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Press Releases - County Council

Council Approves Ride On Fare Holiday until January 2022

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Rockville, Md., Sept. 28, 2021–Today the Council, led by Council President Tom Hucker, unanimously approved the County’s Ride On fare holiday through Jan. 1, 2022.

“Public transportation is vital to our community and fare-free service has collectively saved our residents millions of dollars in commuting costs at a time when we know that many are still struggling financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Council President Hucker, who also serves as the Council's Transportation and Environment (T&E) Committee chair. “Keeping Ride On fares suspended keeps our County moving, is consistent with our climate and racial equity goals, and eliminates the cost burden from our lowest-income residents as they continue to use public transportation to reach their jobs and conduct essential activities.”

“Across our County, public transportation plays an essential role in getting our residents to where they need to go," said Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz. "By extending this fare-free service to January 2022, we will continue to sustain our workforce and expand economic vitality while safeguarding our racial equity and climate goals during a global pandemic.”

"Free and reliable public transportation is an equity issue,” said Councilmember Evan Glass, a member of the T&E Committee and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board. “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. I was proud to lead the Kids Ride Free effort in 2019 and will continue to champion more accessible and robust public transportation options for our residents through January 1, 2022 and beyond.”

"Throughout my time on the Council I have pushed to make public transportation more affordable and accessible to all residents," said Councilmember Hans Riemer, who is also a member of the T&E Committee and serves as chair of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee. "After leading the push this year to make Ride On free permanently for seniors and people with disabilities, I am glad to support this extension of a fare holiday for all riders."

"I enthusiastically support extending the Ride On fare holiday which will provide a much-needed lifeline to our residents who depend on our transit system for their daily commutes," said Councilmember Nancy Navarro, who is chair of the Council's Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee. "Ensuring equitable access to transit for all our residents is an absolutely crucial component of our COVID-19 recovery. I look forward to working with my colleagues to analyze the results of the Fare Equity Study that has been transmitted by the Executive."

“Extending the Ride On fare holiday will help us improve transit access, grow bus ridership, and help our workforce get to and from their jobs as we continue our economic recovery,” said Councilmember Andrew Friedson. “It’s a win-win for our climate and our local economy.”

"I am pleased that the Council approved a Ride On fare holiday until January 2022," said Councilmember Sidney Katz. "People are still struggling economically and we need to do what we can to help them."

"Residents throughout our County continue to rely on Ride On for access to their jobs during this pandemic," said Councilmember Craig Rice. "It is imperative to continue the fare-free service and, in doing so, support our residents in an equitable manner."

"Since I was elected, making Ride On free for all our residents has been a priority for me. Extending free Ride On gives the greatest benefit to our most vulnerable residents," said Councilmember Will Jawando. "Today’s action is good for the environment and good for our residents.”

The approval of the Council Resolution to amend FY22 Transportation Fees, Charges, and Fares continues free Ride On service for all County residents which the Council last approved in May to continue until Sept. 30, 2021. In May, the Council also approved County Executive Marc Elrich’s funding request to allow the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to conduct a Fare Equity Study for Ride On which was transmitted to the Council yesterday afternoon.

The Council will review the Fare Equity Study for Ride On and will schedule and hold another public hearing on a proposed fare schedule that would be implemented after the fare holiday ends on Jan. 2, 2022.

A recent report by the Council’s Office of Legislative Oversight showed that 47 percent of Ride On customers have an annual household income below $30,000, 47 percent are people of color and 42 percent speak a language other than English at home.

The Council staff report and resolution can be viewed here.

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Release ID: 21-379
Media Contact: Sonya Healy, 240-777-7926 , Lucia Jimenez 240-777-7832