MTA to cut commuter bus routes

Full story: Baltimore Sun 34
The Maryland Transit Administration is proposing to eliminate six commuter bus routes, reduce the number of rides on others and cut back on its increasingly popular MARC train service as a result of severe ... Full Story
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Jimbo

Baltimore, MD

#1 Oct 17, 2008
Classic O'Malley...

We FINALLY get people to use mass transit, and this administration goes and cuts the very trains that need MORE funding.

Cut the school budgets! Many teachers are overpaid for what they do. Not all teachers, but many. And yes, I know that they provide a valuable service to our state, but that service is not to be had at any price. There has to be a limit.

Bring Bob Ehrlich back!
Fred78

Woodstock, MD

#2 Oct 17, 2008
Private bus companies will be glad to pick up those routes at a higher fare of course. Smells fishy to me.
bryanintimonium

Sanford, NC

#3 Oct 17, 2008
When Ehrlich tried to trim the MTA routes - all hell broke loose. I don't hear the same kind of "outrage". I wonder why? Oh that's right - this is the Baltimore Wing of the Democratic - I mean Sunpaper.
Change

Towson, MD

#4 Oct 17, 2008
To all the idiots who voted for MOM because they though "change" would be good: Pfffffffft!

“panem et circenses”

Since: Jun 08

East Coast USA

#5 Oct 17, 2008
If these bus routes are being eliminated because they are not economically viable, why all the protest? Why should all taxpayers subsidize the transportation needs of others because they choose to live far from their place of work? Like Fred said, private companies may fill the void, but at higher fares.

Before anyone decides to jump down my throat, I think that public transportation should be expanded. This isn't a Dem vs. GOP issue, it appears to be whose ox is being gored. Can't have it both ways.
Surf52

Baltimore, MD

#6 Oct 17, 2008
The 412 is actually well used now. What idiot thought this one up?

“Trust, but Verify”

Since: Oct 08

Baltimore, MD

#7 Oct 17, 2008
My ox is being gored. To a degree.

These commuter routes ARE served by private bus companies under contract to the MTA. In the case of Harford County, it is Dillon. I believe Howard county is served by Veolia. I guess the MTA figures it's easier for the private bus companies to fight with their union than for them to. Because this will mean less drivers and less mechanics for Dillon & Veolia.

I don't so much mind some cut backs in service, but to paraphrase our presidential candidates...they've taken a hatchet when they should have used a scalpel. For instance, there are currently 3 bus routes to/from Bel Air. Each runs 5 round trips a day. That's 15 runs a day (each way). I know, I only take two of them, but they are usually pretty darn full. Usually more than half full. So, they eliminate one entire route and one round trip each from the other two. Now, Bel Air will have 8 buses instead of 15. It might get tough to get a seat.

They should do the cuts in two phases. Eliminate the one route and leave all runs on the other two. Then evaluate the ridership on the remaining trips.

I don't see any regular MTA routes being reduced. I sure see a lot of more than half empty buses riding around town.
Balt-O-Matt

Ocean City, MD

#8 Oct 17, 2008
Welcome to Bush's America, folks. Don't blame O'Malley for ALL of this. Come on. Maryland, and other states across the country, are trying to figure out how best to deal with the sh*t sandwich that's just landed on their plate. Is this ideal? Nope. But we've all got to get used to it. It's going to be like this for a long time thanks to dangerous economic policies, two expensive wars, a grand expansion of government entitlement programs under Bush and the Republicans, and the slashing of taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
MTD

Baltimore, MD

#9 Oct 17, 2008
The reason O'Malley administration is making across the board cuts is to try to address the mess Ehrlich left.
Jimbo wrote:
Classic O'Malley...
We FINALLY get people to use mass transit, and this administration goes and cuts the very trains that need MORE funding.
Cut the school budgets! Many teachers are overpaid for what they do. Not all teachers, but many. And yes, I know that they provide a valuable service to our state, but that service is not to be had at any price. There has to be a limit.
Bring Bob Ehrlich back!

“panem et circenses”

Since: Jun 08

East Coast USA

#10 Oct 17, 2008
Rico13 wrote:
My ox is being gored. To a degree.
These commuter routes ARE served by private bus companies under contract to the MTA. In the case of Harford County, it is Dillon. I believe Howard county is served by Veolia. I guess the MTA figures it's easier for the private bus companies to fight with their union than for them to. Because this will mean less drivers and less mechanics for Dillon & Veolia.
I don't so much mind some cut backs in service, but to paraphrase our presidential candidates...they've taken a hatchet when they should have used a scalpel. For instance, there are currently 3 bus routes to/from Bel Air. Each runs 5 round trips a day. That's 15 runs a day (each way). I know, I only take two of them, but they are usually pretty darn full. Usually more than half full. So, they eliminate one entire route and one round trip each from the other two. Now, Bel Air will have 8 buses instead of 15. It might get tough to get a seat.
They should do the cuts in two phases. Eliminate the one route and leave all runs on the other two. Then evaluate the ridership on the remaining trips.
I don't see any regular MTA routes being reduced. I sure see a lot of more than half empty buses riding around town.
Hey Rico,

I just knew you'd join in on this thread :)

The key to a good public transit system is safe, dependable and regular service. Are the half empty MTA buses you see on regualr, city routes? The core routes need to have frequent/regular service, even if the buses are somewhat under-utilized at times. The buses on the fringe routes can probably be run on less frequent schedules.

Many European nations have excellent mass transit systems. Perhaps we should study them a bit more, but heaven forbid, that might be misconstrued as socialism.
A concerned senior

Baltimore, MD

#11 Oct 17, 2008
Wait a minute, I thought that more people were using mass transit since the gas crisis. I thought the MTA was MAKING money for the state. Guess I was wrong for listening to the governor and the media.

Since: Sep 08

Catonsville, MD

#12 Oct 17, 2008
Voter scare tactics:

The government cuts things the voters like or need (MARC, Kidney Dialysis,Food for Old Ladies, etc.) then waits for the voter to run to Annapolis screaming, "Please don't cut that! I'll pay more takes if need be."

Works every time.
L_Enfant

Silver Spring, MD

#13 Oct 17, 2008
This is an issue for DC area as well - see the online WTOP article and reader comments: http://www.wtop.com/... .
I know a nurse who travels the 921 (Annapolis-New Carrollton Metro-Annapolis) line from Annapolis to GW Hosp, a children day care staffer who rides from New Carrollton to Annapolis to work, several folks who work at the State Capitol riding from New Carrollton to Annpolis, tourists going both ways, etc. etc.
When they're all "talkin' the talk" about gettting folks to switch from cars to public trans, why do they then turn around and cut! active public trans lines?
And as for Annpolis city gov't - what the heck are they thinking? They're just promoted the development of a huge new "Annapolis Towne Centre" residential/commercial complex as well as several other large residential condo complexs - and tourism is their economic lifeblood - yet they stand back and don't raise a peep about cutting this one and only public transporation line from Annapolis to DC via a the New Carrollton Metro!
Like one of the readers commented on the DC WTOP website article - Why does the Maryland State Gov't ALWAYS opt to "Cut the Bone, Leave the FAT"?!

“Trust, but Verify”

Since: Oct 08

Baltimore, MD

#14 Oct 17, 2008
Chesapeake Spirit wrote:
<quoted text>
Hey Rico,
I just knew you'd join in on this thread :)
The key to a good public transit system is safe, dependable and regular service. Are the half empty MTA buses you see on regualr, city routes? The core routes need to have frequent/regular service, even if the buses are somewhat under-utilized at times. The buses on the fringe routes can probably be run on less frequent schedules.
Many European nations have excellent mass transit systems. Perhaps we should study them a bit more, but heaven forbid, that might be misconstrued as socialism.
You are right, I'm sure they do need frequent/regular service, but why not take a look at perhaps consolidating some of the regular MTA service. If a mostly empty bus is now running every 15 minutes, why not bump them to 20 minutes. Multiply that by numerous routes and you cut out a lot of unnecessary fuel waste running almost empty buses around town.

I just don't think that a lot of thought went in to this. It seems like it was a quick & easy solution for the MTA. "Let the contractors worry about it". They are taking two of the quickest growing segments of the public transportation service (commuter bus & MARC) and cutting them back. That's not logical.
YouHelpFixIt

Scottsdale, AZ

#15 Oct 17, 2008
Club Member wrote:
Voter scare tactics:
The government cuts things the voters like or need (MARC, Kidney Dialysis,Food for Old Ladies, etc.) then waits for the voter to run to Annapolis screaming, "Please don't cut that! I'll pay more takes if need be."
Works every time.
In DC its called the Washington Monument ploy.

“Not a number, I am a free man”

Since: Jul 08

Baltimore, MD

#16 Oct 17, 2008

Why not just raise the rates a bit to cover the loss? Hey, if you don't like it, drive to work.

But, I agree that it seems a bit hypocritical to remove some commuter service right after the state tells us over and over to use mass transit and save the environment.

“panem et circenses”

Since: Jun 08

East Coast USA

#17 Oct 17, 2008
Rico13 wrote:
<quoted text>
You are right, I'm sure they do need frequent/regular service, but why not take a look at perhaps consolidating some of the regular MTA service. If a mostly empty bus is now running every 15 minutes, why not bump them to 20 minutes. Multiply that by numerous routes and you cut out a lot of unnecessary fuel waste running almost empty buses around town.
I just don't think that a lot of thought went in to this. It seems like it was a quick & easy solution for the MTA. "Let the contractors worry about it". They are taking two of the quickest growing segments of the public transportation service (commuter bus & MARC) and cutting them back. That's not logical.
Politics are seldom logical. As you know, I think mass transit needs to be expanded and that means a proper infrastructure. If those that use the service had to pay the full (true) cost of a fare, public transit would be a thing of the past. A good mass transit system is a huge benefit to our society and we will all have to pay in the form of tax dollars.
Annapolis Worker

Silver Spring, MD

#18 Oct 17, 2008
This is nuts - mixed nuts.

Some of the lines are old crony "gimmes" - like the line from a MARC train stop just south of Baltimore to the Laurel racetrack - OK, let the track pick up the tab for shuttling their customers.

But, for example, the 921 line to/from Annapolis to the DC New Carrollton metro stop is mostly two groups of folks - working folks going to jobs both ways and tourists - whose $$$ Annapolis esp. really needs.

Is the Annapolis City Council and Mayor paying any attention?! They've been promoting several gigantic new residential/commercial developments, and they then let the state ax the only public trans line to the DC Metro (i.e., the 921 line.)

Jeepers creepers! Nuts! Annapolis City Council - WAKE UP! Take some action here
Dave

Chesterfield, MO

#19 Oct 17, 2008
Rather then cutting those routes, why not charge more to use them? If they're not making money, then charge more to see if you still have demand for them.

Cutting MARC is crazy, and part of the reason they run that last train back to D.C. at 9:30 P.M.(I was on it last night) is because they need it there the next morning to pick up people for the D.C. to Baltimore trip.

Just shows you how out of touch O'Malley is with the citizens of Baltimore. Vote him out when you get a chance and if you're able, vote out Dixon too. She's corrupt as she can be.
Jimbo

Baltimore, MD

#20 Oct 17, 2008
pretty sure I posted before and had it deleted.

Anyway, we should tax those who drive to work in the city and give tax breaks to those who live downtown. We should cut none-essential city bus routes (there are a lot of empty buses driving around!). Funds created from driving taxes could be used to build new alternative forms of mass transit, like a better subway system or another light rail line. Buses are generally an "inferior good" in pure economic terms.

DC has created a great transportation model with their subway system. Unfortunately ours is limited to just one subway line.

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