College Park residents now have easier access to shopping and arts thanks to the Prince George's County Route 1 Ride.
A collaboration between UMd., local municipalities and the county, the Route 1 Ride is a dedicated line of TheBus with stops up and down Route One from Mt. Rainer to Ikea in College Park with a stop at the College Park Metro Station.
The intent of the new busline is to stimulate commerce along the Route 1 corridor, but lessen traffic and parking difficulties residents may face when trying to access entertainment, shopping, or food along the notoriously busy street.
A key feature of the Route 1 Ride is that it is free, not only for senior citizens, but for elementary school-aged children as well. The bus is also free from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m for middle school and high school students, to provide them with transportation to and from after school activities, said Susan Hubbard, Public Information Officer with the Prince George's County Department of Public Works and Transportation.
"The school system cut out activity buses and that prevents some kinds from participating," said Prince George's County Councilwoman Mary Lehman (Dist. 1), explaining that she and others hope the Route 1 Ride can fill this void.
The bus runs Monday through Friday, from 5:30 a.m. to 8:09 p.m., and stops at each of the 45 stops every 30 minutes. There are dozens of stops throughout College Park, including Ikea, Hollywood Road-Mazza, University Boulevard, Berwyn House Road, Paint Parkway, and Downtown College Park.
The Route 1 Ride is formerly knows as TheBus route 17. The cost of the re-purposed line is not clear, but it did come with the elimination of another route which ran through Langly Park that had duplicative ridership, said County Councilman Eric Olson (Dist. 3.)
"The idea is to get all the buses working together," said Olson.
UMd. students can also ride the new line for free with ID, and for all other riders, the cost is $1.
There are currently three buses dedicated to the Route 1 Ride line, with hopes to add more and to expand service in the future, said Olson.
The Route 1 Ride schedule, bus tracker, and a full list of stops can be found online here.