The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) reminds residents that Federal guidelines continue to require riders to wear face coverings for the duration of their trips when traveling by public transportation.
The regulation covers County Ride On buses, Ride On extRa, Flash, Metrobus, Metrorail and when taking taxis or on-demand car services.
MCDOT buses have a supply of face coverings for riders who cannot provide their own.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) mask mandate on transit was extended to January 18 back in August. The previous Federal mask order ran through September 13.
All County operated buses including Ride On, Ride On extRa and Flash buses will remain free to all passengers through at least September 2021. Fees were suspended during the onset of the pandemic.
Social distancing continues to be strongly recommended on board the buses and trains and at bus stops and shelters. Bus interiors will continue to be cleaned by the County’s Department of General Services twice daily with a hospital-grade viral disinfectant. Bus filter and ventilation systems are treated each night with a disinfectant.
Metro Offering New Incentives, Including $2 Rides, Discounts and Service Improvements to Get Riders Back
Metro has added some new discounts and scheduling to try to get people back onto trains and buses starting this Labor Day. They include:
- $2 fare for weekend train rides, no mater how far you are going.
- Discounting monthly passes by 40% for 30 days in September as workers head back to the office.
- Discount day and weeklong rail and bus passes by 50%. These would also be temporary 30-day discounts to woo riders back to the system.
- Indefinitely eliminating the $2 cost to transfer from bus to rail service.
- Lowers the seven-day regional bus pass cost to $12 ($6 for seniors and disabled people)
For service changes, Metro is focusing on providing more consistent service throughout the day.
- Peak hour service would have trains every five to ten minutes.
- Rail would stay open until midnight seven days a week starting in July and increase to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays starting this fall.
- The rail service should see 12-minute or less waits during most of the day.
- 20 of the busiest bus routes would see 12-minute or less waits during the day. Sixteen other bus lines would have service every 20 minutes or less.
In June the WTMA (The Washington Township Municipal Authority) shared how rail ridership was down 83 percent over 2019, and bus ridership was down 65 percent.
Ride On Resuming Front Boarding, Fare Collection in April
Beginning Monday, April 5, 2021, front door boarding and fare collection will resume on Montgomery County’s Ride On, Ride On extRa, and Flash buses. These routines had been suspended due to COVID. With the return of front boarding, the rear doors on Ride On buses will return to their pre-COVID exit only layout.
The standard Ride On fare remains at $2.00 per trip. In addition to cash, fares can now also be paid virtually with virtual SmarTrip Cards on iPhones and Apple Watches.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation and Ride On are also recruiting high school students and bilingual adults to join their Transit Advisory Group, created to improve the Ride On customer experience. Applications are also due Monday, April 5.
Tired of Dodging Potholes on Your Street? You Can Ask MoCo to Fix Them!
Many of us are familiar with the stark and sudden feeling of horror that can come after speeding through an unexpected pothole. Crunch! Some might liken it to stubbing your toe in the night when you’re stumbling into the dark towards your kitchen for a midnight snack…only, the pothole might feel just a bit more painful, and potentially much more expensive.
Other times, you might feel like you are a stunt driver in the way you weave through your neighborhood on the way home from a long day at work, avoiding chasms in the road that are distributed ever so inconveniently amidst parked cars.
The good news is, MoCo residents don’t have to settle for sitting around and grumbling ineffectually amongst themselves about roads that sometimes feel nearly impassable — in fact, Montgomery County’s Department of Transit encourages residents to notify them of any necessary repairs to county-maintained roadways.
The DOT has a convenient online form for submissions of road repair requests. The county website states that a transit representative will investigate the request in no later than five business days (however, some online requests will be investigated the very next business day, so don’t let that hold you back).
Not all roads in Montgomery County are maintained by the MoCo Department of Transit. The bigger numbered roads (Rt. 355, 27, 185, etc.) are maintained by the Maryland State Highway Administration — however, you can make online requests for those state-maintained roads here.
There are also some roads that are maintained by municipalities within the county (City of Rockville/Gaithersburg). If you know that the road you are struggling with is within the incorporated city limits, you can contact Gaithersburg’s Public Works Department at 301-258-6370 and Rockville’s at 240-314-8567.
What are some MoCo roads that you feel deserve some real TLC? Comment below (and then contact the appropriate maintenance authority to get them fixed!).