Metro News Release

For immediate release: March 19, 2007

New MetroExtra provides faster Metrobus service along Georgia Avenue

A new blue bus traveled up and down Georgia Avenue today as Metro launched a rush-hour bus line that provides more frequent service and reduces travel times along the heavily-used corridor. The MetroExtra route 79 service operates from Silver Spring to downtown Washington, D.C., mainly along Georgia Avenue and Seventh Street, NW, during the morning and afternoon peak travel periods. Metro developed the new bus route in partnership with the District of Columbia Department of Transportation.

MetroExtra will run every 10 minutes between 6 and 9:30 a.m. and 3 and 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, make limited stops, and benefit from traffic signal priority at select intersections, reducing travel times by approximately 15 percent. (See timetable.)

MetroExtra customers will also see new bus shelters equipped with Next Bus information in the coming weeks. The Next Bus technology provides real-time bus arrival information. The first new shelter, provided through the District of Columbia’s contract with Clear Channel, was placed at 7th and T Streets NW.

The MetroExtra route 79 service makes only 15 stops on a one-way trip from the Silver Spring Metrorail station to 9th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, compared with 54 stops made by Metrobus routes 70 and 71 (Georgia Ave—7th Street Line) that provide local bus service along the same route.

The new bus service is intended to supplement existing Metrobus 70 and 71 service—the second most heavily traveled Metrobus route, with an average of more than 18,000 riders each weekday. The new MetroExtra service may also benefit riders who use the local 70 and 71 lines by reducing crowding on their buses.

“We’re excited to introduce MetroExtra, which will provide more service and reduce travel times for Metrobus riders who travel along Georgia Avenue to downtown Washington. We hope it saves our customers precious minutes and gives them extra time to get where they need to go,” said Metro General Manager John Catoe.

“The new MetroExtra will be faster than a regular Metrobus and let our customers zip up and down Georgia Avenue with ease during the height of rush hour,” said Board Member and DC City Councilmember Jim Graham.

“MetroExtra is a great new service developed by the District of Columbia and Metro and is part of the District’s Great Streets initiative to revitalize several corridors in the city, partly through improving bus service, stops and shelters,” said Metro Board Member Emeka Moneme, who is also the Director of the District Department of Transportation.

“The new MetroExtra service is one way that we’re improving bus service to make Metrobus a more convenient, attractive and preferred way to travel throughout the region. Metro purchased new buses for the Metro Extra service and gave them a bold, blue color scheme to make the service easy to recognize,” said Catoe.

MetroExtra buses have a distinct look and logo, and bus stops along the new route are identified with unique MetroExtra bus stop flags so that passengers know where to catch the new service. Unlike the traditional white Metrobus with red and blue detailing, MetroExtra buses feature a mostly blue body with the white and red MetroExtra logo. At locations where both MetroExtra and the local Metrobus 70 and 71 share stops, passengers will see both bus stop flags.

It costs $1.25 to ride MetroExtra, the same as the regular Metrobus fare. Bus-to-bus transfers and rail-to-bus transfers apply.

To operate the MetroExtra service, Metro purchased 14 compressed natural gas buses using capital funds from the Metro Matters program. The buses will be housed at the Bladensburg Metrobus Division. The District of Columbia is funding the $1.8 million annual operating costs of the MetroExtra route 79 service.

News release issued at 12:00 am, March 19, 2007.