Two of the Charm City Circulator’s routes will be suspended Thursday, and the other two will have limited service, as Baltimore transitions to a new vendor, which is still testing its buses for safety and has yet to finalize a contract with the city.
The Banner route, between Fort McHenry and the Inner Harbor, and the Green route, between City Hall, Fells Point and Johns Hopkins Hospital, will be suspended until at least Friday, city Department of Transportation spokesman German Vigil said.
The Purple route, between Federal Hill and 33rd Street, and the Orange route, between Hollins Market and Harbor East, will each have limited service Thursday, Vigil said.
The interruption is not expected to affect the Harbor Connector.
“We’re asking customers to expect delays,” he said. “We’re going to try to run them as frequently as possible.”
The service interruption, which was confirmed late Wednesday after an inquiry from The Baltimore Sun, followed the city’s $20 million lawsuit of the previous vendor, Transdev Services Inc., alleging that the vendor overbilled the city $20 million for the free bus service.
Some Transdev drivers advised riders of the service interruption on the vendor’s last day of operating the service Wednesday, Vigil confirmed.
Although contract negotiations had been ongoing, city transportation officials learned of the planned service interruption only in a meeting late Wednesday, Vigil said.
“We didn’t anticipate any of these closures on these routes,” he said. “This is just a process that occurs during a transition period.”
The service interruption could last into next week and could leave the system with less than a full fleet for up to three months, Vigil said.
But RMA Worldwide Chauffered Transportation, the new vendor, could have 14 of the system’s normal 16 buses on the streets as soon as Friday, he said.
“We’re asking customers and anyone who rides CCC to be patient and plan alternative travel arrangements,” Vigil said. “We’re working really hard to return services to normal.”