2022 | Opinion

Opinion: Buses transform Montgomery County by increasing transit options

Expand Flash Bus service to upcounty communities

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To the editor:

Regarding Steve Bohnel’s Jan. 20 article, “Report says Montgomery County has good bus service but region needs more investment,” Gaithersburg residents await the extension of Flash Bus service to the upcounty, giving us the opportunity to shed our cars for intercounty travel and to access Metro for Washington, D.C., designations. Gaithersburg and Rockville are major employment, research and educational hubs, housing the biotech industry, National Institutes of Standards and Technology, Universities at Shady Grove and Montgomery Community College, and need more transit options.

The Flash Bus provides amenities such as comfortable seats and large passenger capacity, often traveling on designated lanes with traffic signals that are programmed to reduce delays. Disabled individuals in wheelchairs enter the bus at the same level as the platform, not requiring a lift. Covered shelters with monitors track bus arrival times. Though racks are available at all stations, bikes may be brought onboard.

Mr. Bohnel addresses the need to provide reduced rates for the primarily low-income county residents who are reliant on buses for access to jobs, medical appointments and shopping. Flash buses are now free and should remain free permanently for regular riders, relegating underserved community members additional income to pay rent, buy food and attend community events while maintaining residence in the county.

Montgomery Department of Transportation Director Chris Conklin comments on the benefits of speedy travel on the luxury buses while avoiding traffic delays, but not without asserting that riding transit reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, ridership is low and convincing county residents to drop their allegiance to the car culture is difficult, but necessary to avert the severe impacts of climate change.

Gail Landy
Gaithersburg

Editor’s note: Landy is a member of Montgomery County Sierra Club Transportation and Land Use Committee, but said she is speaking as a concerned resident, not for the Sierra Club.

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