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The Maryland Transit Administration(MTA), better known as MTA Maryland to avoid confusion with other cities' transit agencies who share the initials MTA, is a state operated transit service. The MTA operates a comprehensive transit system throughout the Baltimore Metropolitan Area and a commuter bus service in other parts of the state. There are 77 bus lines, along with other transit modes, serve Baltimore's public transportation needs. Other services include the Central Light Rail, Metro Subway, QuickBus, and MARC Train services.

HistoryEdit

The MTA was originally known as the Baltimore Metropolitan Transit Authority, then the Mass Transit Administration before it changed to its current name. The MTA took over the operations of the old Baltimore Transit Company on April 30, 1970.

The routes of most of the agency's current bus lines are based on the original streetcars operated by the Baltimore Transit Company and its parent companies between the 1890s and 1960s. All these routes were ultimately converted to rubber tire bus operations, and many of them were consolidated, extended into newly developed areas, or otherwise reconfigured in order to keep up with the ridership demands of the times.

With the growth in popularity of the private automobile during the 20th century, streetcar and bus ridership declined, and the needs for public transportation changed. Mass transit in Baltimore and other cities shifted from a corporate operation to a tax-subsidized state-run service. The amount of service provided was greatly reduced, and some areas once served by streetcars are currently served by buses.

The demise of the Baltimore streetcar took place between the years of 1947 and 1963, as operators found buses to be low maintenence and more cost-efficient. As rails were demolished, Baltimore was no longer a streetcar city, and could never be one again.

Services ProvidedEdit

MTA provides several forms of transit services, including: bus, Heavy Rail, Light Rail, Commuter Rail services. The system operates within twelve Maryland counties, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore City.

Bus ServiceEdit

Bus service operates throughout the Baltimore Metropolitan area and other parts of the state upon 77 routes. These include local bus lines routes (1 through 99) which serve areas of Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Anne Arundel County. Commuter and express bus lines, which also operate within other parts of the state, include routes 120 through 995.

Local bus lines consist: regular bus lines, which are identified by a one- or two- digit number. In 2009, The remaining (M- Lines) were merged into local bus numbers ranging through the 50s and 60 while keeping their same metro feeder service. Recent years have seen the introduction of the Neighborhood shuttles, also known as Shuttle Bugs. Theses local routes are focused on specific neighborhood and the transportation of persons around these communities.

Currently MTA Maryland operates two such routes. The Hampden Shuttle Bug (Route 98), identified by a ladybug, was the first of these so-called Neighborhood shuttles to begin operation. The shuttle makes a circular route through the Baltimore neighborhood of Hampden. The second one, the Mondawmin Metro Shuttle (Route 97), is identified by a grasshopper. Its focus is the area in and around the neighborhood of Mondawmin, specifically serving the Mondawmin stop on the Metro-Subway.

Plans were made to launch other shuttle services throughout Baltimore and into some of the suburbs, but the expansion of the service has been put on indefinite hold, with MTA putting its resources into other projects.

MTA also operates so called “Express” and “Commuter” Buses”; these routes should not be confused with “Express service” on the local standard bus routes as both operated differently. These routes offer limited service, mostly during weekday rush hour, between downtown Baltimore or Washington and various Park-and-Ride lots or other suburban locations in the state of Maryland. They are generally identified with a 3-digit number. The number of existing express routes has declined over the past two decades as new rapid transit services have been constructed, and poor-performing routes are eliminated or consolidated.

In 2005, MTA introduced a new form of express transit, known as “QuickBus”. The first route identify as No. 40 Line operates every 12-15 minutes from the western to the eastern suburbs of Baltimore through the downtown area, serving various communities in West and East Baltimore. In 2008, MTA introduce one additional quickbus route the No. 48 Line that operates along the Greenmount/York Road corridor alongside the No. 8 Line from Downtown to Towson. In 2010, two new quickbus routes Nos. 46 and 47 Lines were introduce for weekday/peak hour service along other local bus routes Nos. 5, 10 (qb46) and 15 (qb47). Stops are limited to major intersections, transfer points, and points of interest. Unlike other express buses, local fares are applicable on the quickbus lines. Note all Quickbus lines are identify with "qb" logo in front of number on bus headsigns.

Current bus routesEdit

The routes shown in the list are operated regularly by MTA. These include local, express, and commuter buses. Over the years, as MTA has modified most of its services, many bus lines have ceased operation. Some of these lines have been merged into others, and other services have been completely been discontinued in order to meet the needs of new and changing communities and changes in ridership habits. Some of the lines and branches that have operated since 1990 and are no longer in existence are shown in the cited list.

Abolished Bus LinesEdit

Over the years, as MTA has modified most of its services, many bus lines have ceased operation. Some of these lines have been merged into others, and other services have been completely been discontinued in order to meet the needs of new and changing communities and changes in ridership habits. Some of the lines and branches that have operated since 1990 and are no longer in existence are as follows:

Metro SubwayEdit

This system operates elevated and underground from Owings Mills, a corporate and shopping complex in Baltimore County, into the heart of Downtown Baltimore City’s business, shopping and sightseeing districts to the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Medical Center Complex. The 15.5 mile, 14 station northwest-southeastbound system includes the following station stops:

In addition to the downtown area, Rogers Avenue and Mondawmin Stations serve as major connection hubs for the Baltimore Metro System. At these stops riders are able to gain connections to over 20 other bus lines at any given time. Riders at State Center or Lexington Market also have the option of connecting to the Light Rail, and a connection to QuickBus lines 40, 46, 47, and 48 is available at the Lexington Market, Charles Center, Shot Tower, or Johns Hopkins Hospital stops.

Light RailEdit

This service travels from Baltimore County’s Hunt Valley corporate, hotel, and shopping complex, through the heart of downtown Baltimore's shopping, sightseeing, dining, and entertainment districts, to BWI Marshall Airport and Cromwell Station/Glen Burnie in Anne Arundel County. There is also service to Amtrak’s Baltimore Penn Station.

The Light Rail operates at street level, and travels on bridges crossing several bodies of water. There are 32 station stops along the 30 mile system:

MARCEdit

Main article: MARC Train

This Service operates three rail lines that provide commuter service to riders out of and into Baltimore, Frederick, Aberdeen, Washington, D.C., and several other locations in-between. The Brunswick Line provides service from: Union Station-Washington, DC; Silver Spring, Kensington, Garrett Park, Rockville, Washington Grove, Gaithersburg, Metropolitan Grove, Germantown, Boyds, Barnesville, Dickerson, Point Of Rocks, Brunswick, MD; Harpers Ferry, Duffields & Martinsburg, W.V. The Camden Line provides Service from: Washington Union Station; Riverdale, College Park, Greenbelt, Muirkirk, Laurel, Laurel Racetrack, Savage, Jessup, Dorsey, Saint Denis & Baltimore Camden Station. The Penn Line provides service from: Washington Union Station; New Carrollton, Seabrook, Bowie State, Odenton, BWI Rail Station, Halethorpe, West Baltimore, Baltimore/Penn Station Martin Airport, Edgewood, Aberdeen & Perryville. The MTA also oversees the operation of transit services in other jurisdictions in the state, with the exception of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area, which is serviced by the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority WMATA. Such transit systems as Howard Transit, Carroll Area Transit Service, Annapolis Transit, Frederick County TransIT and Harford Transit are also partially funded by MTA as well

Vehicles UsedEdit

The Maryland Transit Administration current fleet of buses consists of North American Bus Industries (NABI) 416 standard floor buses ordered from 1997-2000. In 2002, one-hundred of MTA's first fleet of low-floor buses ever were ordered from Neoplan. From 2004 to 2005, the MTA ordered more low floor buses, this time from New Flyer. In 2006, the first fleet of hybrid buses ever in the MTA consist of New Flyer (diesel-electric) DE40LFR hybrids. Through 2008 to present (2011) MTA has ordered and started operation of 193 New Flyer hybrid buses. Thirty 60-foot articulated (08 series) buses replaced the thirty existing NABI 436 SFW articulated vehicles from 1995-96, one hundred 41-foot LFRs (10 series), and forty one 40-foot LFRs (11 series) with an HVAC mounted at the front of the bus. The continous 2011 series fleet is twelve new DE60LFs sold to the MTA from Chicago Transit Authority; due to begin service July 2011, and one hundred Xcelsiors is due to arrive in late 2011 from a piggyback order with WMATA. Also sources says the MTA is in discussion of working out a contract with Orion to purchase fifty 07.501 NG HEVs due to arrive in 2012. For the next four years the MTA has plans to order up to 400 more hybrid buses. By 2012 50% of MTA's bus fleet will consist of hybrid buses.

Bus Numbering System

The MTA has a unique bus numbering system, for buses ordered prior to the New Flyers, it is a 4 digit numbering system, with the first two- digits representing the year the buses were ordered in and the last two- digits representing the number of the bus out of the total number of buses ordered for that year; for example: a Neoplan bus was ordered in 2002 and is the 23rd bus in the 2002 fleet, so the coach will be recognized as bus number # 0223.

In 2005, for the New Flyer buses, MTA changed the numbering system to a 5 digit numbering system due to the fact that the order reached over 100 buses; for example: bus number # 09025 is a New Flyer bus ordered in 2009 and is the 25th bus in the 2009 fleet.

The Neighborhood Shuttle buses were initially Thomas transit buses which didn't hold up too well on Baltimore streets and were eventually sold. Later, 30-foot Flxible buses were used on the neighborhood shuttle routes known as the "shorties or baby buses" due to the shortness of a 30-foot bus compared to a regular 40' bus though some 40-foot buses were used. In 2006, MTA ordered three 30-foot Optima Opus buses to operate only on the No. 97 Line (Mondawmin Shuttle) to replace the aging diesel 30-foot Flxibles. In 2011, the MTA retired small Optima fleet.

RailEdit

See also: Rail transit in Baltimore, Maryland

The Maryland Transit Administration has two principal forms of rapid transit, the Baltimore Light Rail and the Baltimore Metro Subway. The light rail has two, largely overlapping lines, one from BWI Airport to Hunt Valley, Maryland, the other from Glen Burnie (Cromwell) to Timonium, Maryland. It also has a short spur line between the University of Baltimore/Mount Royal stop and Penn Station, the primary intercity rail station in Baltimore. The subway system leads from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland to Owings Mills, Maryland. Strangely, the light rail and subway do not formally have a shared stop, but the Lexington Market stations for each service are only one block apart.

The Maryland Transit Administration completed double tracking of its light rail system in early 2006. Meanwhile, it has been sending its Metro cars out to be rehabbed. The Maryland Transit Administration is also competing with Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to obtain federal funding to build a maglev train route from Washington D.C. to Baltimore, Maryland.

A third form of rail, the MARC commuter rail system, is also administered by MTA Maryland. It serves the Baltimore-Washington area as well as Western Maryland, but does not run on weekends.

ParatransitEdit

MTA Maryland was among the first transit agencies to offer paratransit for persons with disabilities. This "Mobility Service" is a non-fixed route service and consists of fleet of specially converted Ford F-350's and Ford Crown Victorias. Some service is contracted out to MV Transportation [1] and Veolia Transportation, but all vehicles are owned by MTA. Transportation is arranged in advance by caller reservation.

The one-way fare on these vehicles is $1.80, but those who qualify for parantransit have the ability to use their Paratransit ID card to ride any other mode of MTA transit, whether bus, light rail, subway, or water taxi, free of charge.

Taxi AccessEdit

A sub-service of the Paratransit program is MTA's Taxi Access program, designed with technology made by a company called MJM Management. The Taxi Access program ensures that any sufficiently physically disabled person that consistently requires Paratransit service can also qualify for the Taxi Access program. The Taxi Access program allows the bearer of a Taxi Access card to take a taxicab door-to-door within the limits of anywhere MTA Paratransit vans go; i.e. within 1/3 of a mile of an MTA public transit stop of any kind. Once the trip is complete, total out-of-pocket cost for the customer is $3.00, and the MTA picks up the rest of the price of the fare, "paying" it to the driver in the form of a voucher that s/he later redeems at his/her cab company headquarters.

MTA Vehicle Fleet

  • 199 (heavy rail cars)
  • 53 (light rail cars)
  • 773 (buses)
  • 272 (paratransit buses)
  • 124 (paratransit taxi cars)
  • 175 (commuter rail cars)

Fare InformationEdit

All information in this section is current as of April 2006.

  • The one-way fare for local Baltimore services of MTA Maryland fixed-route public transit, including light rail and subway, is $1.60.
  • Day passes cost $3.50.
  • Weekly passes cost $16.50
  • Monthly passes cost $64.00.

Disabled people and senior citizens with a special photo ID issued by the Maryland Transit Administration has a special fare structure.

  • One way fare is $0.55
  • Day passes cost $1.20
  • Weekly passes cost $16.50
  • Monthly passes cost $16.50

The neighborhood shuttles have a special fare structure for one-way fares only.

  • $1.00 per ride
  • $0.50 per ride for disabled/senior citizens.

Express bus service also have a special fare structure.

  • One way fare is $2.00. $0.95 for disabled/senior citizens.
  • Day Passes cost $3.50 plus an additional $0.40 per ride. $1.20 plus an additional $0.40 per ride for disabled/senior citizens.
  • Weekly passes cost $16.50 plus an additional $0.40 per ride.
  • Monthly passes cost $80.00. $16.50 plus an additional $0.40 per ride for disabled/senior citizens.
Fare Collection MethodsEdit

The Maryland Transit Administration, prior to the Summer of 2005, used an old, antiquated fare collection system which involved printing out a piece of paper with the date on it for a day pass and for transfers for students. The system had flaws in that some people wrote the wrong date on the day pass and was allowed to board the bus on that date for free, and students were passing their transfers to other students out the window and they used it to board the bus for free. People also sold day passes after use and they were accepted by the driver even though the ticket that was printed stated "THIS TICKET IS NON-TRANSFERRABLE." One former Maryland Transit Administration bus operator was arrested and charged with theft because every time he worked, this driver would board the bus 30 minutes before his scheduled shift and print out over 300 day passes and then sell them on the street.

From Summer 2005 to the present, the Maryland Transit Administration has switched to a new fare collection method which uses modern, state-of-the-art fareboxes that issue magnetic striped day passes which can only be used on that day because the machine encodes the date and expiration time in the magnetic strip (Day passes expire at 3:00 AM) and transfers when swiped through the magnetic reader, validates the pass and a time limit is placed on the pass so that a person cannot transfer the pass to another person to use for free boarding which was a huge problem with the previous system, the transfers also expire after the 90 minutes as well. The fareboxes that MTA ordered can also accept credit cards for payments but it is unknown if MTA will take advantage of that feature. Magnetic passes, known as Go Passes, are also being used for weekly and monthly passes. Soon, the Maryland Transit Administration will sell smart cards for $5.00 under the name, Maryland Transit Pass, similar to WMATA's smart card system, the SmarTrip card. The smart card, when sold, will not be activated. To activate the card, the user must add money to the card. The fareboxes on all buses will allow users to insert money and add value to their smart card. When the Maryland Transit pass system is fully implemented, it will be used not only on just Maryland Transit Administration transit services, but will also be able to be used in Washington D.C. on all WMATA buses and on the Washington Metro and in Northern Virginia. The smart card will also be able to be refilled automatically each month through registering the card with MTA and providing MTA with credit card information. It is currently unknown if the WMATA SmarTrip card can be accepted by the fareboxes used by the MTA.

Special ProgramsEdit
Special Agreement with the Baltimore City Public School SystemEdit

A special agreement is set up between the Baltimore City Public School System and the Maryland Transit Administration to allow all eligible BCPSS students (usually students who live outside a predetermined area surrounding the school) during a school year to receive one color-coded booklet of dated tickets for each month with an ID card with a special number printed on the booklet and on the lower-right hand corner of the ticket itself. The tickets allow students to ride on MTA buses, light rail, and subway for free going to and from school (there are two dated tickets for each day). The ID card with the special number is to verify that the student is the rightful owner of that ticket booklet, however, many MTA drivers do not ask for the ID card or they ask for it but don't verify that the number on the ID card matches the number on the ticket itself. Another abuse of the tickets are that some students use the tickets during the school day to go to other places than to school in the morning. The tickets are valid from 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. only unless stamped with an official school stamp that usually includes the school name and address which is for special school-related events which go past 6:30 p.m.. If a student, going home, needs extra time or needs to transfer to another bus, or to the light rail or subway, they can ask for a transfer from the bus driver which expires 90 minutes from the time it is issued.

The MTA also operates special supplemental bus service to aid in transporting students to/from city schools. The supplemental trips, which bear the same route numbers as many regular bus lines, share all of part of the route of their respective lines, with variation designed to enable students to reach school easily. These trips generally operate between 7 AM and 8:30 AM, and between 2:30 PM and 4 PM on city school days only. Though their schedules are not disclosed to the general public, the buses are open to the public for others to ride.

Additionally, MTA operates special services for several Baltimore area private and parochial schools in order to transport students to these schools from the areas where their students primarily reside. These buses, though they operate in the same manner as regular services, are generally not open to the public. Anyone who is not a student or employee of the school would usually be denied boarding. Some of these buses operate in areas not served by regular MTA routes.

Maryland Transit Administration College PassEdit

The Maryland Transit Administration has a special program set up with 24 Baltimore area colleges and universities which allows college students who are enrolled in a minimum of 6 hours per week with the 24 colleges and universities to receive a monthly pass for $39.00. To disallow abuse, there are strict criteria for buying a college monthly pass: students are only allowed to buy one college pass from the college or university they are currently attending and the college must see the college or university issued ID card and verify that the student is enrolled in the college at a minimum of 6 hours per week. Students are not allowed to buy a college monthly pass for family, friends, or other students. Students using a college monthly pass must have a college or university issued ID displayed at all times when riding on all Maryland Transit Administration buses, light rail trains, and subway trains. Each of the 24 colleges and universities receive a certain number of college monthly passes each month and after the certain number is sold out, the MTA does not send any more to the college or university. Usually, the college monthly passes sell out by the second or third week of each month.

Currently participating colleges and universities in the MTA College Pass programEdit

Laws Edit

For the safety and security of all passengers and employees, MTA enforces some laws, mostly enacted by the State of Maryland, for which violation can result in fines up to several hundred dollars per offense, and possible short jail sentences. The laws are applicable while on any MTA bus or train, inside of any Metro subway station, on the platform at any light rail stop, and in some cases, at bus stops or on the lots of MTA Park-and-Rides, and may only be preempted with written or verbal consent from an authorized MTA employee. They are posted on some MTA vehicles, and found in other literature offered by MTA, and are as follows:

  • Boarding or attempting to board an MTA vehicle without paying the full fare required by law, or displaying proof of payment as requested by an MTA operator or employee.
  • Fraudulently selling, transferring, sharing, or otherwise misusing any MTA pass or fare-related document.
  • Consuming food or beverage or carrying an open food or beverage container while on an MTA vehicle or in an MTA station.
  • Smoking or carrying lighted tobacco products.
  • Boarding or riding an MTA vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or any legally controlled substance.
  • Littering or disposing of any waste, except in receptacles provided for that purpose.
  • Listening to a radio or other sound-producing device, or playing a musical instrument, except with earphones through which only the user can hear.
  • Engaging in conversation with the operator of a bus or train while the vehicle is in motion, except for the purpose of making necessary communication pertaining to travel (i.e. obtaining directions).
  • Engaging in conversation with another passenger or on a mobile phone or communication device in a location or manner in which the conversation is audible to the operator of the bus or train while the vehicle is in motion.
  • Attempting to engage another passenger in conversation after that passenger has clearly stated his/her wishes not to be involved in the conversation.
  • Fighting physically or verbally or engaging in rough play or ball playing while on MTA property.
  • Use of foul or offensive language while on any MTA property.
  • Engaging in a conversation with others while on MTA property of a crude of sexual nature that is audible to others not involved in the conversation.
  • Graffiti or any other forms of vandalism of MTA vehicles or property.
  • Distribution of any literature while on MTA property advertising business, politics, religion, or any other views, or verbally attempting solicit any of these from other passengers.
  • Soliciting, conducting, or arranging any business transactions on any MTA property.
  • Photographing, audio-taping, or video-taping any MTA vehicle, station, parking lot, or other property from within MTA vehicle, station, parking lot, or property, except for preapproved journalistic purposes. Making use of any camera or recording device while on MTA such property, unless photo/video taken is of non-MTA property outside of the vehicle/station and is otherwise legal.
  • Carrying any weapons, explosives, flammables, hazardous chemicals, or other dangerous substances on MTA property, except for firearms licensed to be carried.
  • Carrying any objects with an odor offensive to others, or that carry a high risk for causing a mess or damage to an MTA vehicle or property.
  • Boarding an MTA vehicle with any object greater than 44" in any single dimension, or greater than 28" in two or more dimensions, except for mobility devices and other objects specifically allowed.
  • Carrying more personal belongings at any given time than that can be carried and easily moved about with continually.
  • Carrying live animals, except for service animals to assist the handicapped, or those properly packaged in cages or containers.
  • Standing on an MTA vehicle while in motion, except when no seats are available, or when changing seats.
  • Taking up more than one seat with self or personal belongings, when seats are in need by other passengers, unless necessary due to weight or disability.
  • Failure to vacate a seat designated for the elderly or handicapped when requested to do so by an entitled individual or an MTA operator or employee.
  • Loitering on MTA property, or staying longer than is necessary at an MTA rail station, sheltered bus stop, or a bench owed by MTA and designated as a bus stop, in order to catch a bus or train, or wait for a taxi, ride or arranged meeting after getting off a bus or train.
  • Riding an MTA bus or train to its layover point, then continuing to ride the next run in the opposite direction, except to reach part of reverse route found in that direction only, or with approval from the operator. This law includes and applies strictly to unlimited pass holders.
  • Sleeping on an MTA vehicle or MTA property, except for light dozing.
  • Disrupting or hindering with the safe and efficient operation of an MTA vehicle or MTA services.
  • Failure to obey the orders of an MTA operator, officer, or otherwise authorized employee.

Criticism Edit

Over the years, MTA has been heavily criticized by its riders, delegates, community activists, and other advocates. Criticism has included that the system is slow, that its buses (even the new ones) break down far too often; and that the system is too unreliable to ensure that workers on wage-based work can get to their jobs on time, and that many areas where such workers need to reach have little or no bus service. In addition, suburban bus service on busy corridors is very minimal, and some suburban communities have no service at all.

In the summer of 2005, MTA announced a proposed sweeping overhaul of the bus system that they dubbed the Greater Baltimore Bus Initiative (GBBI). The plan included changes to all but six of the area's then 59 local bus lines as well as some express and commuter services. Among these modifications were extensions, consolidations, and in some cases, elimination of service. But all were described by MTA as improvements.

According to MTA, these changes, for the most part, were designed to make bus service in the Baltimore area simpler and more efficient. But they were heavily criticized by riders, advocates, and the local media. Opponents stated that most of these changes made the service difficult, if not impossible, for riders.

On October 23, 2005, the original date these changes were planned, a scaled-back version of GBBI was implemented. Modifications were made to just twenty lines. These changes were supposedly considered to be among the least controversial. Yet they were still heavily criticized. As a result, on February 5, 2006, some of the modified bus lines saw farther improvement.

In March 2006, MTA announced without prior notice that in just three months, Phase II of GBBI would be implemented. Changes would be made to 23 bus lines, all without any hearings. This drew concern from community leaders and the Maryland General Assembly, which passed a law prohibiting any changes unless several stipulations were met, including at least hearing.

MTA has since met all the stipulations specified by the General Assembly. However, any further changes have been delayed for a variety of reasons.

External linksEdit

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Currently operating heavy rail rapid transit systems in the United States
Atlanta · Baltimore · Boston · Chicago · Cleveland · Honolulu · Los Angeles · Miami · New York City/Staten Island/PATH · Philadelphia/PATCO · San Francisco · San Juan · Washington

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