Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) will resume fare collection on all Ride On, Ride On extRa and Flash buses starting April 5. Buses will also begin front door boarding on all buses except for Flash buses.
Since March 2020, rear doors have been used for boarding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This change allowed buses to follow social distancing guidelines and provide minimal contact between passengers and drivers at the buses’ fare boxes.
“I am proud to see Montgomery County Transit’s ongoing proactive approach to modify long-standing practices and develop creative solutions so that we can provide the services riders need while keeping them and our bus operators safe,” MCDOT Director Chris Conklin said in a press release. “We are glad to be able to welcome riders through the front doors again and open up more seating inside each bus.”
Clear, protective partitions have been installed on buses to separate bus operators and passengers. Seating areas at the front of buses will now be able to reopen, allowing more passengers to ride the bus in a safe manner.
A new fare payment option called SmarTrip has also been provided to allow for efficient, contactless pay. Passengers can add the virtual card on Apple iPhones to their Apple wallet, then use the card on an iPhone or Apple Watch. Payment using Google Wallet on Android devices is still being developed.
MCDOT is requesting that passengers have SmarTrip cards, passes, cash or phones prepared before boarding the buses. The standard cost per trip is $2.
All pandemic safety measures remain in effect and riders must continue to wear face coverings while on the bus. Buses will continue to be cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectant twice a day and bus filters and ventilation systems will be treated each night.