Tobytown residents asked to weigh in on 2nd bus route option

WASHINGTON — During a hearing next week, another option will be presented for a proposed bus route serving a historic community in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Tobytown, a neighborhood in Potomac, was founded by freed slaves in 1847. Residents have expressed a sense of being left behind when it comes to county services.

Phil McLaughlin, chief of operations planning for Montgomery County’s Ride On bus service, said his department got feedback from residents after the first route was proposed for Tobytown earlier this month. As a result, the county is offering the new option along with the first version at the upcoming hearing, which is scheduled for July 28.

In interviews with WTOP earlier this month, several residents have said the one thing they wanted was bus service that would pull into the neighborhood, so that residents don’t have to stand and wait along busy River Road.

The first version of the bus route proposed by Montgomery County included a loop from Tobytown, along River Road, up Piney Meeting House Road, to Glen Road and back to Travilah Road. The new proposal does not include that River Road loop.

When reached for comment, McLaughlin did not directly address why the River Road loop was eliminated but, instead, said, “Certainly we’re going to listen to what the community tells us during the public forum process.” He also stressed that the routes were just proposals at this point.

The goal, he said, was “to put the service in that can best serve the communities.”

Links: Original proposal | Alternative proposal

If you go …

WHAT: Public hearing on the proposed Ride On bus route for Tobytown, a historic neighborhood in Potomac, Maryland.
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 28
WHERE: Travilah Elementary School, 13801 Dufief Mill Road, North Potomac, Maryland
MORE: Anyone wishing to speak must sign up in advance by Monday. To sign up, send an email with name, home address, telephone number to:


This is the original Ride On bus route that was proposed for Tobytown, a historic neighborhood in Potomac, Md.  Residents have said they wanted a bus route that did not require having to stand and wait along the busy River Road. This route includes a loop along River Road. (Courtesy Montgomery County Department of Transportation)
(Courtesy Montgomery County Department of Transportation)


This new proposal for a Ride On bus route serving Tobytown, a historic neighborhood in Potomac, Md., was drawn up to address concern from residents. They say it’s dangerous to have to wait along busy River Road. Unlike the original proposal, this route does not include a loop on River Road. (Courtesy Montgomery County Department of Transportation)
(Courtesy Montgomery County Department of Transportation)

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