Waiting for a Metrobus that never shows? Not after recent upgrades

Have you ever been at a Metrobus stop and checked an app or a notification sign to see when the next bus will come, but the bus never shows up? That’s called a “ghost bus,” and the transit agency says upgrades to its tracking system will eliminate the problem.

According to data from Metro Hero, around 12% of scheduled Metrobuses never showed up at their spots this year. 

The agency announced Friday that it has updated its GPS tracking system to give riders better location data on where the next bus is located and how long it will take to get to their stop, while eliminating the dreaded ghost bus. 

Previously, buses that were taken out of service for repairs, driver shortages or any other reason still appeared on their busETA site, frustrating customers when they wouldn’t show up. 

The improved data, which will be fed to third-party apps such as Google Maps and Transit, will eliminate those pulled buses from showing up on the schedule. 

WTOP tracked buses on three separate lines — the D2, 33 and 31 — and monitored stops on Wisconsin Avenue and Benton Avenue in Northwest D.C. All buses that appeared on the busETA  showed up with three minutes of the scheduled time. 

“These upgrades to busETA are part of our commitment to listen to customer concerns and work as hard as possible to improve their experience using Metro,” said Metro Senior Vice President of Bus Services Leroy Jones in a release. “Ghost buses are one of the biggest frustrations we hear about the Metrobus experience, and this change will help take the guesswork out of planning your trip.”

Similar updates will roll out to bus stop displays in the coming weeks. 

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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