Bill would make DC Metro buses operating in the District free beginning summer 2023

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Charles Allen are proposing a bill that would make all WMATA buses operating in the District free to riders beginning next summer.

The Metro For DC legislation was introduced by Allen in March 2020 and was re-introduced in October 2021.

In addition to making all WMATA buses operating in the District free to riders, the bill would fund overnight service for 12 major bus lines.

The bill would also establish a $10 million bus service improvement fund dedicated to annual investments in bus lanes, shelters and other improvements to make bus service faster and more reliable, Mendelson said.

The bill would also still provide a $100 monthly subsidy for all D.C. residents to use on Metrorail, buses outside the District, or anywhere else SmarTrip is accepted.

"This is a big deal," Chairman Mendelson said in a statement. "We'll be the first major city in the United States to provide free bus service. This will be game changer for bus users; reliable schedules and faster boarding. There's no question it will encourage more folks to use public transit, which means numerous benefits, from reducing congestion to improving the environment to stabilizing WMATA."

"When I introduced Metro For DC almost three years ago, it was because I thought we could make public transit both more affordable and also dramatically improve service. Now that we're recovering from the pandemic, it's clear this would be a win for riders, a win for DC's businesses, and a win for WMATA," said a statement by Councilmember Allen. "Making the bus fare free for all of DC is the type of transformational change that we can lead, with a focus on equity and economic recovery. It'll make a difference keeping buses moving faster on our streets and in the monthly budgets of thousands of DC families."

The Metro For DC bill will come up for a vote Tuesday, December 6.