Montgomery opens new transit operations center, adds 40 new buses to Ride On

October 30, 2013
Rendering of the new David F. Bone Equipment Maintenance and Transit Operations Center (Courtesy of Montgomery County)
Rendering of the new David F. Bone Equipment Maintenance and Transit Operations Center (Courtesy of Montgomery County)

Montgomery County is adding 40 new buses to its Ride On transit system, officials said Wednesday at the opening of the county’s new, $79 million transit operations complex in Shady Grove.

The new David F. Bone Equipment Maintenance and Transit Operations Center houses several buildings serving the county’s divisions of transit services, highway services and fleet management.

The new complex – named after David F. Bone, a senior planner at Ride On from its launch in 1973 until 2000 – offers parking for 200 buses, areas for bus service maintenance, and compressed natural gas fast-fill, gasoline and diesel fueling stations.

Bone, who died in 2009, is known as the chief architect of Ride On’s service, route design and structure. He created the concept of Ride On as a transportation connection between neighborhoods and Metrorail and Metrobus.

“He developed a system that was quite unique for those times,” said Ride On General Manager Carolyn Biggins. “Rather than staying on main roads, he routed buses into neighborhoods to connect whole communities to soon-to-be completed Metro stations and employment centers…Thanks to Dave, most of Ride On’s routes are among the most productive suburban bus routes in the country because they have ridership that is balanced in both directions at almost all hours of operation.”

The new, clean diesel buses announced Wednesday are the largest number of buses the county has purchased at once in four years. County transportation officials say more than 75 percent of the Ride On fleet is now comprised of clean diesel, hybrid electric-diesel or compressed natural gas buses.

The new facility in Shady Grove, designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, is one of several projects that are part of a larger plan to revitalize an old industrial area near the Shady Grove Metro Station, officials said.

The relocation of these transportation agencies to the Shady Grove area will make way for a more sustainable, transit-oriented community near Metro, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said in a statement. By doing so, “we are boosting the economic health and competitiveness of Montgomery County,” he said.

Luz Lazo writes about transportation and development. She has recently written about the challenges of bus commuting, Metro’s dark stations, and the impact of sequestration on air travel.
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Robert Thomson | October 30, 2013