Rockville rapid transit options in open house

An open house will be held at the Rockville Memorial Library on June 25 to provide information about Montgomery County’s planned Rapid Transit System (RTS).

The RTS is a series of bus routes created to reduce congestion. Though the plan calls for designated bus lanes, the buses will not be completely separated from general traffic. Routes are planned along existing roads in the county including Rockville Pike, U.S. Route 29, Veirs Mill Road and Georgia Avenue.

The Coalition for Smarter Growth spokesperson Kelly Blynn said the system was proposed to deal with an expected increase in population and employment in the county at a fraction of the cost of a rail system. The benefits of the RTS, according to Blynn, include affordability for low income individuals, accessibility for elderly or disabled riders and positive environmental effects.

The system is designed to be faster and more reliable than existing bus routes. Blynn said buses will arrive at stops every 5-10 minutes with more distance between stops and riders will pay before boarding. A 2011 report on the rapid transit plan by the county’s Department of Transportation forecasted that the proposed routes would save nine minutes on average compared to existing local buses but would be about a minute slower than highway traffic along the same routes. The forecast is based on end-to-end travel times for each planned route.

The system is estimated to cost about $1.8 billion, according to a bus rapid transit document from county councilmember Marc Elrich. The planned system is expected to cost on average $13 million per mile compared to $75 million to $125 million per mile for a light rail line, according to the document.

The open house will cover the basic details of the transit system, specific information for the Rockville area and updates from ongoing state studies on some of the planned routes, according to Blynn. The event is co-sponsored by the Coalition for Smarter Growth and Communities for Transit and will be held in the library’s large meeting room on the first floor from 6:30 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. To RSVP or see event details visit

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Photo courtesy of The Sentinel.