County to Mark Flash BRT Anniversary; Expansion Planned

The county’s Department of Transportation will commemorate the first anniversary of its Flash Bus Rapid Transit service today with special greetings of riders at several Flash stations.

The service launched one year ago today — October 14, 2020 — and more than 500,000 riders have used the service since its launch, according to a county press release. The county is also looking to expand the service, with additional Flash corridors planned for Rockville Pike and Veirs Mill Road.

Outreach teams from the county’s Department of Transportation will be at several Flash stations today to greet riders, solicit feedback about the service and distribute Flash anniversary items to riders.

Outreach teams will be at the following Flash stations:

  • Silver Spring Transit Center: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • White Oak: 7-11 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.
  • Tech Road, Castle Blvd, April Lane: 7-11 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.

The first of its kind in Maryland, Flash currently operates on Colesville Road/Columbia Pike (US 29) and connects Downtown Silver Spring Transit Center with White Oak, Briggs Chaney, and Burtonsville with limited stops along the way. Flash buses feature bike racks inside, free Wi-Fi service, and USB ports.

“Many of our residents depend on our public transportation systems to get to work, school and to run essential errands for their families,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “They deserve a transit network that is efficient and gets them where they want to go. That is why we will continue to work to improve and expand Flash to support economic development and improve quality of life. Effective and efficient public transportation is good for the economy, our residents and the environment.”

MCDOT is performing preliminary engineering and design for its next two planned Flash corridors along MD 355 (Rockville Pike) and MD 586 (Veirs Mill Road). It also is in the preliminary planning stages for New Hampshire Avenue and North Bethesda.

“I’m encouraged by the success the Flash has seen in its first year despite the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on transit services,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “The Flash has demonstrated its ability to provide fast, comfortable and reliable travel in Montgomery County. This system is shaping the future of local transit. Even with the pandemic, our ridership numbers demonstrate that this is a valued transit system, and we are looking forward to its expansion.” 

According to MCDOT, total project costs for Flash on US 29 were nearly $40 million, of which $10 million was funded by a federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant. Flash vehicles and stations were all fabricated in the United States.

Flash, like all other MCDOT bus services, is free through January 1, 2022, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. When fares are reinstated, the cost to ride will be the same as Ride On’s regular prices—$2 per ride, and all special passes and discounts apply.

Photo: Elvert Barnes from Silver Spring MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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