Milestones & History

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) was created by an interstate compact in 1967 to plan, develop, build, finance, and operate a balanced regional transportation system in the national capital area. 

Metro began building its rail system in 1969, acquired four regional bus systems in 1973, and began operating the first phase of Metrorail in 1976. The paratransit service, MetroAccess, began in 1994.

Today, Metrorail serves 98 stations and has 128 miles of track. Metrobus serves the nation's capital 24 hours a day, seven days a week with 1,500 buses. Metrorail and Metrobus serve a population of approximately 4 million within a 1,500-square mile jurisdiction.

Learn more about current Metro Leadership

Metro history and milestones

2023: Celebrating 50 Years of Metrobus

1976 Metro Owner's Manual: This 20-page instruction guide was a Metro advertising insert included in the Washington Star on March 21, 1976 -- a week before Metrorail opened. It told new customers how to use and take care of the system.