A free shuttle service for downtown Towson is scheduled to begin operations in mid-October, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. announced Tuesday.
The Towson Loop circulator will provide public transportation around the core of Towson’s downtown and to its main attractions starting Oct. 12.
“I’m thrilled that we will soon deliver on bringing this long-promised, free transit service that will better connect our neighbors with the places they live, work, study, and play,” Olszewski said in a statement.
Under a plan announced in June, the bus system will connect riders to Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Goucher College, Sheppard Pratt Health Systems, St. Joseph Medical Center, Towson University, The Shops at Kenilworth, Towson Town Center and Towson Place.
The service will use a 12-vehicle, county-owned fleet of 25 passenger shuttles that traverse two routes within Towson, according to a county news release.
“Expanding access to easy, efficient, reliable transit is an essential element in our vision for a better Baltimore County,” said Olszewski, for whom the bus system fulfills a campaign pledge.
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In November 2019, Baltimore County won a $1.65 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help support the free bus system, and Olszewski provided new operating funding in his fiscal year 2021 and fiscal year 2022 budgets, including $1.6 million this year.
County officials say Coach USA, a New Jersey-based bus operator, will run the system under a contract through its subsidiary Dillon’s Bus Service.
The county awarded the company a three-year contract with two possible two-year renewals worth a total of $27.5 million over the full seven years, according to Sean Naron, Olszewski’s spokesman.
Bruce Roberts, Coach USA’s senior vice president of business development, touted the company’s track record of working with communities to improve access to safe and affordable transportation.
“We are thrilled to have been chosen by Baltimore County to help them deliver on their stated long-term strategic plan to modernize its transportation system and to better connect people with where they live, work, study and play,” Roberts said in a statement.
Loop shuttles may be seen on the streets of the Towson as drivers begin their training over the coming weeks and signs will be installed at all stop locations in preparation for the Oct. 12 launch date.
For more information about the Towson Loop, visit www.baltcoloop.com.