County Continues Transportation Efforts As Bus Ridership Increases

The county continues its transportation initiatives as bus ridership increases and leaders try to make mass transit easier, safer and more sustainable.

Ride On ridership is at about 55,000 people per day, which is about 80% of 2019 levels, said Chris Conklin, Director of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT). MCDOT continues to seek public input for Ride On Reimagined.

Residents will have opportunities to learn preliminary findings as a study to guide the county’s Ride On bus system continues. Ridership continues to rise each month, with the highest level in the last year being within the last month, Conklin said during a media briefing Wednesday with County Executive Marc Elrich.

The Ride On Reimagined Study has been underway for about a year, Conklin said, and has yielded preliminary recommendations. MCDOT will have pop-up meetings at transit centers as well as virtual meetings in the fall to share information. 

Elrich said the county is making progress on its climate action goals and noted poor air quality throughout the past month due to wildfires in Canada — “something that in my lifetime has not been a normal part of a summer,” he said.

Elrich said transportation needs to be addressed in order to reduce greenhouse gases, including efforts to continue the transition to electric vehicles as well as getting cars off the road by creating a more robust public transportation infrastructure.

A project scheduled for construction this summer is the Great Seneca Transit Network, to link the Shady Grove Metro System to the Universities at Shady Grove on two routes initially, Conklin explained.

Short-term transportation initiatives include the recent Ride On late-night courtesy stop program, which lets riders request a drop-off along a bus route after 9 p.m. Metrobus previously started offering nighttime courtesy stops.

A new Ride On trip planner app is also available now.

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