Previous estimated start dates have come and gone for the project, but deputy city transportation director Jamie Kendrick insists this one is for real.
"That's a hard, fast and furious date," Kendrick said. He said the reason for the holdup was delay in receiving delivery of the clean-energy buses from the manufacturer.
The new bus service will be operated by Veolia Transportation under a contract with the city Department of Transportation, Kendrick said. He said the Waterfront Partnership will help with the marketing effort.
The first route to start operations will be the east-west Orange Route, connecting the B&O Railroad Museum with the Inner Harbor, Harbor East and Fells Point. Kendrick said two additional routes would start up over the next few months. One would connect the Cross Street Market area with Penn Station; the other would tie the Johns Hopkins Hospital with Fells Point and Harbor East.
Kendrick said people in the city might see some of the buses on the street even before Jan. 11 as operators get familiar with the routes. He said the city will begin putting down markings for bus and bike lanes on Pratt and Lombard streets Monday.