As of the end of this month, Carroll County will no longer offer public bus service in the southern part of the county, including to Sykesville and Eldersburg.
The Board of Carroll County Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to discontinue the TrailBlazer South Carroll routes effective Dec. 31. The board made little comment about the decision.
The vote came after Stacey Nash, transportation grants manager for the county’s Department of Public Works, recommended Oct. 27 that the routes be discontinued because of low ridership and high cost to the county.
Nash said Thursday once the recommendation was made, the department heard no response from riders or the communities the buses serve.
In an email after Thursday’s meeting, Nash said tthe average number of riders per day that travel the southern route is seven.
Passengers pay $2 one way to ride a bus, but the cost to the county to run the buses in Sykesville and Eldersburg is $65 per trip, Nash said. In comparison, the cost to the county for the Westminster route is $15 per trip.
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The TrailBlazer South Carroll route is the least used and most expensive route to run since it started 12 years ago, Nash said.
“Our system continues to evolve and is analyzed on a regular basis to best serve our citizens,” county documents state. “Our team evaluates ridership, travel times, deviations and general efficiencies as part of the process.”
In October, commissioners voted unanimously to no longer offer public transportation on Saturdays because of low ridership. Statistics for the Saturday pilot program showed the number of passengers each Saturday ranged from zero to seven. Passengers paid $2 to ride the bus, but the cost to the county for Saturday service was $34.43 per passenger trip.
The county’s transit system consists of nine routes in Westminster, Taneytown, North Carroll and South Carroll.
Westminster has two routes, purple and black, Taneytown is the green route, North Carroll is the orange route, and South Carroll has been the red route. They operate every 30 minutes, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Taneytown route runs from 7:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The system provides about 200 trips per weekday, according to county documents.
For more information on routes and schedules go to, https://www.carrollcountymd.gov/government/directory/public-works/carroll-transit-system.