Video: Metrobus Driver Runs Red Light on the Pike

by ARLnow.com January 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm 4,365 68 Comments

A video obtained by WTOP shows a Metrobus driver running a red light and nearly getting in a collision at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Joyce Street.

The bus is shown coming down the steep, curvy hill near the Air Force Memorial and driving right through the red light — even honking its horn as an SUV with the right-of-way drives in front of the bus’ path.

The video is one of several dozen obtained by WTOP through a public records request. Many of the videos depict collisions and near-collisions with vehicles and pedestrians, as recorded by a “Drivecam” video camera in the front of the bus.

The head of Metro’s bus operations told WTOP that the Metrobus system is safe when compared with other large bus systems across the country.

  • Dave

    Doesn’t surprise me at all. I’ve been honked at for having the audacity to be in the crosswalk when the light told me to. Guess the driver just really needed to make that right-on-red.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I’m not surprised either. I’ve seen some buses coming down the hills on Wilson between N. Jefferson and N. Manchester with the velocity of an F-18 catapulting off a carrier.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        I’ve also seen plenty of cars/trucks doing the same thing coming down those hills.

      • andre

        I am an bus operator, and passengers always complain about everything!! If so, then why don’t you all drive to work, walk, or even use a bike if you have to. You only see half the story and always want to hop on your blackberry to speed dial or email your complaints. we have compalints too. stop thinking we are going to be on schedule all the time, stop asking the same dumb questions you do when you know where you are going on a daily basis, stop ringing the bell and not getting off the bus, stop running for the bus when you know YOU are late, and if somebody is bothering you, deal with it because Metro dont pay us to do security!!!

  • G Clifford Prout


    What would the trolley do?

    • Bluemontsince1961

      LOL! Clang the bell.

  • Hokie

    Doesn’t surprise me either. I’ve seen metrobus drivers routinely run red lights (not when coming down hills- but on completely flat surfaces)- seen them almost knock bikers off their bikes that are in the bike lanes because the bus is pulling into a bus stop- biker be damned… and I’ve seen them ignore lane markings.

    Hopefully those drivers whose videos are coming out have been penalized some how by Metro (they don’t need to lose their job- but maybe a day suspension?). I know this is a slippery slope- but when the evidence is there…

  • charlie

    where is that on columbia pike?
    is that at Joyce Street.

    i love that the bus driver honked at the car.

    but it also demonstrates an example of how hard it is to see street lights and traffic lights

    • FourEyes

      Demonstrates how hard it is to see street lights and traffic lights? The red lights were glaringly clear in the video; I’d imagine they were just as easy, it not easier, to sight in person. Time to get some glasses.

  • Casto

    Almost saw one last night at the intersection of Wilson and N Randolph by the Ballston Mall. The light was completely red when the bus started to turn, and even though the person was technically jaywalking at the point, the bus came within 5 feet of making an unpleasant impression on him.
    But really, all of the bus drivers in and around any of the major bus stops don’t pay attention to the pedestrians (or other cars half of the time).

  • zzzzz

    Not too long ago I saw a Metrobus run the red light when turning left from Fairfax Dr onto Glebe Rd. The left turn arrow went from green to yellow to red, after which the bus driver hit the gas and went through the intersection. The bus was completely stopped when the light turned red and he went anyway.

    I submitted a complaint to Metro, and they wrote back saying they were sorry I had to witness it. As in, we’re not sorry it happened, we’re just sorry you saw it.


    I can assure everyone that is not just the fault of bus drivers. I ride the 16Y to and from work each day and at least once a month some jackass cuts the bus off so closely that the driver has to slam on the breaks and send passengers flying. These videos only tell half the story.

    • Ren

      I agree that bus drivers are being unfairly maligned here. Everything that someone attributes to a bus driver I have also seen non bus drivers do. And I also regularly see bus drivers get cut off but non bus drivers.

      That said, as an only-when-necessary 16y rider, I’m going to take the liberty of an anonymous forum to say that IMHO bicycle riding is much faster and more pleasant that being on a packed 16y. I honestly don’t understand why more people don’t try it.

      • thecharlesriver

        Sorry, but I see a difference between a Toyota squeezing a red light, and a public vehicle 4 times its size carrying dozens of passengers. That vehicle is a missle on wheels. If you are like the average stressed out driver with a touch of road rage, then you have NO BUSINESS making your living driving a bus!

    • demonfafa

      Former 16Y rider here. I can definitely attest to this, especially on the Pike.

    • charlie

      in some of the videos it is obvious that it isn’t the drivers fault.
      and in some a bit better driving would have avoided the incident
      others were just bad driving.

  • Jason S.

    If they just had more funding, they wouldn’t run red lights.

    • Josh S

      Yes, the fact that there are sloppy bus drivers means that Metro does not deserve to raise their fares. The two go together so perfectly, it’s amazing that it took someone as humble as Jason S to point it out.

  • Stillwell87

    This just reaffirms my long held believe that Metrobus drivers are some of the worst drivers out there. I say this as a bus rider, cyclist, and driving commuter. In each one of those instances I’ve seen atrocious driving by Metrobus drivers.

    • OX4

      And I’ve also seen very courteous Metrobus drivers while walking and biking to work. But they’re not half as much fun to talk about, so we’ll ignore them.

      • thecharlesriver

        This article isn’t about courteous bus drivers. It’s about reckless bus drivers…..who, I might add, are pushing about 15 tons of STEEL down the roadway! Get a clue!

  • JimPB

    What proportion of Metrobus time on the streets does the selection of videos represent?

    Metrobus drivers are not the only errant folks. Videos of police have shown numerous instances of serious police misconduct.

    Videos in hospitals of operations and care would also show numerous errors.

    And on and on.

    Doesn’t mean errors should be accepted, just that they are pervasive, and no occupation is immune from them.

    How can errors be prevented? When errors occur, what is the “best” way to deal with them for victims and for those who committed the errors?


    • OX4

      Jim, everyone posting on this board is a perfect driver. They follow all the rules, stop at all yellow and red lights, let pedestrians cross the street safely, and never speed.

      • Andrew

        So that makes it okay? I think it safe to say that everyone at some point has made a mistake behind the wheel. That being said, I think it is fair to hold bus drivers and other service providers of mass transit to a higher standard.

      • thecharlesriver

        When you choose bus driving as a living, you also choose to operate under a higher standard while at work, since you have a greater responsibility.

  • My wife and I ate lunch at in Shirlington last Sunday and were waiting for a bus back to Ballston. We were waiting about half an hour. The arrogant driver (Afro American) who finally showed up wheeled through the bus stop and did not stop to pick up the three people waiting for the bus. He went as fast as he could and did not stop at the designated stop. Everyone at the stop cussed him. He had a smirk on his face. He should be fired.

    • D’oh

      WTF difference does it make what the driver’s race was? Oh, it doesn’t. Not cool.

      • ArlingtonWay

        Agreed. Its not like he was Asian. THEN it would be relevant to the driving skills.

      • Banksy

        He meant to say, “bla– person” a la Rick Santorum.

        Seriously, not cool at all.

    • OX4

      What does the driver’s hairstyle have to do with anything?

      • jack

        And how does the person know the driver was sporting an American afro? It could have been Canadian. I hear they’re still popular up there.

      • Banksy

        Maybe he meant “Franco American.”

        Uh-oh! SpaghettiO’s! (yes, I am old)

    • JimPB

      Did you report this incident to Metro?

    • D’oh

      Now here’s the humor I know and love in the ARLNow comments.

    • This begs for a discussion on what race/nationality are the worst drivers. I’d vote for Koreans and Indians.

      • ArlingtonWay

        Definately Koreans. And Barbara Bush, of course.

        • ArlingtonWay

          Ah. I cocked up my own joke. Laura Bush. You may resume laughing hysterically now.

          • WayArlington

            Any woman actually.

    • Eh

      Sometimes Metrobus drivers will not stop if their bus is full and there is another bus right behind it.

    • Steve85

      Really u had to say the black part. Thats whats wrong with society now

  • We never had this problem before. All the people waiting at the bus stop were white. The bus drive was Afro-American. It does make a difference. He was purposely not picking up people from his own race and was making fun of them and he ran by. Racism is two way. Whites are not always at fault. Sometime it works the other way.

    • Rachel

      You’re still assuming it’s because of race when you really have no clue why he did it. You’re the one making it a race issue.

    • D’oh

      Really, racism is a two way street? And all this time I thought it just meant discrimination by us white folks. Thank you for clearing that up.

      You’re jumping to conclusions by assuming that race was involved. Maybe the bus driver was just a jerk. Maybe he was off-duty. Maybe he was racist. Who knows? I simply don’t think you’ve shown you have grounds to drag race into it.

      By the way, if said black driver didn’t pick up white people in Arlington, his bus would never stop.

      Also, please stop typing and presumably saying “Afro America.” It’s “black.” (African American doesn’t include people of Caribbean or Native Australian descent. Check the census.)

    • D’oh

      Agree with Rachel 100%. And FYI, stop typing and presumably saying “Afro-American.” It’s “black,” which is the inclusive term for African-Americans, Caribbean-Americans, and Native Australian-Americans. Just saying.

      • jack

        Is “nels Andersen” the wide of “11th Street Resident” or are we reading multiple posts by the same person under different aliases?

        (And yes, who says “Afro-American”? Are you in a Norman Lear sitcom?)

      • You and Rachel should have been there. If it happened to you, I know you would be as upset as we are. Don’t care if you are white, Afro -American, Caribbean-Americans or Native Australian-Americans.What that bus drive did was malicious, wrong and needs to be stopped. He should be fired.

        • D’oh

          Sure, I’d be pissed but not crying racism. That’s the difference. Unless he held up a sign that also said “Screw you, honkees,” which to be honest is a hilarious scenario.

          • It was racism, that is the difference.

          • South Arlington

            This must be another “Young Condo Owner”esque bit. No one could be this much of an old, this out of touch, or this clueless.

          • South Arlington does not understand what happened here. We are not old, clueless or out of touch. The bus driver should be fired for what he did.

          • Clarendon

            Someone can. I just read this story today


            The landlord put up a “white only” sign at the pool and defended it by saying it was historic!

          • drax

            The use of the term “Afro American” proves you’re old and out of touch right off the bat. Do you wear bell bottoms by any chance?

          • Young Condo Owner

            I object to being compared to a racist!

          • Young Condo Owner

            I’m totally serious, South Arlington, I am not white, and I demand you retract your insinuation. And for the record, I totally support firing people when they don’t do their jobs, as it appears this driver didn’t.

      • black man

        Really lets keep race out of this topic

        • Sherley

          y’all got trolled, I’m thinking

    • drax

      Yes, a black bus driver racistly passed you by because you’re white. That’s it.

  • NrNy2ArlVa

    I was under the assumption that Metro Bus Drivers were trained professionals and should be held to higher standards than us other drivers.

    • They just drive a heavier weapon than the rest of us.

  • JPC

    Don’t forget that bus drivers are considered ‘common carriers’ and are subject to much higher standards than an average person driving their personal car.

  • JimPB

    A well established, empirically based “rule” is that a small number of persons account for a substantial portion of the instances of concern. For example, 7-9% of youth account for half of all delinquent offenses and about 3/4ths of the serious violent delinquent offenses: assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault, homicide. This rule will almost certainly apply to Metro bus driver, i.e., a small proportion will account for a substantial proportion of serious incidents. A study of these drivers could be very helpful in preventing such incidents. For example, are there certain characteristics of these drivers? If so, these factors might be taken into account in hiring, and for those hired, in training, in scheduling and in supervision. Are there certain circumstances that are a risk factor, e.g., inadequate rest time between tours of duty, length of time driving w/o break, road and traffic circumstances?

    And, Yes, I can recall instances of bad bus driving, but I can also recall a far, far vaster amount of skillful driving and various acts of gracious courtesy and assistance. Complain to Metro when warranted. Also express Kudos to drivers for a job well done — and let Metro know, too.

  • Always Right

    And what will the city do about this driver??

  • 5555624

    Been there, done that. I’ve been on a Metrobus that ran that same light.

  • Cyrus

    In other news, the sky is blue.

  • Wilbur

    Buses stop at red lights????

  • Charles

    Where the hell have you been?? Metro bus drivers running red lights is hardly news.

  • Sherley

    Charles is right, at least that’s how I feel as a regular reader of unsuckdcmetro.blogspot.com


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