New Metrobus System Stumbles at Start, Frustrates Riders

A new system to tell riders when D.C. Metro buses will arrive didn’t work after gaining widespread use, leaving morning commuters to guess when their buses would show up and causing some riders to be late.

Metro's new bus arrival prediction system, called Bus ETA, was down for awhile Tuesday, leading to frustrated riders and tweets. Some said they had to wait with the kids in the cold, others called the new system terrible and more said the system was woefully inaccurate.

The system started on April 1 but was receiving more usage Tuesday, creating the slowdown of information.

In a statement, Metro said there was a slow server response for about an hour Tuesday morning until bandwidth was increased by the third party host. Since the upgrade, the system has been working fine.

Jennifer Jowziak used Bus ETA after it was fixed but said systems like this have to work for riders who rely on buses.

“If you have to go to work, and you transfer buses, you got to know that you have the 10 minutes,” Jowziak said. “Because if it says 10 minutes but you only have 5, you might not get to work for another hour."

Metro said Bus ETA drills down to provide riders specific information, including how many stops away the next bus is located. It replaces an old system that was often criticized for being inaccurate.

Riders who have an issue with the service can send an email to or tweet @metrobusinfo to get a quick response. Customers said the entire bus system needs to function better.

“They come 10 or 15 minutes late and then they drive like they are on a Sunday drive," said bus rider Thomas Muller.

For a system that's trying to win riders back, convenience matters. The new bus information is supposed to update every 30 seconds.

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