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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the

Get on Board BRT Program: US 29 Edition


Q1:     What is Bus Rapid Transit?

A: Bus Rapid Transit, frequently referred to as “BRT”, is a form of public transit that has been successful all over the world. It provides a faster, more reliable ride than standard, local bus services.


Q2: Which features of BRT will the US 29 service have?

A: On US 29, BRT will include:

  • Stations: Well-lit, with covered seating areas and real-time information screens, providing a more comfortable and predictable wait. BRT systems often feature raised platforms to allow for level boarding, which allows for faster, easier boarding for riders with disabilities, bicycles, or strollers.

  • Off-Board Fare Payment: Riders validate (e.g., by tapping or swiping) their farecard at station kiosks before they board the bus. This eliminates the need to wait for other riders to pay their fare at an on-board farebox and allows for faster boarding, meaning the BRT spends less time waiting at stops.

  • All-Door Boarding: Because passengers don’t have to pay their fare on the bus, passengers can board the bus from any door, which also helps speed the boarding process.

  • Transit Signal Priority (TSP): This allows BRT buses and traffic lights to communicate with each other. As a result, in some cases, such as when a bus is running behind schedule, TSP can adjust signal timing to allow the traffic light to stay green for a few extra seconds to allow the bus to get through the intersection and regain some lost time.

  • Unique Branding: BRT systems generally look and feel different from local buses, with a different vehicle design and color scheme. This lets riders easily tell the difference between the enhanced service and the local service.

  • Frequent, reliable service: The BRT service will be more frequent than the local bus service along the corridor, and will run on a “headway schedule” (e.g., every 8 minutes) instead of a timetable schedule. This means that buses will not need to remain at stops if they are ahead of schedule, but rather will serve stations along the corridor as quickly as possible. This makes service more reliable and precludes the need for riders to check bus schedules before going to the bus station since they know they will never have to wait long for the BRT to arrive.


Q3: Where will US 29 BRT operate? What stops will it serve?

A: The US 29 BRT will operate between Burtonsville and Silver Spring. There will be two service patterns.

  • Service Pattern One travels between Briggs Chaney Park and Ride and the Silver Spring Transit Center via Castle Boulevard, US 29, and Lockwood Drive. It begins at the Briggs Chaney Park and Ride and serves stations at:

    • Castle Boulevard and Castle Ridge Circle

    • US 29 and Tech Road

    • Lockwood Drive and Stewart Lane

    • White Oak Transit Center on Lockwood Drive

    • Lockwood Boulevard and Oak Leaf Drive

    • Burnt Mills Shopping Center

    • US 29 and University Boulevard

    • US 29 and Fenton Street

    • Silver Spring Transit Center


  • Service Patter Two travels between Burtonsville Park and Ride and the Silver Spring Transit Center via US 29. It begins at the Burtonsville Park and Ride and serves stations at:

    • US 29 and Tech Road

    • The Burnt Mills Shopping Center

    • US 29 and University Boulevard

    • US 29 and Fenton Street

    • Silver Spring Transit Center


Q4: When will US 29 BRT service operate?

A: Service Pattern One (between Briggs Chaney Park and Ride to the Silver Spring Transit Center (SSTC) with service to Castle Boulevard, Stewart Lane and Lockwood Drive) will run seven days a week. Buses will operate from 5:00 AM to Midnight on weekdays and from 7:00 AM to midnight. Buses run every fifteen minutes. Service Pattern Two (between Burtonsville Park and Ride to SSTC) will operate on weekdays from 5:00 AM to 9:00 AM and 3:30 PM to 9:00 PM. Buses will run every fifteen minutes during these times. Because both service patterns operate during peak periods and will be staggered, BRT buses will in effect operate every 7.5 minutes on US 29 between Burnt Mills Shopping Center and the Silver Spring Transit Center.[1]   


Q5: When is this BRT service expected to begin?

A: The service will begin operation in early 2020.  


Q6: What are some of the benefits of BRT?

A: There are many features of BRT. The service is

  • Rapid: Features like limited stops, off-board fare collection, and level-boarding through all doors make for a faster ride.

  • Reliable: You’ll never wait long and you’ll see real-time travel information on message boards at the station so you know exactly when the next BRT arrives.

  • Relaxing: Avoid the stress associated with driving: use Wi-Fi on-board to be more productive, read a book, or simply use the time to rest.


Q7: Is this the same thing as MetroExtra or Ride On Extra?

A: No. MetroExtra and Ride On extRa, like BRT, stop less frequently than local buses, but MetroExtra and Ride On Extra lack many of the other features that set BRT apart, such as off-board fare collection and level boarding.


Q8: How much will it cost to ride the BRT?

A: Fares have not been finalized yet, but the County expects that the BRT will cost the same as the standard Ride On fare.


Q9: What construction is involved in this project?

A: The US 29 BRT project does not involve any roadway construction. Stations will be constructed adjacent to the roadway, with sidewalks being widened where necessary to accommodate raised BRT platforms. The implementation process will also include the installation of fare kiosks, Capital Bikeshare docks at selected stations, and transit signal priority hardware on traffic signals.


Q10: Will stations have available parking?

A: The Tech Road, Briggs Chaney, and Burtonsville stations will each be located at or adjacent to existing Park and Ride lots.


[1] Service patterns are not final and may be subject to change. 


Last update: January 8, 2018, 12:00 pm

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