www.charlescountymd.gov

Charles County, Maryland

VanGO FAQ

VanGO FAQ

  1. What is VanGO?
  2. What are your hours?
  3. Who can use VanGO?
  4. How much does it cost to ride VanGO?
  5. Where does VanGO go?
  6. How do I connect to TheBus from Charles County?
  7. How do I connect to VanGO from Prince George’s County?
  8. How do I get to the Greater Baden Medical Center and/or stores on the west side of Route 301 near the Brandywine Crossing Shopping Center?
  9. Can drivers make change or do I need exact change?
  10. Can I give the driver a check?
  11. Can VanGO coupons be used to purchase an All Day Pass?
  12. Does VanGO go out of the county?
  13. Do you keep a list of what drivers are assigned to which bus?
  14. I live very close to a VanGO bus route but would rather not walk to the bus stop. Can the bus come down my street and pick me up?
  15. Are pets allowed?
  16. Are strollers allowed?
  17. Can VanGO get me to the Metro?
  18. Can I ride all day if I purchase an All Day Pass or do I have to be going somewhere?
  19. Can the driver wait for me while I run in the store real quick? It will only take a minute.
  20. What are Specialized Services and how do I get them?
  21. What are subscription routes?
  22. I know about the VanGO public transportation routes because I see the bus go by my house but I want the medical bus. How do I get that?
  23. If I need assistance, who will go with me on the bus?
  24. Can my personal care assistant travel with me?
  25. How can I get VanGO bus schedules?
  26. What is a personalized schedule?
  27. Does VanGO have wheelchair accessible vehicles?
  28. What is a Shared Ride Program?
  29. How do I get VanGO to come to my neighborhood?
  30. Any other questions?

What is VanGO?
VanGO is Charles County's public transportation service with public bus routes and Specialized Services operating throughout Charles County. MV Transportation, a professional transportation provider, provides VanGO services under a contract with the Charles County Government.

What are your hours?
VanGO operates Monday-Saturday, 7:00am-10:00pm on many of its public transportation routes. VanGO's ADA service has the same operating hours. However, other VanGO Specialized Services (Demand Response and Medical Assistance Transportation) operate Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm.

Who can use VanGO?
VanGO is for everybody. Vehicles are wheelchair accessible so persons with disabilities can take advantage of the service as well as anyone else needing transportation within Charles County or to St. Mary's County. VanGO has a public transportation route which meets the St. Mary's Transit System in Charlotte Hall.

How much does it cost to ride VanGO?
On the public routes, the cost is $1 each way (each time you board a bus) for the general public or .50 cents each way for senior citizens (60 and older) and persons with disabilities. Or, an All Day Pass can be purchased for only $2 ($1 for seniors and persons with disabilities) and allows the passenger to ride all day for one low price. Show the All Day Pass to the driver each time you board. Click for more information on fares.

For persons wishing to pay the reduced fare, they may apply for a reduced fare card by completing a VanGO Specialized Services Application. If eligible for a reduced fare, a VanGO Reduced Fare Card will be mailed to the customer and this card can be shown each time they board a VanGO bus. The card will entitle the bearer to the reduced fare price.

A VanGO Specialized Services application can be downloaded or obtained by calling the Charles County Department of Community Services, Transportation Division, at 301-934-9305.

Where does VanGO go?
VanGO public bus routes operate in Waldorf, La Plata, Indian Head, Nanjemoy, and Newburg. Also, the Waldorf to Charlotte Hall Route provides service in the Hughesville/Charlotte Hall area along Route 5. VanGO Specialized Services provide transportation anywhere in Charles County but the service is limited and available only to senior citizens or persons with disabilities (except for Medical Assistance transportation). Click for schedules.

How do I get to the Greater Baden Medical Center and/or stores on the west side of Route 301 near the Brandywine Crossing Shopping Center?
TheBus Route 36 can only drop off or pick up passengers on the west side of Route 301 when it is in the southbound lanes headed to Pinefield.  Passengers wishing to be dropped off on the west side of Route 301 can do one of the following:
    1.  Ride TheBus Route 36 to it north most stop in Clinton, remain on TheBus, and ride it South again as it returns towards the Brandywine Shopping Center.  Upon departing from the Brandywine Crossing stop TheBus will continue south on Route 301.  As TheBus turns onto southbound Route 301 request to the get off the bus.  This option will add about one hour to the total trip time.
     2.  Ride TheBus Route 36 to the Brandywine Crossing Shopping Center. Depart the bus and wait for the next southbound TheBus Route 36 bus.  The average wait time will be 20 minutes.  Get on the southbound bus and as the bus turns on to southbound Route 301 request to get off the bus.

Can drivers make change or do I need exact change?
Exact change is required. Drivers cannot make change.

Can I give the driver a check?
No, only cash or VanGO coupons are accepted.

Can VanGO coupons be used to purchase an All Day Pass?
No. All Day Passes must be purchased with exact change and cannot be purchased using a VanGO coupon.

Does VanGO go out of the county?
Although most service is concentrated in Charles County, the VanGO Charlotte Hall route operates into St. Mary’s County and connects in Charlotte Hall with St. Mary’s Transit.  Additionally, the VanGO Brandywine Connector route operates evenings and Saturdays to the Brandywine Crossing shopping center in Prince George’s County.  From early morning to early evening, Prince George’s County TheBus Route 36 connects with VanGO Pinefield and Business A routes at the Pinefield South shopping center, providing connections to points throughout Prince George’s County and Metrorail.

VanGO Medical Assistance Transportation travels out of the county but this service is only for qualified Medical Assistance recipients. Other VanGO Specialized Services, such as Demand Response, provide travel in Charles County only.

Do you keep a list of what drivers are assigned to which bus?
No. Driver assignments change regularly and drivers are normally assigned to more than one route. Therefore, bus assignments are not maintained.

I live very close to a VanGO bus route but would rather not walk to the bus stop. Can the bus come down my street and pick me up?
No. VanGO bus routes are fixed routes operating on timed schedules and do not deviate. Customers must reach the bus stop by their own means. If a person is unable to reach the nearest bus stop due to a medical condition, they may apply for VanGO Specialized Services by completing a VanGO  Specialized Services  Application . VanGO Specialized Services do provide door-to-door service for qualified  applicants.

Are pets allowed?
No. But service animals are allowed on VanGO vehicles. The customer must advise VanGO what service the animal is trained to provide them.

Are strollers allowed?
Yes, but any baggage, including packages or strollers, may not take up an otherwise available seat. Customers are required to hold all items on their lap or place them under the seat.

Can VanGO get me to the Metro?
Yes, with the connections to Prince George’s County TheBus via the VanGO Pinefield and Business A routes you can connect to the Branch Avenue Metrorail station.  Some examples are below:

1.    From the Waldorf Transfer Point take the VanGO Business A or Pinefield route to the Pinefield South Shopping Center.  Transfer to TheBus route #36.
2.    Take TheBus route #36 to the Clinton Fringe Parking Lot.  Transfer to TheBus route #30.
3.    Take TheBus route #30 and arrive at the Branch Avenue Metrorail station.
 
Here is an example of a morning commute from the Waldorf Transfer Point to the Branch Avenue Metrorail Station using current VanGO and TheBus schedules:
1.    Board the VanGO Pinefield route at 7:00am and deboard at the Pinefield South Shopping Center at 7:12am.
2.    Board TheBus route #36 at Pinefield South Shopping Center at 7:20am and deboard at the Clinton fringe parking lot at 7:50am.
3.    Board TheBus route #30 at the Clinton Fringe Parking Lot at 8:05am and arrive at the Branch Avenue Metrorail Station at 8:35am.

Can I ride all day if I purchase an All Day Pass or do I have to be going somewhere?
As long as a fare is paid at each boarding, or a valid All Day Pass is shown, passengers can ride all day. They do not have to disembark the bus except for when arriving at the transfer point. At the main transfer points, such as the Route 301 Park and Ride and the La Plata WalMart outer parking lot, passengers may be required to disembark but may then board the bus again when it is time to leave the transfer point to start the next loop.

Can the driver wait for me while I run in the store real quick? It will only take a minute.
No. On both the public transportation routes and the Specialized Services routes drivers are not able to wait for customers. Passengers will have to catch the bus on the next loop, or, in the case of specialized services customers, passengers will have to wait for their return ride home, the timing of which was arranged at the time the original appointment was scheduled.

What are Specialized Services and how do I get them?
VanGO Specialized Services are generally for elderly or disabled persons who do not live on public transportation routes or who do live on the routes but are unable to use the public bus system due to some physical or mental impairment. Applications are required and can be downloaded from this website or received by calling the Charles County Department of Community Services, Transportation Division, at 301-934-9305. Another Specialized Service, Medical Assistance transportation, is for any person with Medical Assistance who has transportation benefits with their MA and has no other way of reaching their medical appointments. After a customer has been approved for service, all appointments are scheduled by contacting VanGO at 301-609-7917.

What are subscription routes?
VanGO has routes specifically for dialysis patients and Senior Center Plus participants. Routes are subject to service areas and vehicle capacity. Applications must be completed.

I know about the VanGO public transportation routes because I see the bus go by my house but I want the medical bus. How do I get that?
There is no "medical" bus; but VanGO does have Specialized Services, which can be done with buses but are usually done with vans, that can take eligible customers to various appointments, including medical appointments, or even just to visit a friend. If a customer lives on or near a VanGO public transportation route, however, they are required to take the bus (provided it travels to their destination) unless they can demonstrate through a VanGO Specialized Services Application why they are physically or mentally unable to do so. A professional, usually a doctor, must complete a section of the application before it can be submitted. If it is determined that a customer is not capable of using the public transportation routes, they may be approved for specialized Services.

If I need assistance, who will go with me on the bus?
A personal care attendant must be provided by the customer. Drivers are able to provide assistance door-to-door only if a customer needs assistance once arriving at their destination. The customer needs to make plans to have a personal care attendant accompany them. A VanGO staff member can ride along on the first few trips to help a customer learn how to use the system.

Can my personal care assistant travel with me?
Yes, your personal care assistant may travel with you free of charge.

How can I get VanGO bus schedules?
Schedules can be downloaded from this website or by calling the Charles County Department of Community Services, Transportation Division, at 301-934-9305. Schedules are also available at local libraries, Senior Centers, and Community Centers.

What is a personalized schedule?
This is a schedule that has been personalized for your needs, showing how to get from specific points that you have designated in your request. To get a personalized schedule, contact the Department of Community Services, Transportation Division at 301-934-0110.

Does VanGO have wheelchair accessible vehicles?
Yes, all VanGO vehicles are wheelchair accessible.

What is a Shared Ride Program?
VanGO Specialized Services is a limited resource and customers going in the same general areas are required to share vehicle. The Share-Ride-Program may extend ride times or wait times but also allows VanGO to serve the most customers possible.

How do I get VanGO to come to my neighborhood?
VanGO public routes are established to serve as many populated areas as possible but does not cover all areas of Charles County. Citizens requesting VanGO service to new areas may do so by writing a letter or e-mail to the Charles County Department of Community Services Transportation Division letting us know where you feel service is needed. Customers may also call us direct to request a new service area. Requests received will be evaluated and maintained for consideration, but expansion will only occur in accordance with the five year Transportation Development Plan and as additional funding becomes available.

Any other questions?
Call the Charles County Department of Community Services, Transportation Division, at 301-934-9305.