MTA proposes cuts to MARC, Maryland commuter bus lines

MARC commuter rail service would be reduced, dozens of Baltimore region bus lines would be cut and another 11 bus routes would be reduced under a new Maryland Transit Administration proposal.

The Maryland Department of Transportation MTA website said the proposed cuts, which it referred to as “service adjustments,” were a response to “an unprecedented decline of transportation revenues” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There will be opportunities for public comment, although the MTA statement didn’t give a specific date for public review for the MARC rail changes, saying only that those dates would be announced this fall.

Ten “virtual public hearings” for the proposed changes to bus lines in the Baltimore region would be held Oct. 15-16.

In a joint statement, local elected leaders from the Baltimore area expressed their concern, saying, “Make no mistake about it: This decision will disproportionately impact our poor, Black and brown residents, especially those living in historically disinvested neighborhoods.”

The statement was signed by Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott, Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., Howard County Executive Calvin Ball III and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman Jr.

The MTA statement announcing the plan said that of the 3.6% of riders affected by the cuts to bus lines, more than half would still have service on other routes within one-fourth mile of their current stops.

Here are the details from the MTA:

LOCAL BUS

Additional service:

  • Increased frequency on LocalLinks 56 and 78, which will expand the Frequent Transit Network to a total of 20 routes and provide a greater level of service to Grace Medical Center (formerly Bon Secours Hospital) and Johns Hopkins Hospital.
  • Improved service on LocalLink 69, which operates to MedStar Harbor Hospital and the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center.

There would be reduced service frequency on 11 LocalLink routes with lower ridership, including LocalLinks 28, 29, 31, 33, 37, 62, 67, 76, 75, 77, 83 and 87.

The discontinued 25 routes would include:

  • All nine Express Bus routes (103, 104, 105, 115, 120, 150, 154, 160 and 164), which operate limited-stop service from the suburbs to Baltimore City.
  • LocalLinks 21, 34, 38, 51, 52, 53, 57, 59, 70, 71, 73, 81, 82, 91, 92 and 95 due to lower ridership or access available on another route.

There would be modified alignments to 13 routes.

  • Of the 13 modified routes, the CityLinks Red, Silver and Lime, and the LocalLinks 26, 36, 63 and 94 will receive additional service to cover gaps in access.
  • Adjust the alignment of the LocalLink 93 to better provide access to jobs along the York Road corridor.

COMMUTER BUS

Two routes are proposed to be discontinued due to low ridership:

  • Route 210 Kent Island and Annapolis to Downtown Baltimore.
  • Route 215 downtown Baltimore to Annapolis.

There would be reduce service frequency on 20 routes where ridership is low while retaining overall span of service. The routes include 201, 203, 204, 220, 230, 240, 260, 305, 315, 320, 325, 345, 410, 411, 420, 505, 705, 715, 810 and 840.

MARC

Here are the proposed discontinued services:

  • Penn Line service between Union Station and Perryville
    • Train 520 to terminate at Baltimore Penn Station Monday through Thursday and operate to Perryville on Fridays.
    • Train 548 to terminate at Baltimore Penn Station Monday through Friday/
    • Train 537 (afternoon).
  • Penn Line northbound service from Union Station
    • Trains 410 and 418 (morning).
  • Penn Line southbound service from Penn Station
    • Train 423 (morning).
  • Camden Line service
    • Eastbound from Union Station — Trains 844 (morning) and 848 (afternoon).
    • Westbound from Dorsey Station — Train 855 (afternoon).

Riders can visit the MTA website for a complete list of service modifications and public hearing dates and locations.

The information will also be available in the lobby of MDOT MTA headquarters at 6 St. Paul St. in Baltimore. Riders needing additional information can contact the Transit Information Contact Center at (410) 539-5000.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up