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MTA announces free bus service during first two weeks of BaltimoreLink route overhaul

Bus, light rail and subway service will be free across the Baltimore region for two weeks after the roll-out of the BaltimoreLink route overhaul on June 18, the Maryland Transit Administration announced Wednesday.

The free rides, which the agency had previously floated, will be available through June 30. The promotion is intended to encourage people to try out the re-imagined bus system, which will be based around 12 high-frequency CityLink lines, the MTA said. The June monthly pass and all 31-day CharmCard passes can be purchased at half price Thursday through June 24. Weekly passes will not be sold during the free period.

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The free service will include all bus routes and core transit options but will not extend to MARC trains, commuter buses or MTA Mobility/Paratransit, the MTA said.

BaltimoreLink modernizes a 50-year-old bus service largely designed to bring people downtown to better connect where they live and where they go today, whether it's employment centers, shopping or entertainment destinations, or other transit, according to the MTA. Hundreds of bus stops were removed or relocated to match ridership trends and the needs of potential riders and employers, officials say.

"This new system will be a dramatic improvement that will give residents choices to leave their cars at home and ease congestion on our streets," MTA Administrator Paul Comfort said in a statement.

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