Montgomery County to Celebrate ‘Transit Driver Appreciation Day’ on Friday, March 18, and Encourages Community Support for Bus Operators

Per MCDOT:

Montgomery County will join in the worldwide celebration of “Transit Driver Appreciation Day” on Friday, March 18, with County Executive Marc Elrich presenting a proclamation recognizing the day at 12:30 p.m. at the Silver Spring Bus Depot. County Executive Elrich will be joined by County Department of Transportation Director Chris Conklin, UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO President Gino Renne and other County representatives.

This event will be dedicated to celebrating the service of public transit employees and will be streamed live on the @MCDOTNow Twitter account at twitter.com/MCDOTNow.

Since 2009, Transit Driver Appreciation Day has been commemorated on March 18. The County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is one of many public transportation providers to recognize the public service of transit employees on this day. MCDOT employs more than 650 bus operators to support the transit services that include Ride On, Ride On extRa, Flex and Flash.

“Montgomery County residents rely on our transportation system as a lifeline,” said County Executive Elrich. “When everyday life came to a halt early in the pandemic, MCDOT Ride On bus operators adapted quickly and were on the front lines to keep Montgomery County moving. The dedication, work ethic and resilience of each of these behind-the-scenes heroes have proved them to be leaders in times of need. I’m pleased the County Council recently approved my recommendation for a bus operator and transit coordinator salary increase. We are now providing competitive compensation that is well deserved.”

Ride On bus service provides more than 40,000 riders affordable transportation throughout the County. Many riders do not own or have access to a vehicle and rely upon this equitable system. Currently, fees have been suspended to use Ride On, Ride On extRa, Flash and Flex service through July 2.

MCDOT encourages riders and residents to say “thank you” to their bus driver on this day.

“Bus Operators are essential employees that report to work during poor weather conditions and other difficult situations,” said Director Conklin. “These dedicated men and women have provided the transportation means for thousands of other essential workers, such as medical and food service workers as well as first responders throughout the pandemic. They provide essential trips for thousands of residents who do not own cars. These unsung heroes deserve recognition and thanks for doing an incredible job, every day no matter the circumstance.”

Passengers may also take a photo with a “Thank You” sign, then tag @RideOnMCT and @MCDOTNow on Twitter with the hashtag #TransitAppreciationDay to receive a free SmarTrip card while supplies last. Once the photo is posted, direct message Ride On with an address noting where to mail the SmarTrip card. Comments and notes of thanks are also appreciated.

MCDOT supports about 80 bus routes covering 1,463 miles throughout the County. Bus service was reduced slightly in January due to a number of operators being out sick or exposed to COVID-19. On March 13, service was increased to 86 percent of pre-COVID levels.

MCDOT is actively hiring new operators and offering paid CDL license training, a competitive benefits package and ongoing professional development opportunities. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and can apply here.

For the most up-to-date service information, riders should follow @RideOnMCT on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and Instagram. In addition, information is available at rideonbus.com and by subscribing to receive email alerts at montgomerycountymd.gov/govdelivery. Riders can text MONTGOMERY RIDEON to 468311 to receive text alerts.

For information on MCDOT programs, follow @MCDOTNow on Twitter, visit the MCDOT website, and subscribe to MCDOT’s “Go Montgomery!” newsletter.

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