The Montgomery Better Buses coalition members and other signatories are excited about the upcoming Ride On Reimagined Study and its potential to greatly improve bus service in Montgomery County.
“A lot of the job growth that we’ve seen is in the Great Seneca Science Corridor” is car-dependent, “so bringing better transit will help guide that growth in a direction that is more transit oriented.”
CSG won Montgomery County’s 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Plan, which envisioned a new Flash bus rapid transit (BRT) system along major roadways. We’ve advocated to implement the plan ever since, and this past month we won actual construction funding for BRT on Veirs Mill Road and MD-355 between Germantown and Rockville! These, along with other routes, are moving forward with planning, design, and construction.
BRT is a higher quality bus service that operates more frequently; has limited stops; runs in a dedicated bus-only median or curb lane; and offers features like all-door boarding, wi-fi, and off-board fare collection. Montgomery’s first Flash route opened along US-29, although it doesn’t have dedicated bus lanes (working on that!).
See below for many, many opportunity to get involved and provide input on the upcoming BRT projects! When providing input, we’d urge you to share the following:
- Prioritize median, dedicated bus-only lanes — this is the gold standard for BRT and keeps buses fast, reliable, and out of traffic
- Routes should connect the places where the most people live and work
- Bus stops should be easy and safe to access for people walking and biking
MD-355 (Rockville Pike)
The MD-355 will connect Clarksburg, Gaithersburg, Rockville, North Bethesda, and Bethesda. The project is in the preliminary engineering phase and seeking feedback. Residents from anywhere in the county can take the feedback survey.
New Hampshire Avenue
New Hampshire Avenue BRT would connect Colesville, White Oak, Adelphi, Silver Spring, and other communities along the corridor. This route is in the study stages, and they need community feedback on station locations and other features. Register for the online meeting, and/or arrive anytime during the open house hours!
North Bethesda Transitway
The North Bethesda Transitway will connect the Montgomery Mall Transit Center to either the White Flint or Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station. The county want your input on the termini point and stop locations. Register for the June 9 or June 21 online open house, or attend the June 13 in-person open house.
Ride On bus fares in Montgomery County have been free since March 2020 and the Montgomery Better Buses coalition, organized by the Coalition for Smarter Growth, has won an extension of free fares four times. Right now, fares will stay free until June 2022. But we’d like to see free fares extended until at least October 2023, when the county’s study to redesign Ride On and Metrobus routes will be complete.
The Montgomery Better Buses coalition strongly urges you to support bus riders and transit workers in the FY23 operating budget, FY23 capital budget, and FY23-28 Capital Improvements Program (CIP). Our coalition consists of nearly 30 groups, including labor, climate and transit advocates, service providers, and community organizations.
The platform for the Montgomery County Better Buses Coalition.
Did you know that Ride On has been free since March 2020? We’ve successfully advocated for the emergency free fare program to be extended twice, and now the County Council is going to decide whether or not to make it permanent.
Fare-free public transit has recently gained momentum across the globe. As of 2018, there were 97 cities and towns with fully fare-free public transit, mostly in Europe. There are 27 fare-free systems in the United States, “mostly in small towns and colleges.” Reasons for this move include climate, congestion, equity, and economic development.
Today, over 25 organizations will launch a campaign advocating for better bus service in Montgomery County.