Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Metrobus (Washington, D.C.)

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Daily ridership
424,100 (Q2 2016)


Washington, D.C.



Metrobus (Washington, D.C.) wwwmdtriporgdefaultassetsImageMapsmetrobus

Washington Metropolitan Area

Service area
Washington Metropolitan Area

Service type
Local, Express, Limited Stop & Bus Rapid Transit

Fuel types
Diesel fuel, Diesel-electric transmission, Compressed natural gas

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 more than 300 bus routes serving 12,216 stops, including 2,398 bus shelters. In fiscal year 2009 Metrobus provided more than 133 million trips. On a typical weekday, it provides more than 424,000 trips.


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.


As of June 29, 2014, the Metrobus fare structure is as follows:

  • Local bus within the District of Columbia, Central Maryland and Northern Virginia, (except as noted below): $1.75 (using cash & SmarTrip)
  • Express bus: $4 (using cash & SmarTrip)
  • Express Airport buses 5A and B30: $7
  • Discounts may be available for senior citizens, people with disabilities and DC students.(*must have valid ID)

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

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

    Transfers and passes

    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. Effective 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 must pay full fare upon boarding the bus. On June 27, 2010, the transfer window was reduced from 3 hours to 2 hours.


    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 Active fleet

    Metro has currently awarded a five-year contract with NABI (now New Flyer) for 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. 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. 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 297 diesel buses, 800 hybrid buses and 458 natural gas fueled buses.

    On Order

  • Note: In 2015, the rest of the NABI BRT order was converted to the New Flyer Xcelsior order, due to New Flyer discontinuing production of its NABI-branded buses.
  • Note: Also, the numbering for the 2017 New Flyer XN40 buses is to be determined.
  • Retired fleet

  • 1974-1975 AM General Metropolitans #7000-7619 (Retired in early 1990s).
  • 1983 M.A.N Articulated Buses #5101-5133 (Retired in 2003-2004).
  • 1983-1984 Neoplan USA AN440A #9500-9576 (Retired in early 1990s).
  • 1976-1978 Flxible New Looks #8000-8661 (Retired in 1996-1997)
  • 1988 Gillig Corporation|Gillig Phantoms #5080-5099 (Retired in 2001)
  • 1959-1974 GMC Fishbowls #1000-6718. 1461 is preserved at Landover Division, 6481 is at the Sea Shore Trolley Museum. (Last units retired in early 2000s).
  • 1953 GMC Old Looks #1912 Preserved at Landover Division
  • 1979 GMC RTS II #9001-9111, 9113-9115. 9112 is preserved and used for rodeo touring purposes at Landover. (Retired in 2001)
  • 1986-1987 Flxible Metro A #8700-8799, 8950-8975 (without wheelchair lifts), 8800-8922 (with wheelchair lifts)(Retired in 2004-2006)
  • 1988 Flxible Metro B #9201-9239 (with wheelchair lifts), 9251-9289 (without wheelchair lifts)(Retired in 2005-2006)
  • 1989 Flxible Metro B #5151-5185 (30 ft)(Retired in 2006)
  • 1990 Flxible Metro B #9301-9413 (40 ft with wheelchair lifts)(Retired in 2010-2011)
  • 1990 Flxible Metro B #9421-9463 (40 ft without wheelchair lifts)(Retired in 2006-2007)
  • 1991 Flxible Metro B #9480-9498 (35 ft)(Retired in 2009)
  • 1993 Flxible Metro D #9701-9703, 9705-9785 (Retired in 2009,9704 was repainted as a Rodeo Bus, but is now retired.)
  • 1994 Flxible Metro D #9801-9835 (Retired in 2010)
  • 1995 Flxible Metro E #4001-4104 (Retired in 2010)
  • 1992 Orion V #9601-9660 (Retired in 2008)
  • 1999 Orion V 30 ft #3900-3950 (Retired in 2013, 2014 From Ride-On)
  • 2000 Orion VI #2000-2099 (Retired in 2012)
  • 1999-2000 Orion II #3701-3742 (Retired in 2009).
  • 1995 Nabi American Ikarus Articulated Buses #5201-5245 (Retired in 2011)
  • 2002 Neoplan USA AN460A #5301-5321 (Retired in 2015-2016)
  • 1997-1998 Orion V #4200-4412 (Retired in 2011-2016) (4271 was repainted into the Metro 4th Generation paint scheme, similar to the Neoplan 4th generation paint scheme style, only used for rodeo purposes at Landover division; 4408 & 4412 are being used as training vehicles.)
  • 2001-2002 New Flyer C40LF #2300-2464 (Retired in 2016)
  • Divisions

    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 two are being planned to open soon.

    Richmond Highway Express

    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 2010 New Flyer DE40LFA diesel-electric hybrid buses (6550-6561) painted in a blue-and-gold paint scheme, all of which operate out of the Shepherd Parkway division. REX began service on September 26, 2004, replacing parts of the now-former route 9A (which operated between Huntington station and Pentagon until it was eliminated June 26, 2016). 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 Orion 07.501 CNG buses arrived in 2006. The previous "REX" fleet consisted of 12 2006 Orion 07.501 (VII) CNG buses (2674-2685) painted in the blue-and-gold paint scheme, until they were all repainted between June and August 2014.


    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 16 2007 New Flyer C40LFR CNG buses (2801-2816), 15 2011 New Flyer Xcelsior XDE40 diesel-electric hybrid buses (7086-7100), 49 2009 New Flyer DE40LFA diesel-electric hybrid buses (6413-6461), 32 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 2677-2685) 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, G9 and W9. MetroExtra costs the same fare as Metrobus $1.75 (using cash & SmarTrip). MetroExtra operates from Bladensburg, Montgomery, Northern, Four Mile Run and Shepherd Parkway Divisions.


    Metroway is a premium transit service that began on August 24, 2014. The first phase is the Crystal City/Potomac Yard Transitway, which operates on Route 1 in Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia. It is a 5-mile corridor with 33 platforms and 20 station located between Pentagon City and Braddock Road. The first 0.8 mile segment in Alexandria runs on a transit lane only. The Arlington County segment began construction in the summer of 2014 and opened April 17, 2016. Metroway originally operated between Braddock Road Station and Crystal City and was expanded to Pentagon City in April 2016. Thirteen 2016 New Flyer Xcelsior XN40 CNG buses (2981-2993) operate with the blue-and-white Metroway livery. The original Metroway fleet consisted of thirteen 2014 NABI 42 BRT diesel-electric hybrid buses (8002-8014) until they were all repainted in December 2016. The Metroway service, which is operated by Metrobus' Four Mile Run bus division, features dedicated bus lanes, transit signal priority, off-board fare collection, real-time information, boarding at all doors, custom designed shelters and stations, as well as near-level boarding at station platforms. A Metroway fare costs the same as Metrobus, which is $1.75 (using cash & SmarTrip).


    Metrobus (Washington, D.C.) Wikipedia

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