Per Montgomery County: The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) delivered more than 5 million rides on its Ride On bus transit system from March 2023 through June 2023, the last quarter of the 2023 Fiscal Year. That number represents a 9 percent increase in ridership over the same period of the previous year. The trend toward increased ridership on Ride On buses accelerated over those four months, with June recording a nearly 15 percent increase in total ridership over 2022.
“Higher rates of Ride On ridership benefit everyone by reducing the number of cars, improving traffic congestion, and helping our environment,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “I hope to see this trend continue. Increased bus ridership is important toward the County reaching our Climate Action Plan goal of a 100 percent carbon emission reduction by 2035. We have invested significant resources into creating a modern, accessible and customer-focused transit network. We have more exciting plans to come for Ride-On including fully transitioning to a zero-emission bus fleet while continuing to provide our riders increased amenities, improved routes and better on-time performance. If you haven’t tried Ride-On recently, please consider getting on board soon.”
Encouraging people to return to public transit following the pandemic has been a priority for MCDOT. In August 2022, the department announced the return of bus fare, but at the discounted rate of one dollar per ride. Seniors, persons with disabilities and students under the age of 18 are still able to ride for free.
The department was also greatly impacted by the national shortage of bus operators during and after the COVID-19 health crisis. Salary increases implemented last year and ongoing hiring and training efforts have steadily grown staffing back up.
“We are continually looking to hire and train operators and those numbers have been trending upward as well,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin.
Other MCDOT Ride On initiatives have focused on making the transit network faster, easier to use, and more accessible.
“Accessibility improvements, service adjustments based on ridership and gradual service increases have helped support the steady recovery from pandemic impacts,” said Director Conklin. “Our Ride On Trip Planner app, launched this past July, allows customers to plan their routes in advance, and track bus arrivals in real-time. It’s never been easier, and our fares are still only $1, which is a lot cheaper than driving.”
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