The Metro System

Metrobus, Metrorail, MetroAccess

Photo: Metro escalatorThe Metro system is the regional bus and rail public transit system in the Washington, D.C. area, operating in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland. Cities and counties in the area contribute to the cost of operation. The Metro System is administered by The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). WMATA is often referred to simply as "Metro."

Metrobus is the area's regional bus service and the fifth largest bus system in the United States, with a fleet of over 1450 buses operating on approximately 350 routes. Local jurisdictions also have their own local bus systems to supplement Metrobus. Arlington is served by these Metrobus routes.

Metrorail is the regional subway system, often referred to simply as "Metro." The Metrorail system comprises five color-coded lines: blue, green, orange, red and yellow. The lines intersect at various points, making it possible for passengers to change trains and travel anywhere on the system. Service frequency varies according to day and time from a low of 15 minutes between trains on weekend evenings to a high of 3 minutes between trains in the peak of the rush hour period.

MetroAccess is Metro's curb-to-curb paratransit service, complementing Metrorail, Metrobus and local bus service for people with disabilities. Find out more about MetroAccess. In Arlington, also see STAR-Specialized Transit for Arlington Residents for paratransit service.

SmarTrip and SmartBenefits

A SmarTrip® card is a convenient way to pay fares and save money using a rechargeable plastic farecard.  SmarTrip is accepted on Metrorail, Metrobus, local bus systems, and some commuter buses. SmartBenefits® is a program that allows employers to assign commuting benefits directly to employees' SmarTrip cards. Find out more about SmarTrip and SmartBenefits.

Guaranteed Ride Home

If you use the Metro System to commute, you may be eligible for Commuter Connections' Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH). GRH provides free taxi rides home when the unexpected happens. Guaranteed Ride Home is also available to commuters who use other commuting alternatives, such as carpooling or bicycling. More about the Guaranteed Ride Home Program.

Did You Know?

The average person loses 13 lbs. their first year of commuting by bike.

League of American Cyclists

News Headlines
Who rides a bike in D.C.?

Canaan Merchant, December 18, 2014, GGW

Metro begins testing of real-time bus arrival signs

December 18, 2014, WMATA

Arlington's streetcar is dead. Now what?

Rachel Kaufman, December 18, 2014, Next City

New Metro signage confuses riders

Adam Tuss, December 17, 2014, NBC Washington

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