Changes to 64 Ride On bus routes will take effect this Sunday, October 10, county officials announced. 25 routes that have higher ridership will see increased trips, and service after midnight will be reinstated for all routes which operated those hours prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials said that the changes are based on ridership data and on-time performance of the bus routes.
“Many of our residents rely on public transportation and it is important that we are continually evaluating service needs to ensure coverage,” said County Marc Executive Elrich in a press release. “Our residents are still feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic, and I am pleased that my recommendation of extending free bus service until at least Jan. 1 was approved by Council last week. I encourage everyone to utilize our bus service as a safe, environmentally friendly and free way to get around the County.”
The routes that will have schedule changes and some improved frequencies include:
Flash Blue, Flash Orange Weekday, Flash Weekend/Holiday, 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 23, 25, 26, 29, 30, 33, 34, 36, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64, 65, 67, 70, 71, 73, 74, 75, 76, 78, 79, 81, 83, 90, 96, 97, 98, 100 and 101.
Additionally, for the first time since the pandemic, printed schedules and timetables will be available and distributed along with electronic versions. The new timetables show a start date of Sept. 26, although the schedule changes will go into effect on Oct. 10.
“Adjusting our bus routes allows us to better meet the needs of our residents based on our usage rates,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “We aim to reduce wait times and make sure we have the expansion of services in place to better service our communities as ridership returns. Ridership is up to about 60 percent of pre-pandemic numbers and we expect that to continue to rise.”
Last week, the County Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution calling for the Ride On fare holiday to be extended through Jan. 1, 2022.
“Free and reliable public transportation is an equity issue,” Councilmember Evan Glass (D-At-Large), a member of the Transportation & Environment Committee and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board, said in a press release.
“With nearly half of all Ride On passengers earning less than $30,000 and many current riders unable to telecommute, an extension of free bus service is an extension of our commitment to racial equity and social justice goals,” he added.
Graphic courtesy Montgomery County Department of Transportation
— Ride On Bus (@RideOnMCT) October 7, 2021