Ride On Service Changes Go Into Effect on April 5;
Public Forum on Proposed Bus Changes for FY10 to be Held March 24 — back to top
To address projected budget shortfalls of $450 million next year, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett developed a plan to reduce $50 million in spending beginning in the current fiscal year (FY2009). As part of the savings plan, changes to the County's Ride On bus service will begin on April 5 that strategically eliminate or reduce service on routes with the lowest ridership.
Ride On chose this year's round of service changes by eliminating portions of routes or times of service with the lowest ridership that affect the fewest number of people.
Below are the changes that will begin on Sunday, April 5:
- Route 4: Eliminate weekday midday service between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p..m.
- Route 6: Eliminate weekday midday service between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p..m.
- Route 18: Reduce weekday midday service frequency from 15 to 30 minutes between Langley Park and Takoma Park. (Midday service currently operates at 30 minute frequencies between downtown Silver Spring and Takoma Park.) Trips in downtown Silver Spring will be restructured to serve First Avenue and Fenwick Lane.
- Route 26: Eliminate Saturday and Sunday service to the Trolley Museum.
- Route 43: Reduce weekday frequency from 20 to 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
- Route 63: During midday only, service will be provided to the County Health Department between Shady Grove Station and Piccard Drive between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The remainder of Route 63, which is currently covered by Route 54, will be eliminated between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Route 75: All bus stops north of Maryland Route 121/Clarksburg Road to the Urbana Park & Ride Lot will no longer be served. Weekday service will be rerouted to serve the County Correctional Center, Clarksburg Town Center, Gateway Business Park and Germantown Transit Center.
- Routes 79, 82: Route 79 will be extended to Clarksburg Town Center via Skylark Drive, replacing the Route 82 service. Service to the Department of Energy and the Milestone neighborhood north of Father Hurley Boulevard will no longer be provided. The Route 82 designation will be eliminated.
Route 83: Service frequency during rush hours will be changed from 15 to 20 minutes from 5 to 9 a.m. and 3:30 to 7 p.m.
- Route 90: Weekday service to Milestone will be eliminated. Weekday service will be retained between Damascus and Shady Grove. Saturday service will be eliminated.
- Route 96: Montgomery Mall service after 4 p.m will be eliminated. Service will be retained between Grosvenor Station and Rockledge and Rock Spring drives.
- Route 98: Reduce weekday rush hour frequency from 15 to 30 minutes from 5:30 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Route 98 will be diverted to serve the Churchill Senior Living on Father Hurley Boulevard between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.
In addition, Leggett requested that Ride On develop a proposal for further cuts in FY10 should there be no improvement in the budget projections. Ride On will hold a public forum on March 24 starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Executive Office Building Cafeteria, Terrace Level, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville to discuss this proposal.
For more information about the proposed route changes or speaking at the public forum, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rideon or call the Transit Information Center at 240-777-RIDE (7433).
New Taxicab Rates Approved in Montgomery County — back to top
The Montgomery County Council recently approved a rate increase for taxicabs that went into effect on February 10. But, it may take a few weeks for all taxicabs to begin charging the new rates. The last rate increase was three years ago, and the Consumer Price Index has increased 12 percent since that change was proposed in October 2005.
The rate changes will:
- Increase the per mile charge from $1.60 to $2.
- Increase the traffic delay charge from $24 to $28 an hour.
- Allow for a $.50 a mile fuel surcharge when fuel costs are $5 or more a gallon.
- Charge $5 for each additional passenger using the Link-a-Ride program, which provides alternative transportation for grantees in low-density residential areas not served by fixed route service to mass transit.
The four rate increases will allow Montgomery County to better compete for drivers with neighboring jurisdictions such as Fairfax , Arlington and Anne Arundel counties that allow charges of $2 or more a mile. Most taxicab drivers lease their cabs, and in addition to paying lease fees, pay for their own gasoline and other expenses.
For more information, contact the Montgomery County Taxicab Unit at Taxi.email@example.com or 240-777-CABS (2227) or go to the County's website.
More Taxi News: Montgomery County Taxicab Customers Reminded That They Can Report Compliments and Complaints to Taxicab Hotline — back to top
Montgomery County taxicab customers who want to report on service and performance are encouraged to call the Taxicab Hotline. Division of Transit Services Taxicab Unit staff are available to answer calls from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays. Messages left at other times will be returned as soon as possible. The hotline can be reached by calling 240-777- 2625, TTY 240-777-2630, or emailing www.montgomerycountymd.gov/taxihotline.
The hotline was established in April 2004 to provide the County with another tool to assess the performance of taxicab companies and taxicab drivers. Data from the hotline is used to compile information, investigate complaints and enforce the law.
The Taxicab Hotline is not designed to resolve immediate service issues, such as if a taxi is late. Riders should call the taxicab company directly to resolve these types of problems.
Free and Reduced Rate Bus and Metrorail Service Available for Seniors and Persons With Disabilities — back to top
Ride On and Metro buses that operate in Montgomery County are free to seniors aged 65 and older and persons with disabilities. People with disabilities ride free by presenting a Metro Disabled ID card. Seniors ride free anytime by presenting Metro's new Senior SmarTrip Card to Ride On or Metrobus drivers.
To get the Senior SmarTrip card, go to any Montgomery County library, show proof of age and pay five dollars. Money can be added to the card using either a bus farebox or a farecard machine in a Metrorail station.
Seniors using their SmarTrip card on the bus are reminded to only SHOW the card to the driver, NOT TAP the farebox with it. Getting the card near the farebox will inadvertently cause a fare to be deducted from the card. With the Senior SmarTrip card, seniors also ride for half the regular fare on Metrorail. For more information, go to Metro's website or call Ride On at 240-777-7433.
Five County Parking Garages Now Accept Credit Card Payments — back to top
Five Montgomery County parking garages now offer the option to pay for parking with any major credit card. The garages have about 6,000 spaces -- almost one-third of the public parking spaces in the county.
The garages are:
- Woodmont Corner Garage, Bethesda
- Cameron/Second Garage, Silver Spring
- Wayne Avenue Garage, Silver Spring
- Town Square Garage, Silver Spring
- Amherst Garage, Wheaton
For information about the location, number of spaces, and hours of payment for each garage, visit the Division of Parking Management's website or call the Montgomery County Department of Transportation Customer Service Center at 240-777-6000.
More Ride On Riders Using SmarTrip Cards — back to top
Regional efforts to encourage more people to use SmarTrip cards are succeeding. SmartTrip card usage on Ride On for the month of January soared to more than 35 percent of passengers, compared with about 11 percent last January. For the first seven months of this fiscal year, Ride On ridership increased by 2.8 percent.
List of Park and Ride Lots Available from Commuter Services — back to top
For commuters who don't live near public transportation but would like to give it a try, the County's Commuter Services program maintains a list of Park and Ride Lots, most of which are free. Commuters can park their vehicles in the lots, then meet carpools or vanpools, or take transit.
To get a complete list of Park and Ride Lots, call the TRiPS store at 240-773-TRiPS (8747) or go to the County's website to view the list.
The TRiPS store is located in downtown Silver Spring at 8413 Ramsey Avenue . It operates Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to providing commuting information, the store sells bus passes and SmarTrip cards.
Beautification Grants Once Again Available — back to top
In conjunction with the Keep Montgomery County Beautiful Task Force (KMCB), Montgomery County is offering beautification grants for volunteer projects that add flowers, trees, bushes or rainscape gardens to common areas in neighborhoods. Projects that qualify may be eligible for Department of Transportation (MCDOT) matching funds of up to $500. KMCB and MCDOT also sponsor other programs to promote environmental quality, such as Adopt-a-Road and storm drain marking. For more information and an application, go to the County's website.
KMCB is also recruiting new members. Civic activists, gardeners, business people or interested residents can get more information by calling MCDOT's Community Outreach program at 240-777-7155.