Harford and Cecil transit officials unveiled their latest collaboration Monday: the Route 7 bus line, also called the Teal Line, that will soon run between Aberdeen and Perryville.
The line will include five official stops in Harford County and six in Cecil, and is expected to launch between Feb. 1 and Feb. 15, Harford Transit Administrator Jim Ports said.
"Believe it or not, a lot of people never cross the bridge," Richard Ditroia, a Cecil Transit bus driver of eight years, said. "There's been a lot of demand for a while."
Lucinda Whittington, a five-year bus driver for Harford Transit, said the line has been in the works for a long time, and she expects ridership to pick up in the summer and after word spreads about it.
She added that rising gas prices have led more residents to look to public transportation.
"Time will tell what kind of passengers we get," she said. "I expect a lot to go to the VA hospital … I know a lot of the veterans are on a fixed income, so the expense of a car is just too much."
Harford County Executive David Craig, who was standing in the Havre de Grace park named after him, said the connection between the two towns on the Susquehanna River became even clearer after the protest of the proposed highway toll hike last year.
"Havre de Grace and Perryville have long been in partnership in many, many different things," Craig said.
He added Cecil County is home to the second largest population of Aberdeen Proving Ground employees.
Nine daily routes will run between the two counties.
Stops in Havre de Grace will include McDonald's, Harford Memorial Hospital, The Graw and the Susquehanna Hose Company House 2 at Pennington and Union avenues. Stops in Perryville include the Perry Point VA Hospital, Concord Apartments, Perryville train station, Perryville Outlets and Hollywood Casino.
The bus will also stop at the station on Route 40 in Aberdeen, to connect with other Harford bus lines, and at Food Lion in Perryville, to connect to Cecil lines.
Jim Mullen, Cecil County commissioner for the first district, also said he learned during the recent toll debate how much people in Perryville and Havre de Grace depend on each other.
"That brought us together, so that was kind of nice, in a way," he said. "I think what this partnership does is it brings two counties closer together, two towns closer together … I think it's a win-win for all of us."
Simon Taylor, chief administrative officer for engineering, support services and statewide service development for the Maryland Transit Administration, said the state is giving $69,000 to Harford County and $66,000 to Cecil County for the project.
"This is a unique collaboration," Taylor said. "We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to many people riding this service in the coming months and years."
More information on the route is available at harfordtransitlink.org and ceciltransit.com.