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Baltimore needs more reliable bus service | READER COMMENTARY

Pam Brickell boards the Number 91 Maryland Transit Administration bus at the Mondawmin Transit Center in Baltimore. A drop in revenue and riders caused the MTA to reduce bus service during the COVID-19 pandemic. File. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun).
Pam Brickell boards the Number 91 Maryland Transit Administration bus at the Mondawmin Transit Center in Baltimore. A drop in revenue and riders caused the MTA to reduce bus service during the COVID-19 pandemic. File. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun). (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

The Baltimore Sun is so right in pointing out that the millions of dollars in improvements touted by U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in his recent visit to Baltimore is no replacement for the $3 billion Red Line (”Baltimore needs to upgrade transit beyond fresh paint and bus shelters,” Nov. 30). While dedicated bus and bike lanes, transit signal prioritization and more bus shelters can offer some improvement in service for the everyday rider, it is not enough.

At present, the Maryland Transit Administration is 80 bus drivers short of its needs. Coupled with a 10-to-20% daily absentee rate due in part to the stressful nature of the job, what this means is that everyday there are not enough buses or drivers to fill the scheduled routes. The result is many buses simply don’t appear when scheduled. If you are standing waiting to get to work and your bus just doesn’t arrive, this makes it impossible to get to your job on time.

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To have a successful bus system that serves the needs of its riders as well as attracts new riders, we need a bus system where all buses arrive when scheduled, all of the time. So let’s see money spent on eliminating driver and bus shortages. That will make a game-changing improvement to our bus system.

James Rouse Jr., Baltimore

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The writer is co-founder of Transit Choices.

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.

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