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Press Releases - Department of Transportation

MCDOT Buses to Continue Free Service Through At Least June 30, But Will Resume Front-Door Boarding on April 5

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has directed the County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) to continue free service on all Ride OnRide On extRa and Flash buses at least through the end of the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30. Throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, MCDOT has been operating its bus operations with fare collections suspended and was one of the first agencies in the country to implement this policy.

“Many of our residents who rely on public transportation have been severely impacted economically by the pandemic, and we must continue to do everything we can to assist them to move around the County and region,” said County Executive Elrich. “As our residents will need bus service to receive vaccines that become more readily available over the next few months, I am pleased that we will be extending free Ride On bus service until the end of June. The County Council and I are on the same page and understand how important this free service is to our residents during this difficult time. I also want to acknowledge that this decision was assisted by the funds we are receiving from the American Rescue Plan, and I want to reiterate our appreciation to President Biden and our Congressional Delegation for this support. We encourage residents to utilize this service as a safe, environmentally friendly and free way to get around the County.” 

Ride On buses will have one change in service starting Monday, April 5, as MCDOT will resume front-door boarding. Only the rear doors have been used for boarding for most passengers since March of last year in response to the health crisis. Front-door boarding will resume on all Ride On and Ride On ExtRa services. On the  Flash—the unique service that operates in the Route 29 corridor—passengers will now be able to use all doors. This measure will also make more space available for passengers inside the buses.

“I am happy that the County Executive and the County Council support the extension of fare-free transit service,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “Resuming safe front-door boarding will speed up service and make more space available for passengers. Being able to reach this milestone is a result of the hard work of Montgomery County’s transit and fleet employees.”

For the health safety of riders, passengers and bus operators, clear protective partitions have been installed to provide separation between riders, people entering the front door and bus operators. In addition to allowing front-door access, partitions make it possible to reopen seating areas in the front of buses and allow for more passengers to ride in a distanced manner.

Pandemic safety measures remain in effect. 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 do not provide their own. 

Social distancing is strongly recommended in all public spaces including onboard the buses and trains and at bus stops and shelters. Riders are asked to make best efforts 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. 

For the most up-to-date service information, riders should follow @RideOnMCT on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. In addition, information is available at RideOnBus.com or by subscribing to “Ride On Services” email alerts. Riders also can receive text alerts by texting MONTGOMERY RIDEON to 468311.

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

Release ID: 21-037
Media Contact: Hannah Henn 240-777-8389

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