Free rides on Metrobus ending in January

Passengers have been able to ride Metrobus for free since early in the pandemic, but that will change in a few weeks.

Starting in late March, Metro waived fares on buses, and required riders to board through the rear door.

It was a safety move to prevent the spread of COVID-19, because bus drivers and fare boxes are in the front of buses.

Metro has announced it will start collecting fares and allowing front-door boarding again, on Sunday, Jan. 3.

General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said boarding in front is safe again because drivers and passengers are required to wear masks and buses get extra cleaning every day.

And then there’s the money issue.

“We also need to collect fares from every rider to keep essential Metro transit employees working and continue to provide essential service,” Wiedefeld said in a statement.

Metro is facing a nearly $500 million budget deficit, and is considering drastic service cuts.

The announcement of potential layoffs and service reductions have been met with criticism from metro leadership and local leaders alike.

Starting Jan. 3 the cost to ride Metrobus will be $2 per trip, or less if you buy a 7-day unlimited pass for $15.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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