Bus Service

If you are looking for bus schedules, click here for Ride-On or here for Metrobus.

We Need Better Buses

Montgomery County takes pride in one of the country's finest suburban bus networks. Good bus and rail transit, coupled with planning that encourages development around Metro stations, is why our traffic problems don't match the horrific congestion of Fairfax County. And bus service boosts the local economy, alleviating the labor shortages that (during better economic times) plagued employers in the allegedly business-friendly Virginia suburbs.

But despite the heavy investments the county has made, our bus system still falls far short of meeting transportation needs. Buses move slowly, stuck in the county's gridlocked traffic. Waits between buses are too long; clear schedules and maps are rarely posted at bus stops; and riders are confused when different providers serve the same route.

Increasing the total amount of bus service is essential, but if new funding is used just to add more routes like those we already have, these weaknesses will limit growth in ridership. While buses cannot adequately substitute for rail on high-volume corridors like the future Purple Line, the concepts of “bus rapid transit” can be used to upgrade bus service on other routes. Delays due to passenger boarding and traffic jams can be eliminated by making bus stops more like rail stations and giving buses their own lanes on busy roads.

What Needs To Be Done?

Bus Rapid Transit

Studies by Montgomery County's rapid transit task force and the Planning Board staff have shown that better bus service is possible using the concepts of bus rapid transit. These documents point to three clear take-home messages:

  • The only way to create an effective, affordable rapid bus network is to use existing roadway lanes more efficiently by reserving them for bus-only traffic.
  • BRT cannot succeed without also building the light rail Purple Line as a high-capacity east-west connection inside the Beltway.
  • A BRT network must be built in phases.

But things have not gone as well as hoped. The plan sent by the Planning Board to the County Council is not acceptable in its current form because it does not offer people a good alternative to sitting in traffic and, in some important respects, will even make it harder to create bus lanes. We believe the Council should move in a more positive direction:

  1. Eliminate the concept that creation of bus lanes requires “acceptable” traffic conditions. The idea behind BRT is exactly the opposite — it's when roads are congested that dedicated bus lanes ensure that people will have an alternative to sitting in traffic.
  2. Repurpose more lanes as bus lanes and eliminate reversible median lanes.
  3. Develop a functional master plan amendment for a third MARC track.

More Information at Bus Stops

Clear, accurate information about schedules and routes is needed by current bus riders - and it is essential if we are to attract more riders. Large investments are being made in electronic displays at a few stops, but meanwhile most bus stops in Montgomery County now have no timetable at all, and where information is posted, it is often inadequate. Metro and Ride-On need to make a substantial investment of funds and management attention in the unglamorous but very important area of posting timetables at stops.

Information on Existing Bus Service

Ride-On Bus

The Ride-On Bus system is administered by the Montgomery County Department of Public Works & Transportation's Transit Services Division.

General information about Ride On

Ride On timetables



The MetroBus system is an area-wide system managed by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

General information about Metrobus and WMATA

Metrobus timetables