The county’s Department of Transportation will begin collecting fares and changing boarding procedures on all Ride On, Ride On extRa and Flash buses beginning Monday, April 5, the department announced.
Passengers will now be able to board through the front doors and no longer forced to use the rear doors, though rear boarding will still be used for Flash buses.
The cost per trip is $2 and passengers should be prepared to have eSmarTrip cards, passes, cash or phone apps out and ready to pay exact fare to allow for more efficient service and minimize contact with other passengers.
Passengers will need to make payments for Flash buses at the station before boarding by tapping a SmarTrip card on a SmarTrip post, or at the ticket vending machines for those using cash.
Clear protective partitions have been installed to provide separation between riders, people entering the front door and bus operators. The partitions also make it possible to reopen seating areas in the front of buses and allow for more passengers to ride in socially distanced seating.
“I am proud to see Montgomery County Transit’s ongoing proactive approach to modify long-standing practices and develop creative solutions so that we can provide the services riders need while keeping them and our bus operators safe,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin in a press release. “We are glad to be able to welcome riders through the front doors again and open up more seating inside each bus.”
Riders now have the option of using a virtual SmarTrip card on Apple iPhones for contactless payments. Customers can add a virtual SmarTrip card to Apple Wallet, then pay using an iPhone or Apple Watch by holding the mobile device over the SmarTrip target.
Support for Google Wallet on Android devices is in development and will be advertised once available, the department noted.