News & Politics

There Are a Lot of Incentives Out There for Folks Returning to Public Transportation and Green Commuting

Get 10 free Capital Bikeshare rides, win a bicycle swag bag or just ride Metro again.

Photograph by ablokhin/via iStock.

Whether working from home or wanting to avoid contact with other people, the pandemic drastically decreased ridership on public transportation. As we reported last week, Metro cited rail ridership down 83 percent over 2019 and bus ridership down 65 percent.

Here are a few incentives to get you out of a car and back into public transportation:

Get 10 free Capital Bikeshare rides

Sign up for a virtual SmarTrip card or transfer your physical card to mobile pay and get 10 free rides from Capital Bikeshare. The free rides can be up to 30 minutes long, and they are valid for 30 days. Activate your free pedal ride through your Capital Bikeshare or Lyft account, and you can upgrade to an e-bike for $1. The promotion is available through December.

Win a prize for going car-free in Montgomery County

The Rockville and Shady Grove Metro stations will be closed for three months starting in September. Instead of hopping in your car, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation is offering prizes to those who travel by bike. Now through September 26, submit a photo of your bike ride for a chance to win a “bicycle swag bag” prize.

Pay less for better access on Metro rails

Starting September 5, all weekend rides will cost $2 no matter the distance. Metro is also promising the wait time between trains will only be three to six minutes at stations where multiple lines come through. And good news for both early birds and night owls: new weekend hours mean stations will stay open until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and they’ll open back up at 7 a.m. on Sundays.

Transfer for free from bus to rail

Once the train takes you as far as it can, get closer to your destination with a free transfer to a Metro bus starting September 5. There will be more frequent service at the popular lines, and now a seven-day regional bus pass is only $12, or $6 for seniors and those with disabilities.