Bal­ti­more bus ser­vice starts March 1

Record Observer - - News - By CHRISTO­PHER KERSEY

BAL­TI­MORE — A state-run bus ser­vice will start March 1, link­ing Kent Is­land to Annapolis to Bal­ti­more, the Mary­land Tran­sit Ad­min­is­tra­tion [MTA] has an­nounced.

And the ser­vice will run for free for two weeks, March 1 to 14, to en­cour­age fu­ture riders.

As part of Gov­er­nor Larry Ho­gan’s Bal­ti­moreLink trans­for­ma­tive tran­sit plan, the MTA will roll out the two new ex­press com­muter bus routes – num­bers 210 and 215 – to con­nect the three lo­ca­tions Mon­day through Fri­day. There are no week­end buses for this ser­vice.

Af­ter the free ser­vice pe­riod, the fares will ap­ply. The fare de­pends on where the rider goes, but the max­i­mum fair would $6 one-way, said Paul Com­fort, MTA ad­min­is­tra­tor and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

For those in­ter­ested in tak­ing the bus from Kent Is­land to Annapolis or all the way to Bal­ti­more, the new Route 210 would ap­ply the most.

The bus spots on Kent Is­land will run in the morn­ing and re­turn in the af­ter­noon at two park and ride lo­ca­tions — one on Cas­tle Ma­rina Road by Western Auto and the other in Stevensville by Kmart, the MTA said.

Route 210 will con­sist of five round trips from Kent Is­land and Annapolis to down­town Bal­ti­more. Ser­vices will depart from the two park and ride lo­ca­tions to down­town Bal­ti­more be­tween 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.

Re­turn­ing trips to Kent Is­land and Annapolis will depart down­town Bal­ti­more be­tween 3:10 p.m. and 5:10 p.m.

For those head­ing to Annapolis, riders can get off at West­field Mall and trans­fer to other bus routes, Com­fort said. Drop-off lo­ca­tions in Bal­ti­more in­clude the Univer­sity of Mary­land at Bal­ti­more cam­pus, Charles Street metro sta­tion, city hall and the Johns Hop­kins Hospi­tal.

To see a com­plete list of bus stops, times, and ex­act fares, see the link mta.mary­land.gov/sites/de­fault/files/ Route210Ef­fMar1-2017.pdf. Or call 1-866-RIDE-MTA. The other new bus route is num­ber 215 and will con­sist of three round trips from down­town Bal­ti­more to Anne Arun­del County. Ser­vices will depart from down­town Bal­ti­more to Anne Arun­del County be­tween 5:45 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. Re­turn­ing trips to down­town Bal­ti­more will depart Anne Arun­del County be­tween 3:17 p.m. to 5:17 a.m.

The buses aren’t the typ­i­cal city bus, but rather “plush mo­tor coaches” with bath­rooms and some have WIFI, Com­fort said.

“This is a new com­muter ser­vice de­signed to link peo­ple to op­por­tu­ni­ties in down­town Bal­ti­more and Annapolis,” Com­fort said. “These new Bal­ti­moreLink en­hance­ments will con­nect Annapolis, Bal­ti­more City and the Eastern Shore. It’s yet an­other way we’re keep­ing our prom­ise to bet­ter con­nect peo­ple to jobs, re­tail, health­care and en­ter­tain­ment.”

“Once peo­ple, who drive be­tween Kent Is­land, Annapolis and Bal­ti­more, see the ease, con­ve­nience and low cost of rid­ing com­muter bus 210 and 215, we are con­fi­dent many will choose to ride tran­sit in­stead,” Com­fort said.

The new bus lines don’t run on the week­ends, Com­fort said, be­cause the pro­gram tar­gets com­muters who work dur­ing the week. “We play to the masses,” Com­fort said.

Bal­ti­moreLink is the mul­ti­phase plan to cre­ate an in­ter­con­nected tran­sit sys­tem by re­design­ing the en­tire lo­cal and ex­press bus sys­tems through­out Bal­ti­more and adds 12 new high-fre­quency, color-coded bus routes that im­prove con­nec­tions to jobs and to MARC Train, Metro Sub­way and Light Rail.

Bal­ti­moreLink trans­forms Bal­ti­more’s half-a-cen­tur yold and out­dated tran­sit net­work with im­ple­men­ta­tion of bus-only ded­i­cated lanes, in­stal­la­tion of tran­sit sig­nal pri­or­ity, con­struc­tion of a trans­fer hub net­work, re­brand­ing and re­place­ment of more than 6,000 tran­sit signs, ex­panded com­muter bus ser­vice, new shared bi­cy­cle avail­abil­ity, ac­cess to car­shar­ing op­tions and more, said MTA news re­lease.

New Ex­press BusLink launched its sub­urb-to-sub­urb ser­vice in June 2016. As promised, ex­panded and new com­muter bus ser­vice has seen launches in the sum­mer and fall of 2016 with more com­ing this spring. High­fre­quency Ci­tyLink routes launch in the sum­mer of 2017 the MTA said.

The state op­er­ates lo­cal and com­muter buses, Light Rail, Metro Sub­way, Mary­land Area Re­gional Com­muter (MARC) Train ser­vice, and a com­pre­hen­sive Para­tran­sit (Mo­bil­ity) sys­tem.

MTA also man­ages the taxi ac­cess sys­tem, and di­rects fund­ing and statewide as­sis­tance to Lo­cally Op­er­ated Tran­sit Sys­tems (LOTS) in each of Mary­land’s 23 coun­ties, Annapolis, Bal­ti­more City and Ocean City.

This map of the new bus Route 210 shows the path of the new com­muter bus ser­vice from Kent Is­land to Annapolis to Bal­ti­more.

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