Bus study shows little interest


A recent survey by the Mass Transit Administration found that most employees at Carroll County companies would not use a shuttle bus from their workplaces to the Owings Mills Metro station.

Preliminary results indicate that some people would be interested in a shuttle from the Westminster area to the subway station, Carroll County Senior Transportation Planner Steven C. Horn said yesterday.

People who work in the Route 30 and Route 26 corridors showed little interest, county transportation planner Janet Gregor said.

The county Planning Department assisted in the survey, which went to 13,000 employers and workers. The response rate was not high, she said, but specific numbers were not available.

The MTA conducted the survey to attract more riders to the Metro system, MTA spokesman Anthony Brown said. The survey was limited to Carroll employers and employees, he said.

The 13-question survey asked employers whether workers had adequate transportation to work and whether they have trouble keeping workers because of a lack of transportation.

Employees were asked 16 questions, including whether they would use a shuttle bus to the Owings Mills Metro and whether they had to pay to park at work.

The survey was conducted last month, Mr. Brown said, and tabulations are not final.

Preliminary results indicate that Carroll Transit System, a nonprofit system, would operate a shuttle if one was established, Mr. Brown said.

Carroll Transit Executive Director James O. Mathis said, "We would be interested in whatever they come up with."

The system has about 20 vehicles and provides rides mainly to senior citizens. It also runs a shoppers shuttle in Westminster.

The MTA surveyed 60 Carroll employers, including large companies, smaller ones, the Board of Education and Springfield Hospital Center.

Most employees at Random House Inc. in Westminster would not need a shuttle bus because they live in the county, personnel director William Gavin said.

Almost 90 percent of the company's employees live in Carroll, he said. Random House has about 1,200 employees and is the county's largest private employer.

There have been times when the company has had trouble filling lower-wage warehouse jobs, he said. A shuttle bus to the Metro station might help to expand the available labor pool, he said.

Ms. Gregor said her office has received many calls from Eldersburg residents saying they had heard that the MTA planned to provide public business service on Route 26 from Randallstown to Eldersburg. The MTA has no such plans, she said.

Residents also said they had heard that Wal-Mart would not open a store in Eldersburg unless the county provided bus service on Route 26, Mr. Horn said. That is not true, he said.

The county Board of Zoning Appeals recently gave Wal-Mart approval to open a store near Routes 26 and 32.

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