Gaithersburg is interested in starting its own local bus network, and will soon begin a feasibility study to consider whether that makes sense.

Gaithersburg has a number of walkable areas, but they’re poorly connected by transit. Most of the bus lines are designed to get riders to Shady Grove Metro station, and they don’t come very often. A new system would be more oriented towards circulation between Gaithersburg’s own nodes.

Unofficial concept of what a Gaithersburg bus might look like. Image and cheesy name by the author.

The State of Maryland is already planning to build the Corridor Cities Transitway BRT line through Gaithersburg, and Montgomery County is considering a line on Frederick Avenue as part of its BRT network planning, but those projects are still years away from completion. Even when they’re done, Gaithersburg will still need better bus service on other corridors.

One particularly important destination might be Gaithersburg’s historic downtown, which has a MARC station but won’t have stations on either BRT line.

Gaithersburg’s local system could be operated by WMATA as part of Metrobus, or by Montgomery County as part of Ride-On, or it could be something else, like the Bethesda Circulator. The study will presumably look into what would work best.

With its own system, Gaithersburg would have more control over routes and schedules as compared to WMATA or Ride-On. Its own system would also be more recognizable, and could potentially be cheaper to operate. On the other hand, it would be more difficult to set up.

The Metropolitan Washington Transportation Planning Board approved the study at its meeting yesterday, as part of its Transportation / Land Use Connections planning assistance program.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.