Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation Launches New “Flash” Bus Service
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) brand-new high quality bus transit service, “Flash,” (https://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcgportalapps/Press_Detail.aspx?Item_ID=26941) will transport its first passengers today.
Spanning along busy US-29, Flash boasts frequent, reliable service on large buses equipped with exciting amenities, all at the same price as any other bus trip. The service promises 15-minute maximum wait times and aims to cut down travel time by an estimated 30 percent.
Faster boarding procedures, exclusive use of transit shoulders, and traffic signal priority make transit times shorter than that of other services. The installment of three Flash stations at existing Park & Ride lots and ten Capital Bikeshare stations along the route make for improved access.
The 80-passenger capacity buses have three doors for faster boarding and offer free WiFi and USB charging ports inside. An automated wheelchair securement system gives wheelchair and scooter users the option to secure themselves independently unless assistance is requested. The buses are the first in the region to have bike racks inside, allowing cyclists to bring their bicycles in with them.
Weather-protected stations are constructed level to the bus door, negating the need for stairs and providing easy boarding to passengers with disabilities or bikes and strollers. Passengers can pay their fare at the station before they board, and interactive screens display real-time transit information as they wait.
Along with all other MCDOT bus services, Flash is currently free of charge in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Riders are required to wear a face covering and encouraged to maintain maximum social distance as best as possible. Bus interiors are cleaned twice a day with hospital-grade disinfectant, and filters and ventilation systems are disinfected nightly.
The Flash system aims to promote economic development and ease traffic by improving access to high quality, efficient bus service. It is the first step in building a network of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines in Montgomery County, plans to add routes along Rockville Pike and Veirs Mill Road are already in the works.
A launch event can be viewed live at 10:30 am on Twitter @MCDOTNOW, and the broadcast will remain available for watch afterwards.
By Alicia Clanton