A busy suburb of Washington DC is making a major investment in Bus Rapid Transit. Montgomery County Maryland will roll out a new bus rapid transit line Wednesday that connects downtown Silver Spring and Burtonsville–A 14-mile stretch that will soon be a dream come true for bus riders, with modern stations, shorter waits and less time wasted in road traffic.
The Route 29 line is the first of a comprehensive network of as many as 10 BRT lines that Montgomery County first envisioned in 2013. A county official said such a network is key to creating a true transit-friendly county, with robust east-west and north-south bus connections. Following the kickoff of Route 29, he said, the county plans to proceed with other bus rapid transit systems on the main arteries that connect to job centers and Metro and have the county’s Ride On bus system, which covers neighborhoods, feed that system.
The bus line, branded “FLASH,” will operate along the county’s Route 29 corridor and will feature dedicated bus lanes, technology that allows drivers to hold stoplights green, fuel-efficient buses with Wi-Fi and other elements of rapid transit meant to provide upgraded and more reliable service.
The service will be the Washington region’s biggest experiment to date with bus rapid transit, a system designed to prioritize bus travel by using dedicated lanes and technology that gives buses the green light at major intersections.
“We’re hoping that it’s going to be such a high-quality product, it’s going to be a rail-like experience, that folks who do have a car will leave their car at the park-and-ride in Burtonsville … and other park-and-ride lots, leave their car at home, leave their car at a park-and-ride and take the FLASH bus all the way down to the Silver Spring Transit Center,” Montgomery County Councilman Tom Hucker said.
Montgomery County posted a video to educate the commuting public.