A plan to alter or eliminate nearly a third of Baltimore area bus routes has been delayed a month by the Mass Transit Administration because of scheduling problems.
Slated to have gone into effect Sunday, the route changes will now coincide with rate increases March 10. Twelve of the 66 bus routes will be discontinued or shortened. Eight others will be rerouted.
MTA spokesman Anthony Brown said the changes were delayed because bus drivers have not had enough time to learn the new routes. He said this winter's snowfall put training sessions two weeks behind schedule.
Mr. Brown said the delay has nothing to do with public outrage over diminished service and the fare increase, which will go from $1.25 to $1.35.
When the MTA announced the changes Jan. 4, opponents tried to force transit officials to back down. The critics charged that the plan favored suburban riders over city riders because city riders would be most affected by the fare increase.
Tomorrow, opponents have planned a rally at Lexington and Eutaw streets to protest MTA's changes.
Sharon Ceci, a spokeswoman for the All People's Congress, which is organizing the protest along with 6th District Councilman Melvin L. Stukes, said they are trying to pressure the MTA to rescind the changes.
But MTA Administrator John A. Agro Jr. has maintained that he is committed to implementing the route changes and fare increases.