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Press Releases - Department of Transportation

MCDOT’s Ride On, Ride On Extra, and Flash Buses to Continue Temporary Free Rides and Rear Door Boarding when Metrobus Resumes Fare Collection and Front Door Boarding on Sun., Jan. 3

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) announced today that the buses it operates, including Ride On, Ride On Extra, and Flash will maintain temporary, rear-door boarding and suspended fare collection practices when Metrobus resumes front-door boarding and fare collection on Sunday, Jan. 3. Metrobus routes serving Montgomery County are operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and will require standard payment of $2 by cash, SmarTrip card, the new iOS SmarTrip phone app, or other accepted passes.

MCDOT adjusted operations to require most riders to board through the rear door and ceased collecting fare payments from any riders in March in response to COVID-19. Riders will continue to board at the rear door of the bus but can board through the front door if a ramp is needed to accommodate a disability or stroller. While MCDOT is working toward resuming fare collection in 2021, no date has been set at this time for any operational changes. Installation is underway to add protective partitions in the fare collection area at the front of each bus in the County’s fleet of nearly 400 buses.

“Transit operators throughout the region continue to adjust to provide the best service possible while also protecting our bus operators and passengers,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “We hope to get the word out that Ride On bus operations remain unchanged at this time, despite Metrobus adjustment to boarding and fare collection. In an ongoing response to the health crisis, passengers using Ride On, Ride On Extra, and Flash buses will continue to board using the rear door and will not be asked to pay to ride.”

WMATA announced in a press release that, for the safety of riders and bus operators, protective partitions have been installed on all Metrobuses. A virtual SmarTrip card on Apple iPhones is a new fare payment option, for a faster, contactless way to pay. These mobile payment options will also be accepted on MCDOT-operated buses when fare collection resumes. Customers can add the virtual SmarTrip card to their Apple Wallet and then pay using iPhone or Apple Watch. Simply hold the mobile device over the SmarTrip target, just as you would a SmarTrip card. To get started, download the SmarTrip app from the App Store. For details and instructions go to: wmata.com/fares/mobilepay. Payment support for Google Wallet on Android devices is expected soon.

All passengers are required to wear a face covering to board and must continue wearing the covering for the entire time riding on a bus. All buses have a supply of face coverings for those who cannot provide their own. Riders are asked to make their best effort to maintain maximum physical distance between themselves and other riders who are not from the same household.

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

MCDOT and Metrobuses continue to operate allowing fewer passengers on each vehicle in order to allow for distancing. Ride On continues to position additional buses at all Metro stations in the County that are ready to deploy to any nearby service route that is experiencing levels of demand that cannot be met by buses under the standard schedule.

Ride On Flex service remains suspended in response to the health crisis

For the most up-to-date service information, riders should follow @RideOnMCT on Twitter, @RideOnMCT on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. In addition, information is available at www.rideonbus.com, by subscribing to receive email alerts or text MONTGOMERY RIDEON to 468311.

For department updates, follow @MCDOTNow on Twitter, visit the department website at montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdotsubscribe to MCDOT news releases or subscribe to MCDOT’s ‘Go Montgomery!’ newsletter. 

For transportation updates related to COVID-19 health crisis, visit MCDOT’s transportation resource page for COVID-19.

 










Release ID: 20-229
Media Contact: Hannah Henn, 240-777-8389

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