Montgomery Co. to cut bus ride due to driver shortage – NBC4 Washington

Ride On will reduce bus service on half of its routes starting Sunday due to driver shortages caused by COVID-19, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) announced Thursday.

The agency said an increasing number of employees have fallen ill or been exposed to the virus. The reduction will allow them to maintain reliable service, they said.

About half of Ride On’s routes will have fewer rides than usual, but the system will maintain the same range of service. The Ride On Flex and extRa services will also be suspended from Monday, and the weekday Flash service will operate on a weekend schedule.

The ministry estimates that overall service will be reduced by approximately 9% from the current schedule.

You can find a list of affected routes here.

“We haven’t fully returned to pre-pandemic bus service levels yet and we hate to step back,” said Dan Hibbert, MCDOT’s transit chief. “These temporary changes will be quite minimal compared to where we are now, but riders need to be able to plan ahead.”

“We just don’t have the drivers available to maintain our current schedule and be reliable,” he said.

The ministry said the service changes will be reviewed in about six to eight weeks, or once new bus drivers become available.

The MCDOT said it was actively recruiting bus drivers. Those interested can find more information here.

The surge in COVID-19 infections in the county is also causing a shortage of school bus drivers, leading Montgomery County leaders to seek help from the National Guard.

Melvin Z. Madore