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Charm City Circulator: No fare but what about voluntary contributions?

Last summer, the new vendor for the Charm City Circulator had not trained all of its drivers as required and hired another shuttle company to run one of its four routes because of a persistent shortage of buses. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)

The Charm City Circulator buses have been a great asset to Baltimore, its residents and its visitors (“Charm City Circulator needs more than a new logo,” Oct. 16). They have had their challenges when they were first established and when changing providers, but they have been a great free vehicle that improves Baltimore. They move people freely, cut down on short moving of vehicles, eliminate some needs for some to have cars and use ride sharing or car sharing, are operated very cleanly and have policies that limit continued use by the homeless and show off parts of the city.

With that said, think outside the box and do not make it just another bus with a fare. These vehicles are a very positive image item of Baltimore. What about putting in a fare box based upon contributing what you care to pay? I will bet you would collect much more than than 25 cents proposed. People would drop dollars or their pocket change. It would also keep it moving more quickly and probably get some positive national press for a city that could use it. Brand this idea right on the bus as part of the new logo and imaging.

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There is a contribution option at every cash register and drive through at most fast food operations and the boxes are always stuffed with money. Try this for a year and I will bet locals and visitors will surprise you. And if if proves successful, add an electronic pay option next year. Baltimore needs more outside the box thinking to resolve issues and return to its prior growth and safety. It is Charm City.

Howie B. Barshop, Baltimore

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