Ride On Will Continue to be Free Including Transportation to Vaccination Clinic

All Ride On, Ride On extRa and Flash buses will remain free until at least June 30. This reverses the announcement that riders would resume paying beginning April 5.

Due to the pandemic, riders have been boarding buses by the rear entrance and not getting close enough to the front and to the drivers to pay. Beginning April 5, riders will be permitted to board the bus by the front door.

A Montgomery County press release noted that County Executive Marc Elrich “has directed the County Department of Transportation” to continue the free rides. Council President Tom Hucker took to social media in what he called a “Corrected tweet,” posting that the council “which controls the budget for Montgomery County taxpayers, instructed @MCDOTNow to continue free bus service to help low-income county residents get vaccinated over @MontCoExec objections.”

In a news release, Elrich noted, “The County Council and I are on the same page.”

Elrich also stated, “Many of our residents who rely on public transportation have been severely impacted economically by the pandemic, and we must continue to do everything we can to assist them to move around the County and region.” Part of the reason to extend the free bus service is to make sure anyone receiving vaccines will be able to get the site.

The county is using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan to keep the buses free.

“I am happy that the County Executive and the County Council support the extension of fare-free transit service,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “Resuming safe front-door boarding will speed up service and make more space available for passengers. Being able to reach this milestone is a result of the hard work of Montgomery County’s transit and fleet employees.”

Clear protective partitions have been installed on the buses to separate riders, people entering the front door and the bus operators. Partitions also have been placed around the front of the buses, thereby providing more room for riders to social distance.

Riders must still wear masks.

Starting April 1, Ride On also will offer a free vaccination shuttle every 15 minutes during the day from Shady Grove Metro dtation to Montgomery College Germantown Campus.

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Suzanne Pollak

About Suzanne Pollak

Suzanne is a freelance reporter with Montgomery Community Media. She has over 35 years professional experience writing for newspapers, magazines, non-profit newsletters and the web.

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