MCDOT to introduce new commuting option, Ride On extRA

WASHINGTON — A new transportation option is coming to Montgomery County this fall.

Montgomery County Department of Transportation has announced the Ride On extRA, a new bus option expected to make its debut early October. The bus will run during weekday rush hours in a 12- stop route along Maryland Route 355, between Medical Center Metrorail Station in Bethesda and Lakeforest Transit Center in Gaithersburg.

“Maryland Route 355 is one of the most heavily used corridors in Montgomery County, so while we continue to plan for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on this roadway, the new Ride On extRa service will move people more quickly in modern, sleek vehicles with enhanced amenities,” said Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett in an April 7 news release. “Giving travelers more options can reduce the number of cars on this highly congested thoroughfare and ease the commute for the remaining drivers.”

Bethesda Magazine reports that the program will cost about $2 million per year to operate, and Leggett has allocated $2.6 million in his fiscal 2018 budget request for Ride On extRA.

This new service will use 17 new buses that will include easy access boarding with lower floors, Wi-Fi and USB charging ports, according to MCDOT’s news release.

Ride On extRA buses will cost the same as regular Ride On fares, and passengers can pay with SmarTrip cards and cash; however, passengers will not be able to load cash onto their SmarTrip cards on the new buses.

A Transit Signal Priority System (TSP) will be able to “detect Ride On extRA buses as they approach a traffic signal and could provide a few extra seconds of green light to allow the bus to get through the intersection.”

Buses will run every 10 minutes from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The stops on the new Ride On extRA service include:

  • Lakeforest Transit Center
  • Summit Ave., Westland Dr.
  • Shady Grove Metro
  • Montgomery College
  • Rockville Metro
  • Edmonston Dr.
  • Halpine Rd.
  • Marinelli Rd.
  • Security Ln.
  • Tuckerman Ln.
  • Medical Center Metro
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