For the next three months, Carroll County residents will again have the chance to ride public buses on Saturdays, as officials test demand for weekend transit service.
Carroll residents may reserve a bus ride in advance for rides between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Saturdays through Oct. 29.
The Saturday Services Pilot Program will launch Aug. 6. Once three months of usage data is collected, Carroll Transit System officials will evaluate demand and provide data to county officials in order to make recommendations about the future of Saturday busing.
Public buses normally run only on weekdays in Carroll County.
Carroll Transit offers nine fixed routes called TrailBlazers. There are two routes around Westminster plus routes in North Carroll, South Carroll and Taneytown. The system provides about 200 trips per weekday, according to county documents.
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The system also offers a door-to-door service called Demand Response for scheduled travel to medical appointments and other necessary trips.
Stacey Nash, transportation grants manager for Carroll County’s Department of Public Works, told commissioners at that meeting that residents had expressed a demand for Saturday bus service during a June 8 public meeting. The county had offered service on Saturdays in the past, but few riders took advantage, Nash said.
Because of renewed public interest, Nash said the county will try it again.
The money to run the pilot program will come from the county’s CARES Act funding. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was passed by Congress in March 2020. It allotted $2.2 trillion in economic aid to Americans negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The total funding needed will depend on rider demand for the service, Nash said.
For riders, the cost for Saturday bus service will be the same as the system’s Demand Response fares, which are based on mileage. Fares begin at $4 for a ride of up to 5 miles and increase up to $9 for rides of 20-25 miles.
For more information on the Saturday bus service program, call Carroll Transit at 410-386-5550 or go to www.carrolltransitsystem.com.