Coronavirus response: Metro and other transit changes in DC, Md. and Va.

Transit services in D.C., Maryland and Virginia are making significant changes to their schedules and have stepped up cleaning efforts in response to coronavirus pandemic.

Major Metro service cuts

Metro has reduced service as ridership has fallen.

On weekdays, trains will now run every 15 minutes on the Red Line and every 20 minutes on all other lines, between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.

On weekends, trains will now operate every 20 minutes on the Red Line, every 36 minutes on the Orange Line and 30 minutes on all other lines.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Nineteen of Metro’s 91 rail stations are closed until further notice.

Trains will pass through the stations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia without stopping, but trains will serve the stations that are open.

Metrobuses are running on a modified schedule, 5 a.m. to 11p.m. Monday through Friday, plus 8 a.m. through 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with no supplemental routes.

Bus drivers will have the authority to bypass bus stops to “maintain safe social distancing aboard buses,” Metro said. The final bus trips will begin at or before 11 p.m. each weeknight.

On weekends, only 27 bus routes will run on reduced schedules.

Metro is waiving fare payment for Metrobus customers. Bus riders are asked to enter and exit the bus using the rear door at all times, except anyone needing the ADA boarding ramp, or anyone requesting the bus to “kneel” to ease their boarding.

In addition, Metro said it is running all eight-car trains — the maximum possible length — “to help maintain social distancing between customers.” Each train’s first and last cars are “out of service” in an effort by Metro to protect train operators.

The MetroAccess service continues operation, mirroring the same hours as rail and bus services.

The transit agency is also asking customers to wear cloth face masks when riding buses, trains, MetroAccess vehicles and using rail stations bus terminals and other transit facilities.

Metro’s website emphasizes that if a customer is sick and needs to see a health care provider, “make transportation arrangements that do not involve public transportation.”

More Coronavirus News

Other train service

  • Virginia Railway Express: VRE is operating on its reduced “S” schedule indefinitely due to the coronavirus-related drop in ridership.
  • Maryland MARC: The Maryland Transit Administration is further scaling back service on the Marc train and Commuter Bus service citing steep ridership drops. MARC ridership is down 96% and Commuter Bus Service is down 94%.
    • Since April 13, the MARC’s current “R” schedule was cut even further by eliminating select trains on all lines — Penn, Camden and Brunswick.
    • On the Commuter Bus, 13 routes will continue to operate on an “S” schedule, but 22 routes will see service reductions and service on route 204 will be eliminated entirely.
    • See the complete list of service modifications on the MTA website
  • Amtrak: Northeast Corridor services are operating at about 40% of their typical weekday schedule. Northeast Regional and Acela lines will still operate between Boston, New York, and D.C., but with some reductions in frequencies for certain markets. Nonstop Acela service between D.C. and New York is canceled through late May.


  • DC Circulator: The bus service now operates 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The Circulator should be used for essential trips only. Late-night service has been temporarily suspended through the end of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s declared public emergency in effect through May 15. Service is suspended on the National Mall route. The District Department of Transportation also suspended fares on all Circulator routes, and riders should get on and off the bus through the rear door unless they need to use the boarding ramp.
  • Ride On and Ride On extra: Ride On bus service has be reduced to an Essential Service Plan. Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation expects buses will be delayed and encourages users to check the status of their usual buses before leaving for their bus stop. Ride On follows a new reduced service plan that maintains coverage of Ride On routes so that residents can access food, essential services and essential jobs. Passengers are now required to board at the rear door of the bus. Passengers can board through the front doors if a lift is needed to accommodate a disability or stroller. During the emergency, all Ride On services will be temporarily free to all passengers. Flex service is suspended.
  • The Bus: The Prince George’s County system is operating modified hourly service, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., on routes 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 33, 35, 36, and 37. Remaining county bus lines have been suspended. The routes still running will be free. Riders will only be allowed to enter using the rear doors, to limit contact with the driver. However, exceptions will be made for people with disabilities or those with strollers.
  • DASH: Buses are operating on an enhanced Sunday schedule during weekdays and weekends. The King Street Trolley has been suspended. While the Eisenhower Avenue and Van Dorn Metrorail stations remain closed, buses will continue to pickup and drop-off passengers at the stations. Alternative routes are being offered for passengers impacted by the station closures. DASH has temporarily eliminated fares on all buses until further notice and switched to rear-door boarding.
  • ART: Operating on a reduced schedule. ART 41, 42, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87 are running on a Saturday schedule. ART 42 and 87 will end at the Pentagon instead of Pentagon City, ART 45 will start an hour early at 6:30 a.m. and ART 43 will run every 20 minutes from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. along its weekday route. All other routes are suspended. STAR service is running as normal.
  • PRTC OmniRide: Local and Metro Express services will be free to limit interactions between the driver, fare box and riders. Changes have been made to some of the Express commuter bus routes, due to low ridership. OmniRide Express services will still have fares, but there will not be a cash option or the option to reload a SmarTrip with cash on a bus. The main lobby of the OmniRide Transit Center is also closed.
  • Fairfax Connector: Regular service is available on 38 routes. There’s reduced service on 14 routes and suspended service on 39 routes. Customers are required to enter and exit buses using the rear doors, except when a wheelchair ramp is needed to board. Bus fare collection is suspended.
  • FRED Transit‘s VRE Feeder Bus Service is running on modified schedule. All Eagle Express bus service has been suspended and is schedule to resume in August.

MVA and DMVs


All the MDOT MVA locations closed indefinitely. All driver’s licenses are extended for 30 days after the lifting of Maryland’s state of emergency. Some services, however, can still be completed online.


All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles offices are closed until at least April 23. Driver’s licenses due to to expire between March 15 and May 15 are extended 60 days from date of expiration. Some services can be completed online.

E-ZPass Virginia walk-in service centers will be closed through at least April 23.


The District’s Department of Motor Vehicles has closed all in-person service locations but there are limited services available online.

Road changes


The Maryland Transportation Authority moved to all-cashless tolling statewide to limit interaction between the public and toll collectors. In the lanes normally set aside for cash payment, there will be video tolling. Drivers who usually pay with cash will instead be mailed notices.


D.C. is changing reversible road rules to keep Connecticut Avenue and 16th Street Northwest in weekend mode at all times. Independence Avenue will still run with weekday lane reversals though.

One-way rush hour reversals are still taking place on Rock Creek Parkway, Canal Road and Clara Barton Parkway.

As part of these changes, the District is not going to enforce rush hour parking restrictions until further notice.


In Virginia, it’s business as usual when it comes to construction work, maintenance, HOV rules and lane closures. Virginia rest areas remain open — with extra disinfecting.

The Dulles Greenway will have no cash toll collection effective Thursday, April 2nd. Motorists traveling on the road must pay with a credit card or EZ-Pass transponder.


Parking meter rules do still apply in D.C.

D.C. and Alexandria have already halted street sweeping.

Alexandria is also waiving time restrictions for the general public in all residential parking zones as well as the rule requiring cars parked on the street to be moved every 72 hours.

Alexandria will also waive the requirements to display a valid state inspection sticker.

Weekend time restrictions and meter fees on blocks with pay stations have been suspended on weekends in Alexandria, but weekday fees and restrictions remain.

Several localities are expanding loading zones to handle increases in pickups, takeout orders and deliveries.

Montgomery County, Maryland said drivers are encouraged to follow normal rules when parking during coronavirus closures. Restricted area parking violations, disabled parking and safety-related violations will be strictly enforced.

However, parking meter enforcement has been relaxed in areas where businesses remain open for quick pickups. This includes restaurants, pharmacies and grocery stores.

Enforcement has been suspended in residential permit zones with non-metered, on-street parking.

Free temporary parking will be available at the Bonifant/Dixon Garage in Silver Spring and the Auburn/Del Ray Garage in Bethesda, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation said.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at, part of Government Executive Media Group.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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