Commuters can now take a bus directly from downtown Baltimore to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Harford County's largest employer, thanks to a new route launched earlier this month by the Maryland Transit Administration.
Commuter Bus Route 425, part of the BaltimoreLink transit improvement plan, began operating on Oct. 3.
The so-called reverse commute route is designed to provide transportation for people who live in the city to get to jobs in Harford County without driving. The buses run from the city to Harford County in the morning and back to the city in the afternoon.
Prior to the launch of the 425 Route, Harford's three other MTA commuter bus routes have been oriented to people who commute to jobs in the city, with buses going south in the morning and coming back to Harford in the late afternoon and early evening.
The MTA hasn't been able to asses ridership on the new route because it has been operating less than two weeks, spokesperson Paul Shepard said Wednesday.
"I have checked with the Commuter Bus directors and they advise me that since the Aberdeen route is new, they do not yet have accurate ridership figures available at this time," Shepard said via email. "We hope to have them in the near future."
Route 425 buses leave Wolfe and Monument streets at Johns Hopkins Hospital at 5:10, 6:10 and 7:10 a.m., to arrive at APG at 6:50, 7:50 and 8:50 a.m., according to the MTA.
The bus has seven stops at the proving ground, ending at The GATE complex. It also stops along Route 40 in the Edgewood and Belcamp areas, at Paul Martin Drive and Bata Boulevard, respectively, according to the schedule.
In Baltimore, the bus makes stops at City Hall, the subway station at Fayette and St. Paul streets, Royal Farms Arena and the light rail station at Camden Yards, before heading on I-95 to White Marsh and then to Harford County via Route 40.
The afternoon service departs from Raritan Avenue and Havre de Grace Street on APG at 3, 4 and 5 p.m., arriving at Wolfe and Monument streets at 4:33, 5:33 and 6:33 p.m.
The MTA held two public hearings on the line last month, explaining it was hoping to "serve workers traveling from Baltimore and White Marsh to job opportunities in Edgewood and the Aberdeen Proving Ground" in recognition of an "emerging market" for reverse commuting from Baltimore.
The fare for the bus ranges from $3 to $5, depending on where riders board.
The line is one of three new or improved commuter bus lines being added as part of BaltimoreLink, a $135 million plan to revamp Baltimore-area transit, as unveiled in the fall of 2015, the MTA said in a news release.
MTA Administrator and CEO Paul Comfort said in a statement the APG line is part of new enhancements to "connect Baltimore City and Baltimore County residents to regional employers in Harford County."
The bus line is projected to cost $500,000 annually to operate, MTA spokesperson Sandy Arnette said previously.