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Residents Weigh In on Tobytown Bus Service Route at Ride On Meeting (VIDEO & PHOTOS)

After decades of pushing for better transportation options and nearly four months after a resident testified for bus service in front of the Montgomery County Council, Tobytown residents will finally have Ride On bus access. MyMCMedia’s Maureen Chowdhury reports.

The County Council approved $407,000 for a Ride On route in the FY 2017 budget in May and on Thursday, Ride On held a public forum at Travilah Elementary School to receive feedback from residents about two plans that have been created for the bus service.

The first proposed plan, operates along Travilah Road and River Road with loop from Piney Meetinghouse Road and Glen Road.

The second proposed plan, operates from Tobytown Drive to Rockville via Travilah Road.

Both routes will connect residents of Potomac, North Potomac, and Rockville to local schools, Shady Grove Hospital, and Rockville Metro Station. The bus will be a Ride On contract service with the Jewish Council on Aging, that will run seven days a week from  6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Buses will operate every 60 to 75 minutes and the fare will be $1.75.

Residents have varying opinions on which route they prefer, but are happy that the bus service is becoming a reality.

“We’ve been trying to get this Ride On bus up and running for some years now, a lot of years, we’ve been doing all the work we can. Going to all the meetings and meeting with whoever we could, just trying to get some attention. Finally we got it, and we’re happy,”  Mary Wilson, resident of Tobytown said.

Wilson is pushing for the more direct route without the loop from River Road and Piney Meetinghouse Road. Wilson says that Ride On would place the stop for the route with the loop at Rivers Edge. This would require riders to walk about a quarter mile along River Road, which Wilson says can be dangerous. The stop for the more direct route would be located near Tobytown Drive.

James Martin, a resident of Tobytown who testified in front of the County Council, said he feels like the Tobytown community is finally being included. He prefers the longer route with the loop and believes that it could bring in more riders.

“I’m leaning towards the bigger route and I know a lot of people [are] not, but I’m looking for not only Tobytown. There’s other people out there in the area that can use this bus, and I think that would be the best thing to do,” Martin said.

Supporters from surrounding communities also turned out for the meeting.

“The bus route is very important to the community. The children that live in Tobytown cannot participate in sports teams or after school activities because there’s no way back and forth…the elderly cannot get to Shady Grove Hospital for medical appointments. It’s sort of a no brainer,” Betsi Dahan, board member of the West Montgomery Citizens Association, said.

Phil McLaughlin, operations planning manager at Ride On, says that  residents or organizations that would like to submit comments about the public forum can do so until August 11th by emailing the Department of Transportation or  to 101 Monroe Street, 5th Floor, Rockville, MD 20850.

According to McLaughlin, the service will be operational by October of this year.

Maureen Chowdhury

About Maureen Chowdhury

Maureen Chowdhury is a multimedia journalist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at mchowdhury@mymcmedia.org and on Twitter at @MediaMaureen. Maureen authors the blog Sound Check on MyMCMedia.


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