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Metro Transit: NextBus Launches Today

Waiting for the bus? Wondering when, or if, it will arrive? Fret no more. Metrobus riders may finally have all their transit wishes granted when WMATA relaunches its NextBus system today. After major communication problems sidelined the project two years ago, Metro is bringing it back, this time offering real-time schedule information at its 12,000 Metrobus stops in the District, Maryland and Virginia. But will it work? Or will the Metro genie in a bottle fail us again?

Please share your experiences using NextBus in the poll and comments below.

By editors  |  July 1, 2009; 12:01 PM ET
Categories:  Commuting , Metro , transit  
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It's been up and running at the Pentagon station since Monday, with small electronic display boards at each bus stop. So far its been fairly accurate. I'm reserving judgment final until I see how it handles a significantly delayed bus.

Posted by: greatscott1 | July 1, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

The menus you have to go through to get to the information take too long when you call in. It needs to be, "please enter your stop number, followed by the pound sign." Straight to the meat.

Posted by: DCCenturion | July 1, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Never heard of it and all I use are the trains and buses.

Posted by: jckdoors | July 1, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I used it on monday (you could access it by I tested it looking out my window a few times and it was correct, however, when I went to use it, it had 3 buses listed (x, y and z minutes away). However, x, and z came, but y (which I was to take) never showed up. I ended up waiting an hour for the bus, and then when the bus showed up, there were no buses listed.

Needs more work.

Posted by: blah1233242 | July 1, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Called in this morning for the F6 bus near the Silver Spring Metro station. It said all it heard was "F" and kept on going through a loop of confirming what I said then asking if I wanted to end my call. Hung up then called back and said that I didn't care what route.

Checked online for a F6 from the UMD College Park campus to Silver Spring, and it said there was no predictions. Looked at the printed schedule and realize the next bus should be in about 20 minutes. A bus came at the scheduled time. The bus was one of the old buses that doesn't speak the stops.

Posted by: dhlunar | July 1, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

7 am. I waited 10 minutes for the 18S in Springfield which never showed (or was very early). Tried nextbus from my cell phone. The stop number was not recognized so I had to scroll down until I found my bus. Learned next bus was 47 minutes away. Since i knew that the next bus on the schedule was only about 20 minutes away, I tried calling and learned that the next bus was due at 7:33. Not sure why the huge discrepancy in information but I did not wait to find out which was correct - I simply walked home, got in my car and drove to the station instead.

Posted by: mallemployee | July 1, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

So, mailemployee, we really don't know from your post whether NextBus was working or not. You didn't wait?

Posted by: transitnut | July 1, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The Google Map shows some small fraction of the stops/routes.

The Bus Route sorting order is broken; an X9 should come before X13, etc. [It's not doing a proper numeric sort...]

It's not listing RideOn buses; and since they are running to the same Metro station, on the same route; NextBus is of dubious benefit.

Posted by: j_oper | July 1, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Are the solar cells + radios bolted on the bus shelters at Greenbelt and Ballston part of NextBus, or something different?

Posted by: j_oper | July 1, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I tried to use it twice last night. It apparently doesn't recognize blackberry keypads because when I punched in the bus stop number, it kept saying it didn't understand. And how many people in the city have blackberry cell phones?

Posted by: Elkay1 | July 2, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Used it last night at 6pm. Said the next C8 was over an hour away. A C8 pulled up at 6:18 (scheduled time is 6:17). It was one of the buses that talked so not sure why the system didn't work.

Used it this morning and it said the next C8 was 3 minutes away. The bus pulled up 2 minutes later. That time is was accurate.

Dr. G, I'm dissapointed that Metro got rid of "Next Scheduled Departure" from their mobile site and replaced it with the Next Bus link. Can't they have both? Since ride-on buses are not incorporated with the Next Bus system, there is now no way to find out the schedule of a Ride On bus through your cell phone. I think this is a step back metro. I found "Next Scheduled Departure" useful for metro as well. *Sigh.

Overall I am unimpressed with the system so far.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | July 2, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Bus was on time, but I agree with one of the previous posters. Why do I have to say "next bus". There should be a way to get to the stop number more quickly/directly. I suspect most people are like me and only care about the stop they use to get to work. I think it would be nice to be able to program that stop into my cell phone so I can decide whether I need to run to the stop or if I should just sit at home for another 10 minutes since I already missed a bus.

Posted by: charlesjohnford | July 6, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

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