In celebration of Transportation Week, Ride On announced today that it will launch a new, limited stop, higher speed service on Maryland Route 355 called the Ride On extRa, which will provide a faster option for bus riders during rush hours.
Beginning in October, the premium, rush-hour service will make only 12 stops between the Medical Center Metrorail Station in Bethesda and the Lakeforest Transit Center in Gaithersburg, which will allow Ride On extRa to provide faster service with “Less Stop. More Go.”
Buses will run every 10 minutes from 5:30 to 9:30 AM and 3:30 to 7:30 PM.
“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 a press release. “Giving travelers more options can reduce the number of cars on this highly congested thoroughfare and ease the commute for the remaining drivers.”
For Ride On extRa, MCDOT will use 17 new, specially branded buses with easy access boarding, WiFi and USB charging ports. Ride On extRa’s bus shelters will feature real time information displays. The new service will accept standard SmarTrip cards and passes, as well as cash. To eliminate delays that occur when passengers add cash to SmarTrip cards on board the bus, passengers will not be able to load cash on to SmarTrip cards on the bus.
A Transit Signal Priority (TSP) system will expedite travel speeds for Ride On extRa. The TSP will 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.
“To realize a future for Montgomery County that includes a first-rate, multimodal transportation system, MCDOT is expanding choices for all the users of our network,” said MCDOT Director Al Roshdieh. “Ride On extRa is an interim step to BRT that will enhance transit options with faster service, expand transit capacity on the busy Maryland Route 355 corridor, and lure more drivers out of their cars.”
At Ride On extRa bus stops, passengers will be able to take advantage of connections to Metrorail, 15 Metrobus routes, MARC Brunswick Line, MTA Commuter buses, and 42 Ride On routes. Ride On extRa will also complement the full schedule of more local service offered along Route 355 via Ride On 46 and 55.