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Alternative Transportation Options Available in Montgomery County for Riders Impacted by Metrorail Slowdown

For Immediate Release: Monday, November 1, 2021

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA, also known as Metro) has advised riders of service delays at least through Nov. 15, as it continues to investigate the recent derailment on the Blue Line. During the period of excessive disruptions, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation wants transit users to know there are other options available in the County.


As a safety measure, Metro has taken its 7000-series railcars out of service, which comprises approximately 60 percent of its railcar fleet. The result is that Metrorail is operating with reduced service on all lines. Metro announced late last week that rail wait times will not be improved at least through the end of October.


“With wait times of 15 to 20 minutes for Red Line trains and 30 to 40 for trains on all other lines, our residents need to be aware of their other public transportation options,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “I am pleased that Metro is taking steps needed to ensure safety of all riders, but the next several weeks may be difficult for Metro rail commuters. I encourage Metro riders to continue to look at public transportation options instead of using their vehicles which is bad for traffic and our environment.”


Longer wait times and concerns of overcrowding amidst the lingering COVID-19 health crisis have left many travelers searching for alternatives.


In addition, the Shady Grove and Rockville Metrorail stations remain closed through Dec. 4 for canopy reconstruction and repairs. Parking is free at both garages during the closures and free shuttle busses are continually running between the stations and the Twinbrook Metro station. The Rockville Canopy Replacement Project page has additional details on the renovation schedule.


“The Metro slowdown has impacted a lot of people who have already begun the transition back to offices and in-person events,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “However, we are lucky that Montgomery County has a resilient transportation system with many options available, and this can be used as an opportunity to explore new travel options.”


Below are some alternative ways to travel in Montgomery County:

  • Montgomery County has about 90 Capital Bikeshare stations that connect bikes riders throughout the Washington metro area. The first 30 minutes of each trip are free. Two types of bikes are available: Red, classic peddle bikes and black, pedal assist, e-bikes. Riders can find their closest station via this Bikeshare map. Users can pay for a lock to feature where bikes can be left at a bike rack within the service area.
  • Bird, Lime and Spin are scooter companies operating in Montgomery County. Their scooters are dockless and available by individual apps. In the District of Columbia, a new law requires scooters to be locked to bike racks or to a parking sign. In Maryland there is no such law, but riders are asked to be mindful of obstructing the right of way. Riders must be 18 or older and have a valid driver’s license. Scooters can be driven in bike lanes, shared roadways or roads with a speed limit under 50 mph. More information is available via this video. View a map of the expanded scooter program here.
  • Ride On, extra, Flex and Flash Buses are operated by MCDOT as part of a vast network throughout the County. Some buses run along portions of the Metro Red Line.  Fares are currently free to riders. Riders can plan their trips via the Ride On Real Time website

Some helpful RideOn routes:

  • Ride On operates limited stop (Route 101 Extra) service along MD355 during the morning and afternoon peak periods every 15 minutes. Buses serve Shady Grove, Rockville, Twinbrook, White Flint, Grosvenor and Medical Center
  • Ride On Route 34 operates local bus service every 20 minutes during the morning and afternoon peak periods along MD355. It serves Medical Center, Bethesda and Friendship Heights
  • Ride On Route 46 operates local bus service every 15-20 minutes during the morning and afternoon peak periods along MD355. It serves Rockville, Twinbrook, White Flint, Grosvenor and Medical Center

MetroBus also operates in Montgomery County. For more information, go to the WMATA Trip Planner.

  • There are three Taxicab companies licensed in Montgomery County and they all charge the same rates. They are: Action Taxi: 301-840-1000. Anytime Taxi 301-637-9292. Regency/Barwood Taxi: 301-990-9000 or 301-984-1900.
  • The Marc Train Brunswick line operates morning and evening trips serving Germantown, Metropolitan Grove, Gaithersburg, Washington Grove, Rockville, Silver Spring and Union Station.
  • Rideshare. The mobile app CarpoolNow provides real time matching of drivers and passengers. Potential users need to sign up for the free MCDOT Commuter Connections service first, then download the app. 
  • If those who own a car, consider driving as a last option and expect more traffic congestion than usual. Montgomery County has 21,500 parking spaces available in 21 garages and 20 surface parking lots. A map of County parking facilities can be found here. Garages are priced lower than street meters.


Metered parking is also available and can be paid for using the ParkMobile App. Montgomery County also offers Zipcars at some parking garages. 

  • Google Maps. Not sure what mode to try? Google Maps is a great resource for directions and has time estimates for walking, riding the bus (including specific routes), biking and diving. It is an easy way to check the best routes and available transportation options.


A reminder: Federal regulations require that masks be worn on all forms of public transportation.

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


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Release ID: 21-885
Media Contact: Emily DeTitta, 240-372-2282
Categories: Transportation