Montgomery County plans to offer its normal RideOn bus schedules Wednesday but warns that riders still may face unexpected delays as the county still deals with a shortage of buses following the parking of part of its fleet.
Since Wednesday when the county pulled all of its Champion/International model buses after at least a sixth vehicle caught fire, the service has been running shy of enough buses to run all its routes. RideOn has had a modified holiday schedule on both Monday and Tuesday. That also meant that MARC riders were affected as shuttle bus service between at least one park-and-ride lot at Kingsview Park and the Germantown MARC station was suspended.
County Executive Ike Leggett had cautioned Monday that continuing shortages could be felt for the remainder of the week.
But Tuesday afternoon, the forecast was rosier.
"We're going to run a regular weekday schedule as closely as possible and if there are slight adjustments or delays, they're just going to make them as they go," said county spokeswoman Esther Bowring.
The bus service typically needs 278 buses to run its routes, said David Dise, who manages the county's fleet of vehicles. As of Tuesday morning, it had 265 running, he said, but had added three more by afternoon.
The county has been supplementing its fleet with refurbished Metro buses - repainted to match RideOn's fleet -- and by increasing maintenance shop staffing to fix buses faster.
However, Bowring said the system will be running without much margin this week, so if a bus breaks down there might not be ones to replace it quickly.
She urged riders to use the system's website to look for delays, which are posted hourly, or use the county's RideOn Real Time tracking system to track a specific bus or route by smartphone or computer.