The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced bus transfer lights will alert Metrobus operators when a train is approaching a station during off-peak hours (9 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. - midnight), allowing them to delay the bus’s departure to give customers time to make a connection to their bus.
The bus transfer lights will be located near select bus stops and will serve lower-frequency routes, where missing a bus by a few minutes may delay an important trip by 30 minutes to an hour.
How the Bus Transfer Lights Work
When the system detects a train approaching a station close to the bus’s departure time, the light will serve as a signal to bus operators to delay their departure by up to five minutes to give customers time to make it from the platform to the bus stop.
Efficient rail-to-bus transfers will also reduce wait times during nighttime hours when some customers are outside for extended periods.
Testing of the system will begin July 15 at Greenbelt, where a light will signal to bus operators on the C2 route of incoming trains near the time of a bus’s scheduled departure.
Following system testing at Greenbelt’s C2 stop and a training and awareness campaign for Metrobus personnel, WMATA plans to activate lights at additional stations in the future where existing infrastructure allows.
WMATA is initially targeting the implementation of transfer lights to bus routes with headways of greater than 30 minutes, and the lights will be active from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – midnight daily.