Ride On buses in Montgomery County, Maryland, will remain free to ride until July 2022.
The Montgomery County Council voted Tuesday to extend the fare holiday until July 2, 2022. In September, the council voted to extend it until Jan. 2.
The council said in a statement that the earlier extension was meant to give it time to study the results of the Ride On Fare Equity Study, and the recommendations of County Executive Marc Elrich. On Tuesday, the council said in a statement, “The council concluded that the extension of the fare holiday through the end of fiscal year 2022 would benefit the County’s most economically vulnerable and low-income residents.”
“As so many are still struggling financially because of the pandemic, free bus fares have collectively saved our hard-working residents millions of dollars in commuting costs,” Council President Tom Hucker said in the statement. “The Council’s action today aligns with our climate and racial equity goals and eliminates the cost burden from our lowest-income residents as they continue to use public transportation to reach their jobs and conduct essential activities.”
The council said a report by its Office of Legislative Oversight showed “47% of Ride On customers have an annual household income below $30,000; 47% are people of color and 42% speak a language other than English at home.”
The council also approved:
- $252 million in additional funding for Montgomery County Public Schools to support the hiring 271 positions, including 113 teachers, 32 paraeducators, 50 social workers and 40 counselors.
- $1.2 million in additional funding for MCPS for a program to address trauma and behavioral problems exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Nearly $2.5 million in a special appropriation to renovate a new homeless shelter in North Bethesda. The money is needed to accelerate completion of the project because the current shelter facility in Rockville will no longer be available in January 2022.