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Circulator buses on the way downtown

The program is a little behind schedule, but Baltimore's new Charm City Circulator buses are definitely coming this fall, members of the Charm City Circulator Team say. The system will be made up of a fleet of 21 hybrid-electric buses that will pick up residents in close-in neighborhoods such as Federal Hill and Fells Point and take them to stops around downtown.

The idea is to get people out of their cars by making it really convenient and cheap -- FREE -- to get around downtown. The buses have been behind schedule because of the recession and problems in the automotive supply chain, the team says.

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But in the next few weeks there will be visable progress, including info panels at stops, signs and street markings for the "buses and bikes only" lanes on Pratt and Lombard. (Hmm, how do we feel about buses and bikes sharing lanes? And if we're okay with that, wouldn't we like to see some north-south lanes as well? I believe the city is working on such lanes.)

Anyway, the buses are supposed to run seven days a week, every 10 minutes and along three routes. There's also a plan to allow people trying to get across the harbor to take the Water Taxi Harbor Connector for free. It will leave from Maritime Park at Living Classrooms Foundation in Fells Point and from the Tide Point dock in Locust Point every 10 minutes. Go to www.watertaxi.com for more info.

So, think you'd take the new bus?

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