 42-BRT CNG
  • TBD
  • To replace New Flyer C40LF


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. Depots, garages, yards or lots) in the Metrobus system. Two of them are open on weekdays only and 1 is being planned to open soon.

  • Full-time (Open 24/hour or seven-days-a-week):
  1. Bladensburg (B) - Located at 2251 26th Street NE, in the District. Largest lot in the system. This garage handles some Southern Avenue Annex routes on the weekends and is a CNG depot.
  2. 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 Royal Street and West Ox division routes on the weekends and is a CNG depot.
  3. Landover (L) - Located at 3503 Pennsy Drive in Landover.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Shepherd Parkway (S) - Located at 2 DC Village Lane SW. This garage, which replaced the Southeastern division, handles some Southern Avenue Annex routes on the weekends.
  7. Western (W) - Located on 5230 Wisconsin Avenue, NW in the Friendship Heights neighborhood of the District.
  • Part-time (Open weekdays only):
  1. 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.
  2. Southern Avenue Annex (P) - Located in the Maryland/District of Columbia border line. Reverted to weekdays only, after Shepherd Parkway opened at the end of September 2012.
  3. Royal Street (R) - Located at 600 North Royal Street in Alexandria.
  • Future:
  1. Cinder Bed Road - Planned to replace Royal Street division.

Limited-stop routes[edit]


  • Columbia Pike (16X, 16Y)
  • 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)
  • New Hamphire Avenue (K9)
  • Martin Luther King Jr Avenue (A9)
  • St. Elizabeth's/ M Street SW / South Capitol Street SW (W9)

NOTE: Routes bolded and in parentheses


  • Potomac Yard
  • Southern Avenue / National Harbor
  • Veirs Mill Road
  • Eastover / Addison Road
  • Little River Turnpike / Duke Street
  • Hunting Point - Ballston
  • 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[9]

Richmond Highway Express[edit]

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 now-retired 2000 Orion 06.501 (VI) buses wrapped (but not painted) in blue-and-gold paint scheme before the aforementioned newest Orion 07.501 CNG buses arrived in 2006.


MetroExtra is a Limited-Stop Metrobus service, which operates on Metrobus lines that need extra service and faster service. MetroExtra started service on March 19, 2007 with the 79 that operates from Silver Spring station to Archives station, operating on the 7th Street/Georgia Avenue (DC) corridor. The MetroExtra fleet consists of 25 2007 New Flyer C40LFR CNG buses (2801-2825), 10 2011 New Flyer Xcelsior XDE40 diesel-electric hybrid buses (7091-7100), 1 2002 New Flyer C40LF CNG bus (2464), 48 2009 New Flyer DE42LFA diesel-electric hybrid buses (6413-6422 & 6424-6461), 23 2005-2006 Orion VII CNG buses (2528, 2563, 2603, 2616, 2626-2629, 2636, 2640, 2641, 2643, 2644, 2646, 2647, 2650, 2651, 2655, 2663, 2665, 2668, 2670 & 2671) and 1 2006 New Flyer DE40LFR diesel-electric hybrid bus (6040). MetroExtra buses are painted in the silver and blue scheme. MetroExtra operates 12 bus routes: 16X, 16Y, 79, 37, 39, S9, J4, 28X, X9, A9, K9 and W9. MetroExtra costs the same fare as Metrobus ($1.60 SmarTrip, $1.80 cash). MetroExtra operates from Bladensburg, Montgomery, Western, Northern, West Ox, Four Mile Run, and Shepherd Parkway Depots.

See also[edit]


  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.