Metro buses in the D.C. Metro area, including Virginia, are operated by the Metropolitan Washington Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
WMATA is deemed to be an instrumentality of state government. WMATA v. Briggs, 255 Va. 309 (1998). For example, if a metro bus accident occurs in Virginia, then WMATA is deemed to be part of the State of Virginia as it applies to that accident.
The State of Virginia enjoys expansive immunity from lawsuits, and therefore WMATA may also enjoy some immunity from a lawsuit. However, WMATA is operated under a compact between Virginia, Maryland and D.C., which contains a provision eliminating immunity for claims arising from “proprietary” functions. A metro bus accident may in fact fall under the proprietary exception to WMATA immunity, and WMATA may have to pay after a metro bus accident.
If there is a metro bus accident in Virginia, will WMATA pay? There are no guarantees, but there are very good arguments to impose liability on WMATA for a metro bus accident.