WMATA announced that Metrobus will return to regular weekday service starting Monday, Feb. 7.
Metrobus has been operating on a modified Saturday schedule since Jan 10, citing COVID-related staffing shortages. Buses were running at about 75 percent of the normal weekday service.
With Metrorail 7000-series cars, which make up 60 percent of the fleet, still pulled from service due to inspection issues, District residents were even more reliant on buses before service was reduced.
On Jan. 10, District Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment sent a letter to WMATA requesting the restoration of regular weekday service. The letter describes residents waiting for long periods of time in the cold for unknown periods, and parents who were called to collect their students dependent on Metrobus to get to school when buses did not come.
According to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Bus Priority Plan, Metrobus served up to two or three times as many riders as Metrorail daily during the COVID pandemic; prior to the pandemic, the report said, bus ridership was slightly lower than for Metrorail.
While Metro is still experiencing above-average absenteeism overall, WMATA said case rates are declining and employees are returning to work following quarantine.
“I want to thank our customers for their patience as we took swift action to protect the health and safety of riders and employees in the face of the unprecedented COVID surge, which has impacted about 10 percent of our workforce since the holidays,” said WMATA CEO/GM Paul J. Wiedefeld.
Metro says they are working to identify exact staffing levels at each bus division to schedule shifts and re-mobilize the bus fleet. Once regular Metrobus service has resumed, some trips may still need to be adjusted based on employee availability each day. In a release, WMATA said they will strategically deploy additional buses when possible to help increase capacity on busy lines.
Get updates on service changes via MetroAlerts text and email messages, on the Status and Alerts page at wmata.com, and through @MetrobusInfo and @