The Recent Changes To The State Bus System Causing Lots Of Confusion

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) recently made changes to its bus schedule and many commuters were unaware of the changes until the expected bus never arrived. The state bus system reached a deal with the Baltimore school system, limiting the nighttime hours and leaving students without transportation after after-school activities. Chairman of the council’s Education and Youth Committee, Zeke Cohen held a news conference Monday to voice his concerns.

 

Maryland Transit Administration


Cohen told reporters that the changes cause significant hardship to families and children, coming less than two years after the Freddie Gray unrest. He went on to say that the policy sends a message to the youth that they don’t matter.

Students, with the S-Pass, could use the transportation system at no charge between the hours of 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. under the previous policy. The new policy, which was agreed on by the Baltimore school system and MTA, the hours were reduced to 6 p.m. The MTA deputy chief operating officer, Sean Adgerson, denied the change were linked to cost cutting.

This will leave the financial burden on the school system, but it will be the responsibility of the BCPS to determine which students get the upgraded pass. According to the schools’ spokeswoman Edie House Foster, the S-Pass is being phased out and will be replaced with the One Card, a version of MTA’s Charm Card. The One Card would provide students with access to a variety of services, which would be better than having to keep up with multiple cards.

House Foster said, “Students who participate in school-based after-school programs that end after 7:00 p.m. receive MTA tickets for evening travel, provided at the City School’s expense.” She also said the district was exploring other options, but a funding source has not been identified.

When the MTA cut the frequency of bus service on 22 of the city’s 51 routes on August 28, little warning was given. According to the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance the changes affected services on the affected routes by an average of 11 percent, resulting in extended wait times on morning and evening commutes to 14 of the 22 affected routes.

The cutbacks were not linked to Governor Larry Hogan’s impending $135 million BaltimoreLink bus system overhaul. The MTA implements scheduling alterations and adjustments at least three times a year. On Wednesday, the MTA announced plans to make another round of seasonal service changes that will take place in February 2017. Those changes should restore service to various routes that were affected in August.

 

BaltimoreLink Public Hearings Schedule:

Wednesday, January 4 – 5pm-8pm
Baltimore County Public Library
North Point Branch
1716 Merritt Boulevard
Dundalk, Maryland 21222

Thursday, January 5 – 5pm-7pm
Enoch Pratt Free Library (Southeast Anchor Branch)
3601 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21224

Thursday, January – 5pm-8pm
Baltimore County Public Library (Towson Branch)
320 York Road
Towson, Maryland 21204

Monday, January 9 – 5pm-8pm
Baltimore County Public Library (White Marsh Branch)
8133 Sandpiper Circle
Baltimore, Maryland 21236

Monday, January 9 – 11am-3:30pm
State Center Complex
201 West Preston Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Tuesday, January 10 – 6pm-8pm
MedStar Harbor Hospital (Baum Auditorium)
3001 South Hanover Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21225

Tuesday, January 10 – 6pm-8pm
Humanim-American Brewery
1701 North Gay Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21213

Wednesday, January 11 – 6:30pm-8pm
Baltimore County Public Library (Randallstown Branch)
8604 Liberty Road
Randallstown, Maryland 21133

Thursday, January 12 – 6pm-8pm
Brooklyn Park Community Library
1 East 11th Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21225

Thursday, January 12 – 6pm-8pm
Central Church of Christ
4301 Woodridge Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21229

Tuesday, January 17 – 6pm-8pm
Baltimore County Public Library (Cantonsville Branch)
1100 Frederick Road
Cantonsville, Maryland 21228

Wednesday, January 18 – 5pm-7pm
Enoch Pratt Free Library (Waverly Branch)
400 East 33rd Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218

Thursday, January 19 – 6pm-8pm
Pimlico Race Course (Sports Palace)
5201 Park Heights Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21215

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