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Questions & Answers About Metro


Before I begin my trip, how can I find out if certain elevators or escalators are operating?

From time to time, customers will come across elevators or escalators that are not in operation. Most of those elevators or escalators are undergoing rehabilitation because they are nearing the end of their projected useful life. Others are being tested, checked or repaired. To find out if certain elevators or escalators are in service, check Elevator & Escalator Service Status on Your Station's Page or call 202-962-1212. Back To Top

How frequently are fares increased and why?

Revenue from passenger fares and other sources covers 55 percent of transit operating costs. The remainder comes from state and local governments and advertising. Metro has always sought to manage resources efficiently and to avoid fare increases. However, periodic fare increases are needed to offset higher costs for inflation in fuel, electricity, and health insurance. The last time fares were increased was in July 2014.    Back To Top

What goes into deciding how frequently buses run on routes?

Each local government purchases service from Metro. The frequency of service is determined by the number of people riding and the amount of service the local government funds.    Back To Top

Can I bring my dog on Metrorail and Metrobus?

Service animals that assist people with disabilities are the only animals permitted to ride unconfined on Metrorail and Metrobus. However, a pet may be transported on Metrorail and Metrobus, provided it is carried aboard in a secure container from which it cannot escape.    Back To Top

Can I eat or smoke on Metrorail or a Metrobus?

It is unlawful to eat, drink or smoke in the Metro system because of the labor and cost associated with maintaining the cleanliness of the transportation system as well as for safety reasons. Customers can be cited by Metro Transit Police for violating the no eating, no drinking, and no smoking rules. Back To Top

I can't always get into a Metro parking lot early in the morning. How about adding more parking?

Metro is one of the largest parking operators in the Washington region; but in some locations, demand for parking is greater than the available spaces. Several parking facilities have been expanded, and Metro is adding spaces at several other facilities. We recommend customers consider using bus service to stations where parking is limited. Parking on weekends and most federal holidays is free at Metro-owned facilities.    Back To Top

What do I need to know to build near Metro property?

Metro reviews designs and monitors construction of projects adjacent to Metrorail and Metrobus property, facilities, and operations, through its Office of Joint Development and Adjacent Construction. Please visit our Adjacent Construction Program page for complete information. Back To Top

What buses will operate out of the rebuilt Northern Bus Garage?

Approximately 150 buses will operate out of the new facility and will be a mix of clean diesel and hybrid-electric vehicles. This reduces the overall number of buses served at Northern Bus Garage from 175 to 150. The number of articulated buses will change from 20 to 75, providing additional capacity for the northern routes along Georgia Avenue, 16th Street, and Military road, serving over 40,000 riders. Metro will also install the infrastructure needed to house a future electric bus fleet.

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How do I find the quickest route to my destination?

Metro offers a free, Web-based service called the Trip Planner, which provides instant information that is accurate and up-to-the-minute. Type in where you're traveling from, where you're traveling to, and the time of day you plan to travel. The Trip Planner will offer up to three of the best routes and include fare information and walking directions from a Metrorail station or bus stop to a given address.

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What is a “Clean Diesel” bus?

“Clean diesel” is a type of diesel fuel that is highly refined to improved combustion efficiency and reduce harmful emissions. The term is often used interchangeably with ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD). Clean diesel buses result in lower particulate emissions and has 97% less sulfur. This ultra-low sulfur diesel, in addition to exhaust treatment devices, cuts particulate emissions substantially.

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What is a “Hybrid-Electric” bus?

A hybrid-electric bus is powered by an electric motor, and a smaller than normal conventional internal combustion engine. To achieve heightened efficiency, the battery-powered electric motor allows the combustion engine to operate at periods of maximum efficiency. The major components of a hybrid drive system include an internal combustion engine (ICE), a generator, a battery pack, and an electric motor. Ultra-low sulfur diesel (clean diesel) is the most common fuel used to power the combustion engine in hybrid-electric buses.

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How do the buses planned for the new facility compare environmentally with the rest of Metro’s bus fleet?

Metro’s bus fleet includes clean diesel, hybrid-electric, and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles. When Northern Bus Garage re-opens, it will house a fleet of Clean Diesel and Hybrid-Electric buses. Metro currently has a sustained bus procurement program to replace and retire 100 buses a year, with all replacement buses mandated to meet the EPA regulations for emissions standards.

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How can I keep my farecard working?

First, carry the card in a wallet, purse or elsewhere where it lies flat and remains clean and dry. Second, be careful to keep the farecard away from portable electronic devices, which can demagnetize farecards, making them unreadable. Demagnetization of farecards is a growing problem now that most people carry one or more electronic devices, including cellphones, iPods, PDAs, and handheld games. All such devices can generate magnetic fields and many can demagnetize farecards. Finally, take care not to place a farecard in a purse or wallet so that its magnetic strip rubs against that of a credit card or debit card. This can also demagnetize a farecard. Back To Top

What should I do if my farecard doesn't work?

See the station manager located in the kiosk. If the station manager can't correct the problem immediately, you'll be given a fare adjustment envelope to complete so that we can replace your farecard by mail.

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What is Metro’s plan for adding electric buses to its fleet?

Metro’s multi-phase plan for adding electric buses involves infrastructure planning and analysis, building the electric fleet and supportive infrastructure, and rolling out a pilot fleet. Metro is currently in the procurement process before building the fleet. The transition to zero-emission bus service requires significant regional investment and coordination. Metro is committed to working with regional partners to address these challenges and provide a more sustainable transportation future. For more information, please visit https://www.wmata.com/initiatives/sustainability/Zero-Emission-Bus-Update.cfm

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Where will the buses enter and exit the new facility?

When the new bus garage opens, buses will enter the garage on Buchanan Street, NW and exit onto 14th Street, NW.

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Why does Metro need a bus garage in the middle of a busy urban area?

Not only has the Northern Bus Garage been at its 14th Street, NW location since 1906, the current site is still the best location for Metro to serve multiple high ridership corridors, allowing local buses to receive fast support responses for maintenance and operations concerns, as well as reduce the distance buses travel to begin their routes in the morning and park at night without carrying any passengers (known as deadhead mileage).

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Can I bring my bicycle on Metrorail?

Bicycles are welcome on Metrorail during all hours; however, we encourage bicyclists to be considerate of other customers and adhere to these rules when traveling with a bicycle.

Bikes are not allowed on crowded railcars. Use good judgment and only board cars that can comfortably accommodate you and your bicycle. The middle cars are usually the most crowded, so consider boarding the first or last car of the train.

Do not block aisles or doors of the train.

Senior citizens and people with disabilities always have priority. You must make designated seating areas available if needed by another passenger.

When boarding the train, use the doors at either end of the railcar - not the center doors.

Bicycles may not be carried on escalators. Use elevators only.

Do not ride bicycles in stations, on platforms or on trains. While wheeling your bicycle, keep both wheels on the ground and the kickstand up.

Metro reserves the right to disallow bicycles during special events or other days where high ridership is expected.

For more details, see our
Bikes on Metrorail page.

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When is the construction planned to start and how long is it projected to take?

Demolition is scheduled to begin in winter 2020, with construction beginning in winter 2021 and continuing for approximately three years.

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What are the construction hours for the project?

The construction hours will comply with regulations established by the District of Columbia, which allows construction activities Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. without any special permits. It is anticipated that work at the Northern Bus Garage site may be completed as early as 4 p.m. each day. The construction team will obtain permits from the District for any work required on Sundays or holidays.

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During construction, do you anticipate any impact on current Metrobus service?

No, bus service will not be affected.

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What is the jurisdiction of the Metro Transit Police Department?

The Metro Transit Police Department has an authorized strength of 420 sworn officers, 106 security special police and 24 civilian personnel. Officers provide a variety of law enforcement and public safety services on the Metrorail and Metrobus systems in the Washington metropolitan area. Metro Transit Police officers have jurisdiction and arrest powers throughout the 1,500 square mile transit zone that includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia for crimes that occur on or against Metro facilities. The Metro Transit Police Department is the only tri-jurisdictional police agency in the country and the agency serves a population of 3.2 million.

Metro Transit Police officers are trained to the standards set for police in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Both uniformed and plainclothes officers patrol trains, buses, rail and bus stations, and parking lots. Radio dispatched scout cars respond to both rail and bus security issues. Metro also has a bicycle patrol, K-9 unit, motorcycle unit, and a Criminal Investigations Division.

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How safe is the Metro system compared to other U.S. transit systems?

The Metro system has an excellent reputation for being a safe transit system. Metro Transit Police officers in uniform and in plain clothes routinely patrol Metrobuses, Metrorail trains, stations, and parking lots. Nevertheless, emergency response plans are in place for a variety of crisis scenarios. If riders ever see anything suspicious, they are encouraged to call Metro Transit Police, who have forged strong partnerships with local jurisdictional police, at 202-962-2121.

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What will happen to the bus fleet while the facility is out of use?

The garage is currently closed, and the bus fleet has been distributed to other Metro bus garages.

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Will the building’s structural issues have an impact on construction and redevelopment plans?

No, the existing condition of the building will not limit or impact the redevelopment plans. The existing structure will be demolished, except for historic elements, such as the façade, which will be saved and refurbished.

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What should I do if I observe something unusual or suspicious, such as a suspicious package?

You should report any suspicious package or activity to a Metro employee or police officer. You should not go near an unattended item or handle it. On a train, you can use the emergency intercom at either end of the car to talk to the train operator. In a station, you can use the emergency intercom on platform pylons to talk to Metro personnel or call 911 on any pay phone. On a Metrobus, alert the bus operator. You can also call Metro Transit Police at 202-962-2121.

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What is Metro doing to help regional air quality?

Our entire 1,500 Metrobus fleet is eco-friendly: 439 buses run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), 117 buses run on advanced technology diesel, and 50 buses are diesel/electric hybrid. All remaining buses in the fleet have completed the Clean Fleet project, which includes the use of ultra low sulfur diesel fuel in conjunction with exhaust treatment devices to lower emissions.

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How will Metro address pedestrian safety during construction?

Some sidewalks in the vicinity of the garage may be closed. However, the site will maintain protected pedestrian pathways during construction.

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What environmental studies will be done to understand the extent of contamination from underground fuel tanks and maintenance operations?

Clark Construction, the contractor, is conducting a survey of soil and water in the garage that will characterize the nature and extent of contamination. This information will be used to ensure that the site is remediated properly and that materials removed from the site are managed properly. Metro is coordinating with the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE).

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Why do some rail cars feel hot in the summer and cold in the winter?

Metro trains have cooling and heating equipment, but it may feel warmer or colder on a rail car when the train doors open and close at stations, allowing cool or warm air to escape. Air conditioning units or heaters aboard the rail cars also might be broken. Passengers are urged to note the car number and report the problem to 202-637-1328.

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What is the schedule for future Metrorail expansion?

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) is the sponsor of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, which will extend Metrorail into the Dulles Corridor in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties. The 23.5-mile transit system will serve as a link between Metro's existing 106-mile Metrorail system and Loudoun County and provide service through Tysons Corner to Washington Dulles International Airport. Any other Metrorail extensions beyond the Dulles Corridor are being discussed locally.

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What cleanup efforts will occur ahead of the rebuild?

The specific “how” and “when” of any cleanup efforts will be determined upon completion of the environmental investigation.

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Will sufficient parking for bus facility employees be included in the redevelopment plan?

Yes, the new bus facility will include parking to meet the needs of Metro employees.

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Will community/business owner parking be included in the redevelopment plan to support the businesses along 14th Street, NW?

The redevelopment plan will include parking for Metro employees and employees of the retail tenants in the new bus garage. However, the project cannot provide parking for other businesses along this part of 14th Street, NW. This project will not permanently remove existing street parking that is currently situated along 14th Street, NW.

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Will parking along 14th Street, NW be lost during construction?

Some parking spaces may be temporarily unavailable due to construction requirements.

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Where will the contractors park during construction?

Metro’s contractors will be required to identify off-site parking for employees, which might include shuttling employees to the site.

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Will Decatur Street, NW reopen to local traffic?

No, the street will remain closed after the project is completed.

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What commercial development is planned for the street level? What businesses might be appropriate to occupy the commercial spaces?

Metro has hired Streetsense, a retail strategy firm, to determine what types of tenants Metro could attract and that would be compatible with the neighborhood. Based on Streetsense’s recommendations, Metro will pursue neighborhood-serving retail (ex. small format grocer, drug store, coffee shop, fitness/gym, restaurants, gift stores), as well as reach out to not-for-profits if Metro is not able to secure retail tenants. The commercial space will be one-story.

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How will Metro keep the community informed about the project?

Since the beginning of 2019, Metro and the developer have hosted five community meetings to inform residents of the scope and progress of the Northern Bus Garage project. As the project progresses, updates will be shared with the community through the website, email listserv, local community and ANC meetings and signage around the site. Those interested in updates about the project and notice for upcoming meetings are encouraged to sign up for the email listserv.

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Will the community have any opportunity to interface with Metro while design decisions are being made?

The D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) will have a significant role in approving design of the project because of the historic façade of the existing building. The HPRB review process is open to the public and provides the community an opportunity to comment on the design of the project. In addition, Metro will share design progress during its quarterly project meetings. Back To Top