Hogan Administration Delivers on Promise to Transform Transit in Baltimore
$135 Million BaltimoreLink Program Will Better Connect Marylanders to Jobs and Other Transit Modes
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary Pete K. Rahn and MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) Acting Administrator Kevin Quinn gathered today with Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and other state, city, business, and community leaders to announce the rollout of BaltimoreLink at the West Baltimore MARC Station. The Hogan Administration’s new transformative transit improvement project delivers on the state’s promise to better connect people in the Baltimore region to jobs and other transit modes.
“We stood here 19 months ago and promised that we would fix Baltimore’s broken transit system, and we have done exactly what we said we would do,” said Governor Hogan. “BaltimoreLink signifies the state’s long-term commitment to the future of this city. This $135 million dollar state investment will create a customer-focused transit system for Baltimore that is safer, cleaner, and which better meets the needs of city residents.”
The official rollout of BaltimoreLink starts at 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 18. This multi-phase plan creates an interconnected transit system, redesigns the local and express bus systems and adds 12 new high-frequency, color-coded bus routes that improve connections to jobs and other transit modes. The new $135 million in state funding builds on hundreds of millions of dollars in key capital investments by the Hogan administration for critical improvements to Baltimore City’s transit system.
“Baltimore has relied on the same bus routes for decades. What may have worked thirty years ago does not today because our population and our job centers have changed,” said Mayor Pugh. “It has been great to partner with the Hogan Administration to modernize the bus system so that it reflects the transformation taking place in Baltimore, improves travel time throughout the region, and better connects people with jobs. BaltimoreLink will play a key role in the City’s long-term sustainability and economic growth.”
Secretary Rahn credited the hard work and dedication of the MDOT MTA team for making the new transit system a reality.
“Few cities get to completely redesign their entire transit system from scratch, fixing decades of accumulated inefficiencies,” said Secretary Rahn. “We have developed a comprehensive, efficient and effective transit system that delivers a true transit network that connects people to life’s opportunities.”
To celebrate the launch of BaltimoreLink, MDOT MTA will offer free transit rides from June 18 through June 30. During the free fare period, the June monthly pass and all CharmCard® 31-day passes will be half-price. These reduced fare passes can be purchased through June 24. Weekly passes will not be sold during this time.
“We are committed to transforming our transit system to better connect our riders to jobs and our various transit modes to help ease congestion in the Baltimore area,” said Acting Administrator Quinn. “We encourage everyone to try our new system by riding free of charge for the first two weeks. This new system will be a dramatic improvement that will link our customers to more jobs and greater economic opportunity.”
“The development of a comprehensive, efficient and effective mass transit system is essential to the City of Baltimore’s long-term sustainability, prosperity and relevance,” said Jimmy Rouse, a founding member of Transit Choices.
With the official launch of BaltimoreLink, existing MDOT MTA transit modes will be renamed: BicycleLink, LocalLink (Local Bus), Light RailLink, Metro SubwayLink and MobilityLink. Express BusLink, which was designed to improve suburb-to-suburb connectivity, was launched in June 2016.
A key component of the BaltimoreLink system is CityLink – 12 new high-frequency, color-coded bus routes that will improve reliability and better connect riders to Amtrak, Commuter Bus, Light RailLink, MARC Train, Metro SubwayLink and other services in Baltimore and the surrounding suburbs. In Baltimore City, new CityLink routes will run every 15 minutes during peak periods. The new CityLink buses will be specially branded and travel on color-coded routes with easy-to-read signage and detailed maps that will make the system easier to use. The CityLink bus routes, Light RailLink and Metro SubwayLink will form an interconnected, transit system. New LocalLink buses, which will operate on neighborhood streets, will also launch on June 18.
In addition to the new services, BaltimoreLink includes several other major capital improvements including: dedicated bus lanes to provide efficient, high-speed travel through downtown Baltimore; transit signal priority to increase reliability and speed of the buses by holding green lights longer or shortening red lights; transit hubs to improve transit connectivity; rebranding and replacement of more than 5,000 transit signs; expanded commuter bus service; new shared bicycle availability; access to car-sharing options and more.
In an effort to provide safe, efficient, reliable transit with world-class customer service, MDOT MTA held more than 200 public meetings and received more than 4,000 comments. BaltimoreLink Info Buses have run on all current MDOT MTA routes, picking up riders for free and enabling route experts to inform passengers how the new BaltimoreLink system will affect their trip, improve their commute to work and enable them to reach places they must go. MDOT MTA transit ambassadors have and will continue to be at key bus stops, as well as aboard select bus routes and at various transit centers to answer questions and promote awareness of the service changes. Through a partnership with the Center for Mobility Equity, MDOT MTA has provided comprehensive training for senior riders, persons with disabilities, and students on how to use the new BaltimoreLink system safely and independently.