Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, County Councilmember Craig Rice and the County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) this week introduced new dedicated bus lanes at the Germantown Transit Center. The lanes, which have been painted red and are located on Crystal Rock Drive, Century Boulevard, and Aircraft Drive, allow buses to easily access the transit center.
Red pavement markings are a proven tool to improve compliance with bus lanes and increase bus speeds. Red bus lanes installed in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, New York, Chicago, San Diego County and elsewhere have improved bus operations. A special paint that includes glass particles is used to create a high-friction surface. The glass also helps filter out UV rays, adding to the longevity of color.
“It is important for our environment, economic, and equity efforts that we consistently improve our bus service,” said County Executive Elrich. “Dedicated bus lanes help support faster, safer, and more reliable transit and will help us encourage residents to ditch their cars in favor of riding the bus. Drivers should know that when they see a lane painted red in Montgomery County, they are solely for the use of buses.”
The Germantown Transit Center has six bus bays serving eight routes. More than 1,900 people board buses at the bus the transit center each day. The center had an average of 2,700 people boarding prior to the start of the COVID-19 health crisis.
“This is the debut project in the Bus Priority Program, which provides for targeted and quickly implementable improvements that make buses faster and more reliable,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “Future Bus Priority projects may include additional bus lanes, queue jumps, passenger boarding and alighting improvements, implementation of transit signal priority, enhanced bus stops and other similar capital improvements that will result in improved bus operations throughout Montgomery County.”
Flash is a recently implemented bus operates in a designated corridor with preset stops and upgraded high-capacity buses. Flash currently operates on Colesville Road / Columbia Pike (US 29) and Lockwood Drive, with destinations including Downtown Silver Spring, Four Corners, White Oak, Fairland and Burtonsville. Additional Flash corridors are in the early planning stages.
Residents are encouraged to look for engagement opportunities with MCDOT to help shape future public transportation projects such as future Flash Bus service corridors and the Ride On Reimagined bus study through upcoming community feedback opportunities.
“It is so important to have a fast, reliable bus system in place to meet our equity goals,” said Councilmember Rice. “Our bus riders are 80 percent people of color and almost half have a household income under $30,000. MCDOT is planning a lot of new up-and-coming transportation projects and I encourage community members to look out for ways to get involved and provide feedback to help influence our growing transit system.”