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Regional transit cooperation


STATE AND REGIONAL planners are finally giving us reason to believe they can find ways to operate a well-coordinated public transportation network.

Breaking through jurisdictional barriers to provide reliable transit service in the Baltimore area sometimes seems like a climb up Mount Everest. But the Mass Transit Administration is working with regional and local bus companies to provide interconnected service to a major destination coming this fall -- the Arundel Mills mall.

If planners succeed, many of the estimated 3,000 employees, as well as shoppers, will be able to reach the mall's stores, shops and 24-screen movie theater by reliable public transit.

The improved road system under construction will assure drivers easy access to what could become Maryland's No. 1 destination. But public transportation is almost nonexistent.

Happily, that's changing. The MTA is running a bus from the light rail's Patapsco station to a site near the mall for construction workers. More important, the MTA is discussing plans with bus systems in Howard and Anne Arundel counties to transport workers and shoppers. Among the topics are such sensible approaches as honoring each other's day passes and coordinating schedules for smooth transfers.

Planners have also discussed extending the light rail line three miles from its BWI terminal to Arundel Mills.

The Baltimore area doesn't have a good reputation for seamless transportation access across jurisdictional boundaries. But the need to get people to Arundel Mills mall could finally change that.

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