Ride-On, Ride Off

Part+of+tuition+pays+for+unlimited+access+to+Ride-On+routes.+The+%2346+%26amp%3B+55+busses+service+Montgomery+College+Rockville+Campus.+--+Photo+by%3A+Victoria+Colbert

Part of tuition pays for unlimited access to Ride-On routes. The #46 & 55 busses service Montgomery College Rockville Campus. -- Photo by: Victoria Colbert

Original: March 8, 2011 Issue 12

By: Mike Hayes

Staff Writer

Part of tuition pays for unlimited access to Ride-On routes. The #46 & 55 busses service Montgomery College Rockville Campus. -- Photo by: Victoria Colbert


Among current economic woes, students worry about public transportation

Many students share concern for the possible end of free transportation, as budget cuts for the Ride-On bus system swiftly approach. Currently MC students may access Ride-On free of charge, if they present their student ID to the bus operator.

This convenient arrangement is possible by a fee added to student tuition which covers transportation costs, $4 per credit hour. Montgomery College is a commuter school with a large portion of its students relying on Ride-On’s services for transportation.

“All of my friends use the bus to get to school,” said sophomore Destinee Mitchell. “If I have to pay everyday to ride the bus, I won’t be able to afford to go to school full time.”

Standard bus fare on Ride-On is $1.70 for a one-way trip. Depending on how many days a student uses the bus, he or she could spend upwards of $23 per week on bus fare alone.

“I ride the bus at least five days a week, usually more,” says Mitchell. Mitchell also uses her student ID to get to work in downtown Rockville, either from home or from campus. Mitchell is one of many students who depend on student benefits to commute to and from school and work.

When contacted about the possibility of students losing the privilege of free transportation, Montgomery County Transit workers could neither confirm nor deny these rumors. A Ride-On representative who wished to remain anonymous said that it is unlikely to take place, but there are no guarantees or certainties.

According to the Department of Finance’s FY12 Operating Budget, one percent of tax dollars, $35,464,960 to be exact, went to support Maryland public transportation and almost three percent, $104,309,460, went to public transit during the last fiscal year. The current economic situation may cause more commuter reliance on public transportation over the next few years.

On March 15, 2011, County Executive Ike Leggett will announce the official terms of the budget cuts which will monumentally affect all commuters.