This new bi-monthly e-newsletter from the Commuter Services Section of the Division of Transit Services will keep you informed about commuting options and transportation news in Montgomery County. Please share this issue with friends, or send us their email addresses so we can invite them to opt-in for future newsletters. We also welcome your comments and ideas so our partnership will be mutually beneficial. Email us at mcdot.CommuterServices@montgomerycountymd.gov and be sure to visit us online: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/commute
ICC's First Phase Opens
The first seven-mile segment of the Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 opened February 23rd. That means it's time for you to discover how to best use this new transportation asset.
Free Test Drive: The initial section of Maryland's first all-electronic toll road connects I-370 at Shady Grove and MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) in Rockville/Olney. You can test out the route free-of-charge through March 6th. (Learn the latest at www.iccproject.com.)
E-ZPass® Required: Tolls kick in after that date, so you will need a valid E-ZPass® to drive on the ICC. If you are in a carpool or vanpool, your driver needs to use the E-ZPass® registered to the vehicle in which you're pooling. Since there are no toll booths, having an E-ZPass® is the most convenient way to use the ICC. Video tolling is an alternative to E-ZPass, but is not recommended for frequent travelers. The toll amount, plus a $3 Notice of Toll Due service charge per transaction, is sent to the registered vehicle owner for payment.
Express Bus---- Another Option: Travel on the ICC by express bus. The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is launching two new commuter bus routes, #201 and #202, enabling you to sit back and relax while someone else navigates through peak period traffic. Details are online at www.mtaiccbus.com, or you can contact MTA via email (email@example.com) or toll-free phone (1-866-RIDE-MTA). Here are the basics:
- Route 201 provides hourly service seven days a week between Montgomery County and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, with a few intermediate stops along the way---- including one at the Shady Grove Metro Station. Each of its 14 daily round trips starts at the Gaithersburg Park and Ride lot located at I-270 and MD 124 in Montgomery County and ends at the BWI MARC/Amtrak Rail Station
- Route 202 is designed to serve employees working at NSA and Fort Meade. It operates weekdays with three morning trips, three afternoon trips and one midday trip, with intermediate stops. Trips begin at the Gaithersburg Park and Ride lot located at I-270 and MD 124 in Montgomery County---- with a stop at the Shady Grove Metro Station---- and end at Fort Meade, and then return to Gaithersburg along the same route.
Closest Park & Ride Lots: Whether you're hopping a bus or a carpool/vanpool bound for the ICC corridor, consider leaving your own wheels at one of several convenient Park and Ride lots in Montgomery County near the ICC.
- Gaithersburg Park and Ride (517 spaces)
- Shady Grove Metro Station (5,745 spaces)
- Norbeck Park and Ride (248 spaces)
- Burtonsville Park and Ride (500 spaces)
An online list of all Park and Ride lots in the County can be found here:
|Second Glenmont Metro Garage Going Up|
It's "green." It's big. And it's coming.
We're not talking about the latest monster film from Hollywood, but rather the new parking garage being built at the Glenmont Metro Station. Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett joined federal, state and local officials January 18th to break ground for the bigger, better facility.
Green: The garage's design incorporates environmentally-sensitive features, including energy efficient light fixtures and measures to reduce energy use; recycling and reuse of construction, demolition and land clearing debris; and use of building materials that are locally produced or contain recycled content. The garage will qualify for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, thus helping the County attain its sustainability goals.
Big: The garage will have six levels of parking, with one level below ground. This second garage at Glenmont Station, which will be located on the west side of Georgia Avenue, replaces one of the station's Kiss & Ride lots. It will add 1,200 more parking spots, giving Glenmont 3,000 spaces when the garage is done.
Coming: The garage is scheduled for completion in 2012. It will feature customer assistance phones, extra lighting, digital security cameras, a police room with window access to the garage to enhance security, and a canopy connecting to the Metrorail entrance.
During Construction: Commuters displaced from the Kiss & Ride lot during construction can use the other Kiss & Ride lot on the east side of Georgia Avenue. Plus, Ride On added eight additional trips to the Route 51 bus---- a service increase of 33 percent---- from the 235-space Norbeck Park and Ride Lot, located to the north one-quarter mile east of Georgia Avenue.
Lots more capacity for Metro Riders: Once it's done it will be much easier for commuters from Glenmont, Olney, Aspen Hill and other parts eastern Montgomery County to ride metro!
|Could this Mean Extra Money for You?|
Coffee shops, bookstores and diners do it. So, Commuter Connections---- the regional network of transportation organizations coordinated by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments-figured it could do it, too.
Offer rewards, that is. 'Pool Rewards: Cash for Carpools is a win-win program that benefits everybody, because the result is fewer cars on the road.
Here's the Deal: If you currently drive alone to work, you might be eligible for financial rewards when you agree to start or join a new carpool. Participation is open to solo drivers who begin carpooling during peak rush hour periods in the Metropolitan Washington region.
New Carpoolers Only: If you're eligible, you can earn $2 per day ($1 each way) for each day you carpool to work over a consecutive 90-day period. In other words, you can get a maximum incentive for the 90-day period of $130. In exchange, you simply need to go online and log information about your new commute and complete some surveys about the experience.
Caveats: The focus is on commuters and carpools only, so neither vanpools nor students are eligible. Each new carpooler must commute to work an average of two or more weekdays for the duration of the 90-day program. You must not have used an alternative commute mode (i.e., carpool, vanpool, transit, bicycle, walk) more than three days in the 30 days prior to applying for 'Pool Rewards. Other rules and limitations apply, so be sure to read all guidelines before being considered for participation.
More Info: Visit our website and click on the "Pool Rewards" banner to the right for rules and details. The sign-up deadline is March 31st.
|Employers: Protect Your Bottom Line with a Smart Benefit|
As an employer, you know that retaining good employees is less expensive over the long run than constantly dealing with turnover. Valued employee benefits help keep people smiling-but cost concerns might give you pause. Here's a low-cost solution to your dilemma: transit benefits.
A new brochure out from Montgomery County Commuter Services helps you weigh the advantages of such benefits for your company and your employees. The brochure's free. And it's easy to get: Download the PDF from our website or contact us for the printed version at 240-773-BWTW (2989) or
Why Transit Benefits: Have you seen the traffic out there? Help your employees opt out of bumper-to-bumper frustration. Transit benefits (vanpools count, too!) are tax-free to employees and incur only minimal cost to employers.
Common Sense Numbers: Because of tax savings, a $100 monthly direct transit benefit is equal in value to a $1,400 a year raise---- but costs the employer just $200 per year!
Sustainability: Offering transit benefits is another way to "go green." You not only help your employees, you also help reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and enhance the business environment. Providing your employees with transit benefits also contributes toward your becoming a Montgomery County Certified Green Business (mcgreenbiz.org).
Bottom Line: This is too smart to pass up. Check out our brochure. Then, let's talk.
|One-Stop Shopping at TRiPS Commuter Stores|
Quick! Where can you go for instant information and assistance on any aspect of your commute? Easy: a TRiPS Commuter Store.
Your life has enough challenges already. Montgomery County provides two TRiPS Commuter Stores, one in Silver Spring and the other in Friendship Heights. They're located near their respective Metrorail stations on the Red Line---- and each store has a ramp for full accessibility.
You can find all this---- not to mention friendly and helpful staff---- at TRiPS Commuter Stores:
- RideOn and Metro Bus Passes
- Metrorail Fare Cards, SmarTrip® Cards
- Add value to SmarTrip® Cards
- Information on Things to Do and Places to See
- Regional Transit System Maps and Schedules
- Rideshare (Carpool/Vanpool) and Carsharing Assistance
- Pedestrian and Bicycle safety information
- Transit-Related Merchandise
Plus, you can now have 7-day bus passes loaded onto your SmarTrip cards at both store locations.
Convenient Locations & Hours:
8413 Ramsey Avenue
(Corner of Wayne and Ramsey)
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Monday - Friday: 7:00am - 5:00pm
17 Wisconsin Circle
(Between Western & Wisconsin)
Friendship Heights, MD 20815
Monday - Friday: 11:00am - 7:00pm
Questions? Learn more about TRiPS stores online, or call 240-773-TRiPS (8747).
|Employers: Help Highlight Future Transportation Needs with 2011 Commuter Survey|
Montgomery County's annual commuter survey begins soon---- and your participation as an employer has a major impact. The information collected from employees through the survey helps county, state and federal governments determine future transportation projects.
You Benefit: Participating employers receive an analysis of the data collected from their own employees. The resulting commuting profile offers insights into how specific mobility strategies can be tailored to benefit your workforce.
Your Employees Benefit: Employees who complete the survey and include their name and phone number on the form are entered into drawings for great prizes. Survey answers are completely confidential (name & phone are for prize drawings only), so your employees can respond candidly and thoroughly.
What's in the Survey: The survey questions focus on employees' commute hours and distance, travel modes, vehicle occupancy, parking, access to various types of assistance, and the likely impact of services and programs on their commuting choices.
More Info: You can view a brief description of the survey process and a sample of the survey instrument here. Or, contact Montgomery County Commuter Services with questions at 240-773-BWTW (2989) or mcdot.CommuterServices@montgomerycountymd.gov.
How You Can Help: No action is required on your part for now. If your business is selected to participate, representatives from Montgomery County Commuter Services will contact your company in about a month to discuss survey details. Once they do whatever you can do to increase your employees' participation will be much appreciated. Some employers sponsor pizza parties or provide other incentives for employees to complete surveys. Thanks in advance for your assistance and participation. It's important!
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Individuals interested in helping these areas improve transit and other alternative commute modes of travel are needed.