[QOTW] Baltimore Link or Baltimore Disconnect?: Do You Think the M.T.A.'s New Transit Makeover Is Doing More Harm Than Good? [Written by Shae McCoy]

Image Credit: The Baltimore Sun

How are you getting around nowadays?

Frustration brews as the Maryland Transit Administration transitions into the BaltimoreLink. You might have seen the subliminal’s around the city about the BaltimoreLink and didn’t pay it much attention. It seems like every week Baltimore is coming up with some new development, word to gentrification. You may have begun to hear about this transition back when posters were being hung on the buses with information about new fare rates.  A hike in prices usually indicates an upcoming change or development.

As time progressed, we started seeing signs on the subway, light rail, and even the bus designs gradually started to change. BaltimoreLink was coming and there was nothing that we could do about it. The goal of this change is to provide a more reliable bus system, but has it?

Let’s fast forward to June 18th when the change fully took place. M.T.A. was courteous to let commuters ride free until the end of June. Commuters have not been happy about the shift as it includes more bus rides than usual. Places that normally required one bus ride to get there, now have at least 1 or 2 transfer points. The dialogue between the bus drivers and the commuters is short to none. Most drivers were confused about their own routes and therefore could not answer the questions that commuters had. This indeed has been causing confusion and a lot of people at just wishing bus routes were not tampered with.  This first week of BaltimoreLink sparked a lot of conversation across the web as commuters expressed how they either were late to work a few times, lost, or just frustrated. Have you had to ride the BaltimoreLink? Has it caused any inconvenience for you? Do you think that this change is something you can get used to if you are a commuter?

12 thoughts on “[QOTW] Baltimore Link or Baltimore Disconnect?: Do You Think the M.T.A.'s New Transit Makeover Is Doing More Harm Than Good? [Written by Shae McCoy]

  1. I’ll keep it kind of short. You are very wrong stating: “there was nothing we can do about it.” While Baltimore Link was thrust upon MTA by our Governor with very little time to complete, there were several meetings and the network went through a lot of iterations. Consistently, we daw turn outs of 10-15 people, most of which, were the same bus enthusiasts. When we did meet with neighborhood associations and businesses, the routes were largely approved of, and we made several changes when constructive feedback was given. I always use the same example when people complain: Greenspring Station was omitted from the network and no one said a word until the network was finalized. But, once we heard the comments we did create trips at the last minute to serve it.

    There are problems, and we expected some issues to arrive. What we found is that we are not offerring enough service in the morning. We did change a practice when scheduling trips, we normally schedule for the number of bus operator positions there are; however, we never have that number of actual operators. As a result, several runs, operator schedules, normally go without being picked meaning missing service. Thus time, we scheduled to the number of operators we actually have. Which means, less trips than normal…but, we are now analyzing where we ate light and adding trips where needed. Mainly on the Pink, Orange, and Blue routes.

    I know people hate change, but according to these same people, the old service sucked. Plus, Baltimores demographics have changed. Its eaay to admit people are moving to the outskirts of the city bc the city is losing homes to ‘gentrification.’ All I ask is that people give it a chance and please give constructive feedback so that it can improve. Its here, from the looks of it, it isn’t changing. But please, do not insinuate that its nothing you can do about it. Black people have that issue, conspiracy theories and all talk, but no action and just allowing things to happen to them and not being involved. This is why our neighborhoods are being ‘gentrified’.

    One more thing, the fare increase was not related to this change. 2 years go, MD legislation raised the fares and passed a bill that said it will go up every 2 years to match inflation. It is law, until it is not…

    The upcoming gubernatorial race should be a good one. PGs county exec is running and trust Baltimore Link will be a big knock against Hogan. Plus, this guy has said he’ll reinstate the Red Line. Lets see if these Baltimore Link haters make it to the polls and elect MDs first black governor…or sit back and allow change to elude us once again.

      1. I am sure you know the power of prose. Statements like that incite a certain response.

        I apologize for misinterpreting your statement.

  2. Glad I have a car now but hope I never have to ride it ever again. I hate when they keep changing things and raising bus fare and the buses are probably still late and still smelling of urine and such. Smh

  3. They would do this when theirs more than alot of killings in this city. Why keep your elders, disabled, and women and children out longer than they have to be. I see everybody pointing finger about who should have attended the meeting. Post the meeting dates perhaps. It’s an huge inconvenience period. Its unsafe. Its unnecessary. What happened to testing something before the final decision is made. One that’s going to effect the daily lives of this city. I believe they just do shit because they can. Theirs no good in this decision. They’ll see.

  4. Sparkle:

    People complained to the tune of about 100 complaints a day about the old system. They said they wanted a change. Here is change…and again, not at all perfect but work with MTA. Give real actual criticism. You can’t say “it doesn’t work” bc thats the same thing we heard about the previous system. Last night I was at the town hall meeting that Local 1300 gave and people just yelled and complained. I asked a few people for real issues they were having, I recieved 1 real answer. The rest were “change it back” or “just fix it”. Or the extra special girl that told me her 2 bus trip turned to 4. I politely asked if she’d like a better itinerary and she told me to mind my business. Now, the one guy who told me the 78 (former 20) didn’t work for him will get his issue some attention and a temp fix until the Fall sched change when it becomes permanent. The rest will continue to preach to the choir instead of helping to make the system work.

    As it sounds, I don’t run MTA but I do take pride in my work. I don’t take it personal bc I understand human nature, but I do enjoy interacting and helping whenever possible. While I was a transit ambassador last week I loved talking to people. Even the people who spoke to me as though I wasn’t human because I know it isn’t personal.

    I just hope people realize Baltimore Link is here to stay…but it is malleable. Its dynamic, we will improve with or without their help…its just quicker and better with their help.

    I also hope this gets people to the polls. I believe Local 1300 President McClure has an ulterior motive that is political, but I hope it works bc this gubernatorial election will be important. I also hope he is taking account that empowering these people with anger may hurt the first MTA employees they see…the bus operators that pay for his representation through union dues. This is a slippery slope he’s climbing bc in the end, it doesn’t benefit the people he should be representing.

  5. I catch number 76 bus, old 35 UMBC white marsh route. According to the bus schedule andbus signs posted, going eastbound bus should turn to Calvert street from Pratt until Wednesday the 28 th, but from the 29 th, buses are going straight down to Pratt then turn in Gay Street to go to city hall. I have to get off infront if the police station and walk 5 blocks down to get yo my work . And walking through Baltimore street from Gay street, I don’t feel safe if you know the neighborhood. The people who has to transfer to go to White marsh or catch the subway has to walk 4 blocks to get to these places. Often there are lot of elderly people on this bus, now they are struggling to get a connection . It was working fine as it was turning on Calvert, when I call MTA , they told me it has been changed since Monday, but don’t know why. When the schools open in September and bad weather hits, this is really going to be an issue. Before it becomes permanent please someone from MTA ride this bus route and see it for yourself .

    1. The reason it changed was because it was a dangerous turn from Calvert to Lexington due to parked cars, delivery vehicles and walking traffic.

      If you feel unsafe walking Baltimore St, you should alight on Pratt & Calvert, perhaps, and walk up Calvert. I’m not sure of your final destination.

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