Montgomery County will be ending its bus fare holiday starting in July, with plans to charge $1 per ride.
Last Thursday, Montgomery County Council passed a budget ending the two-year fare holiday for county bus riders. Starting in July, fares will be $1 per ride, half of the pre-pandemic fare of $2 per ride. This new increase puts Montgomery in line with neighboring Prince George’s, who also reduced fares to $1 per ride.
County leaders in both the Council and the Executive debated continuing free bus service versus implementing a reduced fare. The $1 option was selected as a compromise to provide relief to riders while also implementing a cost-effective strategy. According to the Washington Post:
“$1 is better than $2 and it will provide relief to those who are dependent on our buses,” said council vice president Evan Glass (D-At Large), a proponent of fare-free service. “We are making progress and we’re going down the right path towards true transit equity.”
“With this decision, Montgomery County residents will benefit from stable funding for transit and the burden of transportation costs is cut in half for all of our customers,” he (Chris Conklin, MCDOT Director) said. “The dollar fare leaves the door open for coordinating a needs-based bus fare program for the whole region.”