Improvements for Commuter Bus Routes No. 201 and 202
Next month Commuter Bus Routes 201 and 202 will celebrate their first anniversary. Ridership has been growing steadily since the lines began express service along the first phase of the Inter County Connector (ICC) on March 1, 2011. The two bus routes link Gaithersburg to job and transportation centers at Fort Meade and BWI International Thurgood Marshall Airport, and with newly-opened segments of the ICC, travel time on the ICC buses is even quicker than before. Effective February 20, the No. 201 will add a stop at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on select weekday trips. The No. 201 will also add a stop at Arundel Mills (at bus shelters near Best Buy) to all trips on weekdays. The No. 202 is adding a stop at the Media Center in Fort Meade and has rearranged the order of stops to speed up morning drop-offs for commuters. Both routes will also transition to the new larger Georgia Avenue Park & Ride lot on February 20 and will no longer stop at the Norbeck Road Park & Ride. Routes 203, 204 and 205 will also make stops at the Georgia Avenue Park & Ride starting February 20.
Ridership Growing for New Routes 203, 204 and 205
Ridership has been growing steadily during the first month of service for new Commuter Bus routes 203, 204 and 205, which began Monday-Friday service along the Inter County Connector (ICC) toll road on January 3. The 203 serves the National Institutes of Health and the National Naval Medical Center in Montgomery County and connects Howard County to employment centers in Bethesda, making five stops between Snowden River Park & Ride and the Medical Center Metro Station. The 204 operates between Monacacy MARC Train Station in Frederick County and the College Park Metro/MARC Station, and transports residents to jobs in White Oak and College Park. The 205 begins at the College Park Metro/MARC Station on the Metro Green Line and connects to the Shady Grove Metro Station, serving employment centers in Rockville, Gaithersburg and Germantown. Fares on these Commuter Bus routes are $5.00 one-way, $38.25 for a ten-trip ticket, $144.50 for a monthly pass and $219.00 for a Transit Link Card, which allows for transfers to connecting transit services including WMATA.
Guaranteed Ride Home Covers Commuter Bus Riders
The Guaranteed Ride Home program provides up to four free rides per year for commuters who need transportation home in case of unexpected emergencies. This can include personal illness, family emergencies or unscheduled overtime. Anyone who bikes, walks, takes transit or rides in a carpool or vanpool at least twice a week is eligible. You must register first and certain restrictions apply. For more information, go to www.commuterconnections.org or call 800-745-RIDE (7433).
Lots of Connections to Commuter Bus
LOTS (Locally Operated Transit Systems) offer convenient connections to many Park & Ride locations throughout Maryland. Many people choose to drive to the Park & Rides, but there are some commuters who cannot, and need to depend on LOTS or even demand-response paratransit services. One such commuter is Darlene “B” who travels to Snowden River Park & Ride each morning in a Howard Transit paratransit van so she can connect with the No. 310 to Baltimore. Darlene, who is almost totally blind, refuses to let her lack of eyesight get in the way of taking the bus. Thanks to her intrepid spirit and MTA Commuter Bus service, her determination to take public transportation to work and have an easier commute just like everyone else is a goal she is able to realize every day.