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Montgomery County to Begin Making Available Limited Quantities of Face Coverings for Ride On Passengers Who Cannot Provide Their Own During COVID-19 Health Crisis

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) starting Tuesday, April 28, will begin a pilot program to provide limited supplies of face coverings on buses for passengers who cannot provide their own. In accordance with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s executive order, public transportation users must wear face coverings during the COVID-19 health crisis.

Face coverings are now required in many locations under the executive order and MCDOT strongly encourages Ride On travelers to come prepared with a personal face covering—which may include a mask, scarf or bandana—to cover the nose and mouth. Customers who do not comply will be advised of the requirement to wear a face covering and may be directed not to board the vehicle or to exit the vehicle.

MCDOT recognizes there may be times when Ride On users may not be aware of requirements for face coverings or may forget to bring one. To address those situations, Ride On is starting to outfit some buses with a limited supply of individually wrapped face coverings that can be used by riders who cannot provide their own.

Buses will be outfitted with face coverings as they become available, with select buses serving the Silver Spring area being the first. MCDOT will evaluate the pilot program from the Silver Spring Depot and make adjustments as needed, with hopes of having all Ride On buses carrying face coverings by early May.

“We are grateful to the Department of General Services’ efforts to provide the supplies needed to help protect our riders,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “That said, I strongly encourage Ride On passengers to provide their own face coverings whenever possible and so we can reserve these spare coverings for those who have no alternative. I also want to reinforce that bus service is being provided for essential travel only.” 

Details for each Ride On Essential Service Plan, which has limited routes operating during the health crisis, can be viewed at

Ride On services continue to 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. The number of passengers per bus will be limited to ensure that social distancing on-board the vehicle is maintained.

For the most up-to-date local transportation information, follow @MCDOTNow on Twitter, visit MCDOT’s transportation resource page for COVID-19, or subscribe to MCDOT news releases.

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

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Release ID: 20-227
Media Contact: Hannah Henn 240-777-8389