Montgomery County to Consider Alternative Tobytown Bus Route After Public Feedback

Montgomery County to Consider Alternative Tobytown Bus Route After Public Feedback

Ride On considering whether to bring buses into historic African American neighborhood

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Alternative Tobytown bus route now also being proposed by Ride On, via Ride On

After getting pushback to its first proposal for a bus route to serve the historically African-American community of Tobytown, Ride On is pitching an alternative that would bring the buses directly into the Potomac neighborhood.

In May, the County Council approved $407,000 for a one-year pilot program that would provide daily bus service connecting Tobytown, where many residents don’t have their own vehicles, to nearby schools, the Rockville Metro station and commercial areas.

Ride On, the county’s bus system, will host a public forum to get feedback on the new routes at 6:30 p.m. July 28 at Travilah Elementary School, 13801 Dufief Mill Road, North Potomac. Service is expected to start Oct. 1.

Esther Bowring, a spokesperson with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT), said Tuesday that some who responded to Ride On’s first route proposal weren’t happy it stopped at the intersection of River Road and Travilah Road and didn’t enter the Tobytown community itself.

Initial proposed Tobytown bus route, via Ride On

About 60 residents live in Tobytown, founded by freed slaves in 1847, near the intersection of River and Esworthy roads. The nearest existing Ride On stop is about 3 miles away.

Bowring said the second proposed route, which does involve the buses entering the community, can be implemented because the contractor the county plans to hire for the service will use smaller buses that won’t require a bus turn-around area.

“This change is because we are using a contractor that can turn the bus around within the community without any infrastructure improvements,” Bowring said. “That has changed our ability to provide the bus service directly in the community and so we would like to offer this as an option if the community wants it.”

Buses on the route would operate between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. and arrive at each of the 10 stops about every 75 minutes. The fare would be $1.75.

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