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Press Releases - County Council

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Rockville, Md., Nov. 30, 2021–Today the Council, led by Council President Tom Hucker, voted to approve the extension of the County’s Ride On fare holiday through July 2, 2022.

The Council voted on Sept. 28 to extend the Ride On fare holiday through Jan. 2, 2022 in order to review the Ride On Fare Equity Study and the Executive’s recommendations. Upon the review of the Fare Equity Study, the Council concluded that the extension of the fare holiday through the end of fiscal year 2022 would benefit the County’s most economically vulnerable and low-income residents.

In May, the Council approved County Executive Marc Elrich’s funding request for Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct the Fare Equity Study for Ride On. The study was conducted through a DOT consultant and was transmitted to the Council on Sept. 27, 2021.

“As so many are still struggling financially because of the pandemic, free bus fares have collectively saved our hard-working residents millions of dollars in commuting costs,” said Council President Hucker, who is the chair of the Transportation and Environment (T&E) Committee. “The Council's action today aligns 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, who chairs the Health and Human Services Committee. “Extending the Ride On fare holiday until the end of FY22 will continue to sustain our workforce, expand economic vitality, and enhance our racial equity and climate goals during a global pandemic.”

“As we work toward rebuilding a more fair and equitable community, we must rethink how we provide support to our most vulnerable residents,” said Councilmember Evan Glass, a member of the T&E Committee and the National Capital Region 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 July 2, 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 (PHED) 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.”

“Transportation is a critical pillar of the County's Economic Development Platform that I authored in 2019, and today's action by the Council reinforces our County's commitment to increasing non-automobile ridership, and giving residents greater access to our transit system,” said Councilmember Nancy Navarro, who chairs the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee. “The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us to re-examine how the County provides services to residents, so I am pleased to lend my full support to extend the Ride On fare holiday to July 2, 2022. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure we can continue to provide equitable transit access to our residents.”

“I fully support extending the Ride On fare holiday,” said Councilmember Sidney Katz, who is the chair of the Public Safety Committee. “This fare holiday will help our local business economy recover. Moreover, it will help people get to where they need to go while reaching climate and equity goals.”

“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, who serves as the Lead for Parks on the PHED Committee. “It’s a win-win for our climate and our local economy.”

“As County leaders, we are witnessing the continuing effects of the pandemic,” said Councilmember Craig Rice, who chairs the Education and Culture Committee. “Extending the fare holiday will relieve many of our working residents from yet another financial stress for the short term as we collaborate on a long term, regional solution for affordable and efficient public transportation.”

“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.”

A 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 found here.

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Release ID: 21-485
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926, Lucia Jimenez 240-777-7832