Riders are now able to check how crowded a bus is before it arrives so that they can make better travel decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to a new service offered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
The data is collected through sensors aboard Metrobuses that detect every passenger entering and exiting the vehicle. Metro train cars do not have the same sensors, so rail crowding predictions are provided based on recent crowding data.
— Metro (@wmata) December 23, 2020
“Metro is doing our part to help Metro customers feel safe when traveling, and we’re proud to release this new tool to help customers make more informed travel decisions,” Metro General Manager/CEO Paul Wiedefeld was quoted as saying in the statement. “Social distancing is a top concern as we all navigate this public health crisis, and we hope customers find this information valuable when deciding when to ride.”
Published information includes a bus or train’s capacity in these categories based on public health recommendations for social distancing:
Many seats available
Bus less than 25 percent occupied
Rail car less than 20 percent occupied
Few seats available
Bus 25-49 percent occupied
Rail car 20-32 percent occupied
Bus is occupied 50 percent or greater
Rail car is occupied 33 percent or greater