Charm City Circulator to Remain Free and Mostly Intact

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced this week a plan to keep the Charm City Circulator free and mostly intact, instead of reducing the service. After a study of operations, city officials planned to eliminate one route and reduce service on others.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun,

Instead, officials said, the Banner route will continue to run regularly during peak weekday hours. The Purple line — the service’s most popular route, running from Federal Hill to Penn Station — is to be extended up to 33rd Street this fall.

While the service will remain free for users, some wait times between buses may increase as the Rawlings-Blake administration looks for ways to cover costs, city officials said. The changes could take effect as early as this month, but officials couldn’t provide an exact date.

The Circulator, which serves more than 4 million people a year, has run a deficit since it launched in January 2010. The mayor set out late last year to address the funding gap, which has grown to more than $11 million.

The service costs the city about $14 million a year.

Rawlings-Blake spokesman Howard Libit said the city will shift about $3 million toward the Circulator by putting off some debt payments and setting less money aside for the purchase of new buses. He couldn’t immediately say how that would affect equipment replacement plans.

Previous coverage of the Charm City Circulator can be found on Conduit Street.