Bus driver shortage forces reduction in Montgomery Co. Ride On service

Montgomery County, Maryland, will reduce service on its Ride On Bus beginning Jan. 16, due to a driver shortage.

Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) announced Friday that the temporary reduction in service is a result of a high number of employees calling out sick from COVID-19 or quarantining after an exposure to the virus.

Around half of Ride On routes will have fewer trips while maintaining the same operating hours. MCDOT estimates that service will be reduced by around 9% of the current schedule, or around 80% of pre-pandemic service levels.

“We have not yet fully returned to pre-pandemic bus service levels and hate to pull back,” said Dan Hibbert, MCDOT chief of transit. “These temporary changes will be fairly minimal from where we currently are, but riders need to be able to plan.”

Service capacity will be maintained for students and the Senior Program Transportation service will be continued. The Flash will operate on a Saturday schedule during weekday operations.

The operating schedule reflecting the latest reduction will be released next week.

“We are doing all we can to ensure consistency within our transit system for our community members who depend on it,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “It is imperative that riders know what to expect. This service change will provide a more reliable service.”

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which runs the Metro system, said it will scale back Metrobus service, starting Jan. 10, as it faces growing COVID-related absences among drivers.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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