New Bus Lanes Introduced at High-Use Germantown Transit Center

New bus lanes are painted red on select Germantown roads in an effort to make travel more efficient in the area, Montgomery County leaders said during a press conference at the Germantown Transit Center on Monday.

“This is one of the busiest transit centers in our system,” said Chris Conklin, Director of Montgomery County’s transportation department. The Germantown Transit Center includes eight bus routes with nearly 2,000 riders per day, he said. Ridership was closer to 3,000 people daily pre-pandemic. The new lanes are on portions of Century Boulevard, Crystal Rock Drive and Aircraft Drive. They are part of the county’s Bus Priority Program, which aims to make quick improvements to buses so they are more reliable.

Conklin said the transit center is a critical link for Germantown and upcounty residents to get to the Shady Grove Metro station. The transportation department wants to paint the next lanes on Veirs Mill Road near the Wheaton Metro station, he said.

“When we prioritize buses, that means that we are prioritizing the people in them,” said Jane Lyons, Maryland Advocacy Manager with the Coalition for Smarter Growth. She noted the median household income for Ride On passengers is $35,000.

On Nov. 30, the county council voted to extend free Ride On bus service an additional six months through July 2, 2022.

Councilmember Craig Rice, who represents District 2 including Germantown, cited a Harvard study that found commute time is the ”strongest factor in the odds of escaping poverty,” according to the New York Times.

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