Bethesda Circulator Route to Expand Starting Jan. 4

Popular free downtown Bethesda bus route will expand to Bradley Boulevard, Battery Lane


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A Bethesda Circulator bus

Aaron Kraut

The free bus that runs on a loop through much of downtown Bethesda is set to expand its route to two areas known for having plenty of apartment dwellers.

The Bethesda Circulator, which is operated by the Bethesda Urban Partnership, announced Monday that its route will expand south to Bradley Boulevard and north to Battery Lane starting Jan. 4.

The expansion, which will cost Montgomery County $160,000 through the end of June, has long been planned as a way to provide access to Bethesda’s Metro station, Bethesda Row and Woodmont Triangle for those who live on the southern and northern ends of the central business district.

“The new route is a reflection of Bethesda’s growing community,” Bethesda Urban Partnership Executive Director Dave Dabney said.

In July, County Executive Ike Leggett proposed delaying the expansion until a later date as part of $51 million in budget cuts. County Council members decided against the Bethesda Circulator cut and many others, instead opting to reschedule county construction projects to make up a budget shortfall.

The free shuttle averages more than 1,200 riders per day, according to the Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP), which took over operation of what was then the county-operated Bethesda Trolley in 2006.

In 2011, BUP switched out the old-school trolleys for sleek, modern buses and rebranded the operation as the Circulator. Monthly ridership on the route surpassed 30,000 trips for the first time in the history of the service in April 2014.

In October 2014, BUP launched a phone app that provides the exact locations of all buses on the route.

The 2.1-mile, 20-stop route will expand to 3.3 miles and 20 stops. There will be three buses on the route instead of two starting Jan. 4 and BUP said a bus should still arrive at each of the stops every 10 to 15 minutes.

New Battery Lane stops include near the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad and next to Battery Lane Park. New Bradley Boulevard stops include Strathmore Street and between Strathmore Street and Wellington Drive.

A new stop will also be set up on Wisconsin Avenue near the Bethesda post office.

A full list of the 20 stops on the new route is below:

· Bethesda Metro Station

· Old Georgetown Road near Commerce Lane (Safeway)

 · Old Georgetown Road between Fairmont and St. Elmo avenues

· Old Georgetown Road between Cordell and Del Ray avenues

· Old Georgetown Road near Glenbrook Road

· Battery Lane, near Bethesda Chevy Chase Rescue Squad

· Battery Lane, adjacent to Battery Lane Park

· Rugby Avenue at Rugby Garage

· Woodmont Avenue between Cordell and St. Elmo avenues

· Woodmont and Norfolk avenues (Veterans Park)

· Woodmont Avenue across from Metropolitan Garage

 · Woodmont Avenue between Edgemoor and Montgomery lanes

· Woodmont and Bethesda avenues

· Woodmont Avenue at Leland Street

· Wisconsin Avenue across from Stanford Street

· Bradley Boulevard near Strathmore Street

· Bradley Boulevard between Strathmore Street and Wellington Drive

 · Arlington Road between Bradley Boulevard and Bethesda Avenue

 · Arlington Road between Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street (Giant)

· Arlington Road and Montgomery Lane

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