Montgomery County’s Ride On transit service and the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority have been allocated more than $1 million in federal funding to make public transportation safer amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ride On will receive $450,000 so it can track passenger counts in real-time to inform patrons about buses’ available capacities, members of Maryland’s congressional delegation announced in a statement Tuesday.
Thanks to the funding, the transit service will also be able to “provide trip-planning information about alternate transportation routes and allow the County’s bus control center better track and manage crowding.”
WMATA is receiving $600,000 for improved air filtration and purification technologies to aid in reducing the risk of spreading the virus on trains and buses.
The funding comes from the Federal Transit Administration’s COVID-19 Research Demonstration Program. Maryland Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, as well as Reps. Jamie Raskin, David Trone and John Sarbanes — who represent Montgomery County in the House — expressed their support for the county’s grant application in a November letter to the administration.
“This new infusion of federal funding will help WMATA and Montgomery County reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on public transportation systems and get riders safely to their destinations,” the lawmakers said in their Tuesday statement. “We will keep working to secure federal funding that invests in Maryland’s transit systems and improves their ability to deliver safe and reliable service.”