Friday, May 1, 2009

Choosing to Save Ride On Service

Yesterday the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, which I chair, voted to recommend retention of the current service for approximately 18 Ride On bus routes that were targeted for elimination or reduced service in the County Executive’s proposed FY10 operating budget. To offset the costs of retaining the bus routes, we recommended an increase in parking rates in the Bethesda/North Bethesda area.

I don’t like raising fees, certainly, but I find eliminating bus service even less palatable. Transit has a lot of benefits, including reducing congestion and mitigating climate change. But, my most important consideration right now is that that Ride On is the only transportation option for many of our residents. During difficult times, we must make sure the most vulnerable of our residents continue to have the tools they need for their health, safety and productivity.

The Ride On service cuts would have saved approximately $2 million, but would have resulted in about 323,000 fewer riders annually. The full Council will consider the recommended changes as a part of its final budget discussions later in May.

To fund the restored bus routes, we recommended an increase of 25 cents per hour in all short-term spaces for public parking in the Bethesda Parking Lot District. Also recommended are increases in the long-term hourly rate, for a monthly Parking Convenience Sticker and for other associated fees. For more details, see the press release.

1 comment:

Councilmember George Leventhal said...

Nancy, thanks for your leadership on restoring Ride-On bus service for those who need our help the most.