The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced major changes to Metro and Metrobus service, as well as a suspension of Metrobus fares across the system.

Big changes are coming to mass transit this week as many of the region's workforce stays at home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. With ridership down across the system, WMATA is constantly assessing their service lines, changing bus and rail coverage as needed.

In D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, 17 Metro stations will close indefinitely to help WMATA conserve valuable resources including cleaning supplies. The new measures will go into effect on Thursday, March 26, and trains will run through the closed stations on all of the affected lines.

Effective March 24, all Metrobus riders will board through the rear door unless they require special assistance. This includes those who need the bus to be lowered (bus-kneeling) or a ramp to be used for wheelchair access. Prominent signage will remind riders of this change in procedure if they try to board from the front door of the bus.

Currently, Metrobus rides are free, but WMATA is urging people to stay at home so that first responders, medical workers, and essential personnel can use it to get to work. Over the entire system, ridership is down about 65 percent since the implementation of social distancing and the shutdown of non-essential businesses and restaurants.

Metrobus, bus lane

Courtesy of WMATA

For more information about WMATA's service changes, including route maps and train delays, head to their website or check their official Twitter account for updates.

What do you think about these Metro station closures and the new boarding process on Metrobus? Let us know in the comments!