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In Accordance with Maryland Governor’s Directive, Montgomery County Encourages Reductions in Travel for Non-Essential Reasons

For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 19, 2020

Following a directive of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to reduce public contact during the COVID-19 emergency, Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is asking residents to refrain from travel for nonessential purposes. MCDOT’s Ride On bus service today began operating on a special weekday schedule that is about half of its normal schedule and is encouraging only needed trips.

“As our staffing and equipment availability is impacted, and reduced passenger volumes are necessary for social distancing, we are asking residents to refrain from travel,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “We have reduced our Ride On bus service, but to maximize transit availability for our medical providers, first responders and workers who are critical to the emergency effort, we are hoping the public will avoid non-essential travel of all kinds. Those who need service should know it will be available.”

Ride On bus operators will not be asking for proof of need for travel. However, if buses have high passenger loads, it may become necessary to leave passengers behind in order to maintain social distancing guidelines.

Those who must rely upon bus trips are reminded that buses are operating on a heavily reduced, special weekday schedule. Details for each Ride On route can be viewed at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DOT-Transit/special-plan.html.

Important aspects of the Weekday Special Service plan include:

  • Routes 11, 28, 101 (Ride On extRa), 129 and Flex will not operate. Each of the coverage areas of these routes have alternate coverage by other routes that will continue to be provided by Ride On or Metrobus.
  • Daily start and end of service times will closely match a regular weekday schedule.
  • Buses will arrive at scheduled stops significantly less often than on a regular weekday schedule.
  • Real time bus information will not be available. Mobile app information will not be a reliable source of information. MCDOT is working on a solution to better distribute updated information on services and bus locations.
  • Ride On will be operating the L8 and T2 normally operated by Metrobus on weekdays.
  • Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Shopping and Recreation Program transportation trips will not be provided. DHHS staff is reaching out to users of this service to assist in finding alternative resources.
  • The Purple Line detour is still in effect.

MCDOT will continue to make adjustments to service frequency based on individual route demand, availability of staff and equipment and efforts required to maintain appropriate social distancing on buses.

During the emergency, all Ride On services will be temporarily free to all passengers. In addition, MCDOT has implemented a procedural change for riders. Passengers are now required to board at the rear door of the bus. Passengers can board through the front doors if a ramp is needed to accommodate a disability or stroller.

Bus interiors will continue to be cleaned by the County’s Department of General Services on a nightly basis with hospital grade disinfectant. Bus filter and ventilation systems are also treated each night with a disinfectant.

For the most up-to-date service information, riders should follow @RideOnMCT on Twitter, visit Ride On MCT on Facebook, go to RideOnBus.com or subscribe to MCDOT news releases.

For the latest updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website and follow Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCoMD

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Release ID: 20-104
Media Contact: Hannah Henn 240-777-8389