According to a report by the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance (CMTA), the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA)’s recent changes to 22 out of 51 local bus routes in the Baltimore area resulted in an average reduction in service of 11 percent, as measured in total bus runs during a week.
The most severely impacted route was the Number 58, which travels from White Marsh to the Reisterstown Plaza Metro Station by way of Belair Road, Northern Parkway and the Mount Washington Light Rail Station. According to CMTA, the route experienced an 18 percent reduction in service, with rush hour services running every 60 minutes, as opposed to every 30-36 minutes before the service reduction.
The services changes went into effect on Sunday, August 28. According to CMTA, MTA did not advertise the schedule changes for the Number 58 in advance, nor did it post the new schedule until September 13. CMTA quotes Number 58 daily commuter Maria Johnson:
Since Monday, August 29 up to this very day, many passengers have been up to an hour and a half late for work and late by same or more getting home. None of us knew what was happening.
Around August 20, MTA posted notices in buses, printed flyers, and created a page on its website announcing changes effective August 28. The notices did not indicate how service was changing, however. Reports CMTA:
Having limited or no advance notice of route changes takes away riders’ ability to plan for work, school or any trip around the Baltimore area. These changes also come just months before the MTA completely overhauls the entire network when its BaltimoreLink plan goes live in June 2017.
CMTA conducted its analysis by reviewing old and new schedules for numbers of buses scheduled to depart, spans of service, average headways and total numbers of bus runs per week.