MARYLAND — After receiving feedback from local government entities and public comment, the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration on Wednesday declared that Core Bus service adjustments proposed Sept. 1 will not be implemented and all public hearings on that plan will be canceled. Core Local Bus and MobilityLink service will continue to operate on current schedules, while Commuter Bus and MARC service will begin operating at reduced levels on Nov. 2.
As MDOT MTA works to meet budgetary constraints amid the fiscal impact of coronavirus, the agency will continue to prioritize transit service for core riders, especially transit dependent households.
“With the ongoing review of all transit ridership and public feedback, it became clear that preserving core bus service is essential,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Gregory Slater in a statement. “The data shows more choice riders use MARC and Commuter Bus. These temporary reductions allow us to preserve our MARC train slots with CSX and Amtrak and our contracts with Commuter Bus providers. This plan allows us to respond nimbly as Maryland’s economy recovers and more choice riders cease teleworking or return to transit. It is very important to me that we work collaboratively and listen openly to all perspectives. This reflects that approach.”
Employers continue to support telework options and customers limit their use of transit to essential travel, the data outlines how ridership on commuter services continues to rebound slower than expected. In the fourth week of September, ridership across all MDOT MTA transit modes was down 60 percent overall, MARC down 89 percent, Commuter Bus down 87 percent and Core Local Bus down 51 percent.
Based on these trends and to adjust service to meet demand, MDOT MTA will implement temporary, strategic service reductions to MARC and Commuter Bus while continuing to operate core Local Bus on current schedules. The MARC and Commuter Bus temporary changes include reducing service frequency while retaining the overall span of service on each route, as is implemented on holiday and snow schedules. Starting Nov. 2, MDOT MTA will resume the following service levels, which were in place at the height of the coronavirus health emergency:
MARC: will operate on an enhanced “R” service schedule service.
Commuter Bus: all routes will operate on a “S” schedule service with the following two exceptions:
Route 201 – service from Gaithersburg to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport will operate only the odd numbered trips on both the Weekday and Weekend/Holiday schedules; and
Route 320 – service from Columbia to Baltimore will operate regular service.
Local Bus: No changes – all Express Bus routes and LocalLinks 38 and 92 remain suspended.
This article originally appeared on the Columbia Patch