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Frequently Asked Questions

The Basics

Read on for some basic information for newcomers to our services or periodic riders that may need a refresher. There's also a list of frequently asked questions.

What You Need to Know When…

…Using the bus schedule

  • All OmniRide routes have printed and online schedules
  • Bus stops are shown either as a simple black dot or a numbered timepoint that matches up with the timetable below the map, showing you what time the bus will leave from that particular stop. To plan your trip:
    • Look at the headings above the timetable to find the bus stop that's closest to you.
    • When you find the bus stop you want to use, follow that column down to see what time the bus will arrive.
    • If there's no time listed for the bus stop you plan to use, select the numbered bus stop before yours as a guide.
    • Plan to arrive at the bus stop 5 minutes earlier than the listed time.
  • Transfers may be made at any bus stop served by more than one route.
  • OmniRide Express and OmniRide Metro Express buses may be used for local trips within Prince William County. Local fares apply, so be sure to inform your operator before paying your fare.

…Before boarding the bus

  • Buses stop only at designated signed bus stops. Each sign includes the route, destination and bus stop identification number for your reference.
  • All buses have electronic destination signs on the front, side, and rear of the bus. If you are unsure of the destination, ask the bus operator.
  • When paying a fare with cash, exact fare is required. Operators do not make change.
  • OmniRide Express and OmniRide Metro Express passengers may pay fares with a SmarTrip card or cash. ($1, $5, $10 or $20 bills and coins - no pennies). OmniRide Local and OmniRide East-West Express passengers may pay with a SmarTrip card, cash or tokens.
  • Transfers ARE AVAILABLE ONLY WHEN FARES ARE PAID WITH SMARTRIP and must be made within three hours of boarding.

…When riding the bus

  • Priority seating is available at the front of the bus for senior citizens and passengers with disabilities. Priority seats are intended to serve persons who are at least 60 years old and those who are permanently or temporarily disabled.
  • Passengers may request the use of the wheelchair life or ramp, even if not using a wheelchair.
  • Wheelchairs must be secured by the operator.
  • If traveling with a child in a stroller, the child must be taken out of the stroller and the stroller must be folded up while on the bus to keep aisles clear.
  • All carts must be kept out of the aisle to others can move safely while on the bus.
  • Bicycle racks are available on all OmniRide Local, OmniRide East-West Express and most OmniRide Metro Express buses. Please notify the bus operator as you leave the bus if you plan to remove a bike from the bike rack.
  • All stops are announced on board the buses. If the automatic announcements are inoperable, please ask the operator to announce your stop so you don't miss it.
  • Prior to your stop, please press the stop request button or pull the cord to notify your operator to pull over at the next bus stop. For OmniRide Express passengers, this includes all commuter lots and the Pentagon.
  • Please be kind and courteous to other passengers. That means speak quietly, limit the use of your phone, and no profanity.

FAQs

  1. How much does it cost to ride the bus?
  2. Where can I catch the bus?
  3. Lost and Found
  4. Why do the buses sometimes run late?
  5. Why do you have Service Changes?
  6. Why don't buses run more frequently on Saturdays and why is there no service on Sundays?
  7. Can I use my SmarTrip card on OmniRide buses? Where can I add value to my card locally?
  8. What should I do if my SmarTrip card isn't working?
  9. What are your fare policies for transferring between OmniRide and VRE?
  10. How do I plan a trip?
  11. I heard that OmniRide Local buses can go off-route. How does that work?
  12. Can I take my bike on the bus?
  13. Do buses run on holidays?
  14. How does OmniRide notify me about emergencies?
  15. Are there rules for riding the bus?

How much does it cost to ride?

Your bus fare will depend on your destination and the method of payment. Those traveling locally pay less than those traveling outside the Prince William County area. Reduced fares are offered for those who are 60 or older, those with a disability and those with a valid Medicare card. Check out the fare pages for OmniRide Express and Metro Express buses and for OmniRide Local and OmniRide East-West Express buses.

Where can I catch the bus?

You have three options:

  • Stand at a bus stop. You can find the bus stops nearest to you by speaking with a Customer Service Agent at (703) 730-6664. The Rider Tools section on our website's homepage and the TripPlanner will also provide you with bus stop locations. Each bus stop has a sign that names which bus routes serve that location and the route destinations. See the bus schedules.
  • Use an on-demand stop, which is a location that OmniRide Local buses serve upon request. Learn more about on-demand stops.
  • Schedule an off-route trip on an OmniRide Local bus. Learn more about off-route trips.

Lost and Found

If you lose or find an item on an OmniRide bus, please contact Customer Service at (703) 730-6664 or fill out this lost and found form.

Why do the buses sometimes run late?

Traffic conditions change every day due to accidents, construction, detours and other events. OmniRide dispatchers will re-route buses when possible to avoid congestion and stay on schedule. When trips are consistently late, OmniRide's Operations Department reviews data and will adjust the schedule, if necessary, at the next Service Change.

Why do you have Service Changes?

OmniRide evaluates our services twice a year in order to make any necessary adjustments to the routing, bus stops and individual trip times.

Why don't buses run more frequently on Saturdays and why is there no service on Sundays?

Simply put, OmniRide does not have the funding necessary to offer more frequent service on Saturdays or to run service on Sundays.

Can I use my SmarTrip card on OmniRide buses? Where can I add value to my card locally?

All OmniRide buses accept SmarTrip, a rechargeable farecard. It's a convenient way to pay your fare without worrying about having exact change. You can add value to your SmarTrip card (using cash, credit or debit) at Metro stations and the OmniRide Transit Center. You also can add value on your bus (cash only). Get instructions to add value to your card on the bus.

What should I do if my SmarTrip card isn't working?

If you have trouble using your SmarTrip card on the bus, you will have to pay for your trip with cash. If you have questions or problems using your SmarTrip card, contact Metro at (888) 762-7874 or visit SmarTrip.com. Here are a few tips to help keep your card working:

  • Make sure your SmarTrip card is kept flat and remains clean and dry.
  • To prevent your card from becoming demagnetized, keep it away from portable electronic devices and don't allow the card's magnetic strip to come into contact with the strip on other cards.

What are your fare policies for transferring between OmniRide and VRE?

  • VRE monthly pass holders who board an OmniRide bus at a VRE Station or at the bus stop nearest to a VRE Station may ride OmniRide for FREE. When riding an OmniRide bus to get to a VRE Station, the applicable bus fare is required.
  • All other VRE pass holders are required to pay the applicable bus fare when traveling to and from VRE Stations.

    How do I plan a trip?

    You can use the Rider Tools on our homepage to help plan your trips, including finding the closest stop to your location, route and fare information. If you need further assistance, call (703) 730-6664, Monday – Friday, 5:30 AM to 8:30 PM (except holidays) and a Customer Service Agent will be happy to assist you.

    I heard that OmniRide Local buses can go off-route. How does that work?

    OmniRide Local buses can go up to ¾ mile off the standard route to pick up and drop off passengers. These trips are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are limited to ensure the bus service is reliable for all customers. Passengers who are not eligible for reduced fares must pay an off-route surcharge. Off-route trips are only available on OmniRide Local buses; all other OmniRide buses serve regular bus stops only. To schedule an off-route trip, speak with a Customer Service Agent at (703) 730-6664.

    Can I take my bike on the bus?

    All OmniRide Local and OmniRide East-West Express buses have bike racks below the front windshield, as do most OmniRide Metro Express buses. OmniRide Express buses do not have bike racks. The bike racks can accommodate two bicycles at a time. There is no additional charge for using the bike rack. Passengers are responsible for loading and unloading their bikes. Learn more about OmniRide's bike racks.

    Do buses run on holidays?

    OmniRide's commuter and local bus services have different policies for holiday service. Learn more about commuter bus service holidays and local bus service holidays.

    How does OmniRide notify me about emergencies?

    Occasionally OmniRide services are impacted by bad weather, road closures and other events. If buses are operating normally, no notice or advisory is posted. If service is being altered, OmniRide will:

    • Post an alert at OmniRide.com
    • Send a Rider Express email and/or text message. Sign up for Rider Express
    • Record a message at (703) 730-6664.
    • Submit announcements to local television and radio stations, depending on time and circumstances.

    Are there rules for riding the bus?

    The most important rule is to be courteous and treat others as you would like to be treated. For those who have never used public transportation before, and for those who need a refresher course, OmniRide has designed an OmniRights campaign for the safety and convenience of all our riders.