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by Ian Dixon
on 14 May, 2016

Smartphone app's popularity spikes amid DC Metro's ongoing woes


WASHINGTON, May 10, 2016 – The DC Metro and Bus app topped 1 million downloads in April as weary commuters dealt with Metro shutdowns and ongoing safety concerns about the Red Line. Frustrated riders downloaded the app on both the iOS and Android platforms in an effort to better plan their trips to avoid delays.

According to the app's developer, Ian Dixon, the full shutdown of all Metrorail lines on March 16 was the event that pushed the app over the 1 million mark. The unprecedented move to accommodate safety inspections following a tunnel fire left D.C. residents scrambling to find alternate methods of travel. "There was a 43 percent increase in user installs during the 30-day period beginning with the Metro system-wide shutdown compared to the previous 30-day period. That's significant."

As concerns about extended delays mount in the wake of Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld's May 6 announcement of Metro's SafeTrack maintenance surge, riders are actively seeking ways to manage their commutes. The DC Metro and Bus app provides real-time information about Metrorail and Metrobus arrivals at every station in the system so riders can compare actual arrival times with the schedule and plan their commutes. The app also provides service alerts and updates, along with maps of rail lines and bus routes.

The DC Metro and Bus app was launched by Dixon in October 2012. He built it as proof of concept in his Arlington, VA apartment with the goal of providing transit information as a service to the greater D.C. community better than any app had managed to do in the past. For Dixon, the local focus is crucial: "We don't try to conquer the world. We're only focused on D.C. area transit, and that's what allows us to do it better than anyone else."

The app gained an immediate following upon its release, and today serves about 100,000 unique users per month — a number expected to rise with the Metro maintenance scheduled for the coming year.

Google Play reviewer Lavonia Phillips is a fan: "I don't know what I would do without this app. I would be late to a lot of things."

Another iPhone user agrees that the DC Metro and Bus app is addressing a need, saying that "The accuracy of this app is amazing, especially given the unpredictable nature of the Metro system. It has helped me better navigate the system on countless occasions."

For his part, Dixon is glad to help. "Whether it's letting a rider learn about a maintenance delay on their line or helping people get to work to keep this city running, I'm glad DC Metro and Bus is able to do its part. I believe this app can play an important role in helping riders overcome this difficult period in the region's transit system, and can make riding Metrorail and Metrobus a better experience."

About DC Metro and Bus

DC Metro and Bus is a smartphone app available for iPhone and Android. It is free to download at the iTunes App Store and at Google Play. Developed by Ian Dixon of Dixon Mobility, LLC, DC Metro and Bus can be found on the web at



by Ian Dixon
on 02 January, 2014

Status of the ongoing WMATA (DC Metro) realtime data outage, which is causing many customer mobile apps and websites to suffer outages. The nature of the problem is that all route directions and schedules appear to be missing, meaning apps can't list routes and their associated bus stops, or view full daily bus schedules.

12/28/13 - A local developer reports via a developer Facebook group "The Bus Schedule API seems to have no valid data in it for dates past 12/28"

1/1/14 - I began to receive outage notifications from my user base that the DC Metro and Bus app contains no route data.

1/2/14 - 745am I posted a notice of outage to the previously mentioned Facebook group, which until recently was being monitored by a WMATA POC. No response from WAMTA.
            750am I directly emailed the previous WMATA POC alerting him of the outage. He's no longer responsible for the service, but advised he had forwarded my note to the appropriate group, who I can contact myself through the WMATA API web site.
            930am I tried contacting WMATA through their website to alert them of the outage.
            130pm Apps are still down. Metro riders are still in the dark. No response yet from a POC within WMATA indicating that the appropriate people are aware of the issue and working to address it.
            200pm I notice that WMATA has posted an update to their developer page. Good news, the issue is being worked on.

Attention:January 2, 2014 - WMATA is aware of bus schedule data unavailability on the API and is working to deploy a solution. We will update this message when regular bus schedule data becomes available.

            425pm Still no fix for the issue, and no ETA communicated by WMATA. Apps still down.

1/3/14 - 900am It looks like SOME of the route data has been restored. Most routes appear to have direction data, enabling my apps to at least list the directions and stops for them. However, all the schedule data that I and other developers checked showed arrival times of 00:00 across the entire day, so riders would be unable to check full schedules. Hopefully the issue is still being worked on by WMATA. There has been no correspondence from them other than the above alert on their developer page.

            100pm I see that WMATA has updated their message on their site, but I'm still seeing 00:00 as the arrival time on all schedule data.

Attention: January 2, 2014 - The problem with bus schedule data has been resolved.

1/4/14 - 900am Schedule data appears to be back, and for the most part service seems to be restored. However, a few individual routes appear to still be missing route details, including direction data, meaning riders of routes such as 16P will not be able to browse bus stops.

by Super User
on 25 September, 2012

We've been busy at work on the iPhone version of the popular DC Metro and Bus app. To take advantage of Apple's latests features on iOS and new devices we've done a complete rewrite. We'll now be able to build better features and get them to you faster than we could have before with the old version. In comes a new sleek, faster user interface and real time transit data for DC Circulator. We're excited about the new version, and remain committed to making DC Metro and Bus the number one transit app in the Washington DC area.

Stay tuned for new updates coming shortly, which will include a trip planner and live transit information for Arlington's ART bus.

Get more information at the official DC Metro and Bus site.