Baltimore to Invest $135M in Transformative Transit Plan

The multi-phase plan will create an interconnected transit system and includes redesigning the local and express bus systems and adding 12 new bus routes


Maryland Department of Transportation

Governor Larry Hogan announced $135 million in targeted investments to transform and improve transit throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area. The multi-phase plan will create an interconnected transit system, known as BaltimoreLink, and includes redesigning the entire local and express bus systems throughout Baltimore and adding 12 new high-frequency, color-coded bus routes that improve connections to jobs and other transit modes.

“This comprehensive plan signifies the state’s long-term commitment to the future of Baltimore City by providing a more reliable and timely transit experience, and better connections to jobs,” said Governor Hogan. “For years, Maryland’s largest and most important city had an antiquated and broken transit system, but with this vision, the people of Baltimore and surrounding jurisdictions will finally be able to travel conveniently, efficiently and affordably from where they live to where they work.”

“Not many cities get to redesign their entire transit system from scratch fixing decades of accumulated inefficiencies,” said Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn.

“For years, this great City has struggled with a less-than-great public transportation system,” said City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young. “I would like to thank Gov. Hogan for undertaking this process to improve our transit system and better link city residents to growing job markets throughout the region. I look forward to working with the administration to bring this plan to reality and deliver a system that works for the citizens of Baltimore.”

“The development of a comprehensive, efficient and effective mass transit system is essential to the City of Baltimore’s long-term sustainability, prosperity and relevance,” said Jimmy Rouse, a founding member of Transit Choices.

BaltimoreLink System

The BaltimoreLink system will deliver a unified transit network and includes renaming existing Maryland Transit Administration modes: LocalLink (Local Bus), Light RailLink, Metro SubwayLink and MobilityLink to create an interconnected transit system. The BaltimoreLink system includes several components: CityLink, LocalLink, Light RailLink, Metro SubwayLink, MobilityLink, Express BusLink and BicycleLink. The BaltimoreLink system will debut when the new CityLink high-frequency bus service starts in summer 2017.

Introducing CityLink

A major component of the BaltimoreLink system is CityLink – 12 new, high-frequency, color-coded bus routes that will improve reliability and better connect riders to Amtrak, Commuter Bus, Light RailLink, MARC Train, Metro SubwayLink and other services in Baltimore and the surrounding suburbs. In Baltimore City, new CityLink routes will run every 10 minutes during peak periods and every 15 minutes during the midday. The new CityLink buses will be specially branded and travel on color-coded routes with easy-to-read signage and detailed maps that will make the system easier to use. The CityLink bus routes, Light RailLink and Metro SubwayLink will form an interconnected, one-transfer system. On the new system, a rider will be able to get from any stop to any other stop with only one transfer.

Improving Access to Jobs

Connecting to job markets is an integral part of the plan and will be accomplished through the addition of five new Express BusLink services in June 2016 to improve suburb-to-suburb job connections. The five new routes will improve connections between major suburban job centers, including: Fort Meade, Owings Mills, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, Towson Town Center, Pikesville and White Marsh. Funds also will initiate two new Commuter Bus services from Baltimore, one to Aberdeen Proving Ground and one to Annapolis/Kent Island, and expand existing service from Baltimore to Columbia. Additionally, a new shuttle service will connect the Odenton and Savage MARC Train stations with Fort Meade, one of the largest employers in Maryland. These new and expanded commuter services will start in January 2017.

This $135 million targeted transit investment will improve access to jobs, enhance bicycle and car-sharing access and expand Sunday service on Light RailLink. Other highlights include:

  • 745,000 jobs accessible from the new BaltimoreLink system;
  • 131,000 more jobs now accessible via high-frequency transit compared to existing network, a 36.7 percent increase;
  • 76,000 new jobs accessible with new commuter connections;
  • 200 key intersections equipped with Transit Signal Priority;
  • 83 bicycle rack locations throughout MTA’s rail network;
  • 30 MARC Weekend Bike Car Trips support BicycleLink;
  • 23 targeted car share locations at MTA rail stations in the Baltimore region;
  • 12 CityLink high-frequency, color-coded bus routes serving Downtown Baltimore;
  • 10 more hours of Sunday Light RailLink service (6:00 AM to Midnight);
  • 9 New/Enhanced Baltimore Regional Job Connections to: Aberdeen, Annapolis, Baltimore City, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, Columbia, Fort Meade, Kent Island, Owings Mills, Towson & White Marsh; and
  • 6 Transit Hubs at Metro SubwayLink, MARC, Light RailLink and CityLink.

Delivering Efficient Transit

To increase speed, efficiency and reliability of transit in Baltimore, the plan includes the following targeted investments:

  • Transitways - east-west and north-south dedicated bus lanes to provide efficient, high-speed travel through downtown Baltimore;
  • Transit Signal Priority - technology installed on all 200 CityLink buses and 200 key intersections throughout the city to increase reliability and speed by holding green lights longer or shortening red lights; and
  • Transit Hubs – construction of at least six multi-modal facilities throughout Baltimore to improve transit connectivity, and pedestrian and bicycle access. Transit Hub sites include: West Baltimore MARC Station, Penn North Metro Station, Johns Hopkins Bayview and Penn Station.

Improving Transit Now

As a down payment on the massive improvements coming in the months and years ahead, the Governor also announced enhanced service for West Baltimore residents on the QuickBus 40 starting Sunday, October 25. The enhanced service will increase frequency and reliability on the line between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid in Baltimore County and City Hall in Baltimore City. Additionally, beginning on Saturday, October, 31, MTA will make a third bike car available for MARC weekend trains. As a result, all 30 MARC weekend train trips on the Penn Line now will be equipped with bicycle access.

Master Plan Timeline

The master transit plan announced today begins with the enhanced service for West Baltimore residents, and the entire plan could be fully implemented by June 2017. The MTA will immediately begin an extensive public outreach effort to educate citizens on the elements of the plan and seek their feedback and input. Public workshops will begin in November and continue before the June 2016 launch of the new Express BusLink service. Extensive public outreach efforts also will continue before the June 2017 launch of CityLink and the completely redesigned LocalLink Bus network.