Bus & Rail Crowding Information

Metro wants customers to feel comfortable when choosing to ride bus or rail, and we are committed to doing our part for the health and safety of our customers and employees.

Metro is pleased to introduce real-time crowding information for Metrobus customers.  This information gives customers an estimation of how many people are on the bus before it arrives.  Customers may find this information when looking up when their next bus is arriving at buseta.wmata.com and in our open data feed for third-party transit and mapping applications like Google Maps.

Metrorail crowding predictions will also be available in our data feed to third-party transit and mapping applications, however the predictions are based on historical crowding data, not real-time.

How it works

Every Metrobus in our fleet is equipped with "automatic passenger counters" (or APCs).  These sensors at the front and rear doors of the bus provide us estimates of the number of people who get on or get off the bus every time the doors open.

Our Metrorail fleet does not have the same APC technology as our buses do, so we take historical data to estimate crowding of a train at a particular stop.

How crowded is my bus or train?

Crowding information is shown in one of three categories:

Not Crowded Not Crowded
Bus less than 40% occupied
Rail car less than 50% occupied

Some Crowding Some Crowding
Bus 40-75% occupied
Rail car 50-85% occupied

Crowded Crowded
Bus is occupied 75% or greater
Rail car is occupied 85% or greater

Helpful guide for our crowding definitions:

  • Not crowded:  likely to have the seating area to yourself
  • Some crowding: likely to have another person next to you or the possibility of standing
  • Crowded: no open seats likely, high chance of standing

Metro reserves the opportunity to temporarily suspend crowding data from our data feed and website for large-scale events, unplanned service disruptions, or significant track work where this information may become unreliable to customers.

Here's an example of how crowding information displays on BusETA.

real time crowding information on busETA

Metro wants to hear how our crowding information helped your ride. Please share your experience with us by using the Customer Service comment form.