Mass Transit Alternatives for Columbians

Saturday April 11, 2009

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I am blogging for the University of Baltimore weekly until the beginning of May. This morning’s post, about mass transit in downtown Baltimore, ought to strike a chord right here in Columbia.

I work in downtown DC and when my wife and I were looking to purchase a home, my mantra was “on the bus route.” I now pick up the MTA’s 995 line at the corner of Tamar and Sweetwind, which is a two minute walk from my home:

Columbia has suffered service cuts at the hands of the MTA with the 310/311 route to Baltimore almost killed and reductions on the 995 and 929 to DC. The cuts to DC have taken their toll. When fuel prices jumped, so did ridership, but ridership did not come back down when fuel prices fell. And now many runs to DC are at capacity and bus drivers are turning away people at the Broken Land Park and Ride, forcing them back into their cars.

Columbians need better mass transit alternatives. The Columbia Association provided the ColumBus service until the late 1990s, when Howard Transit took over the service. Though the CA may not be able to provide mass transit, it is within Columbia Council’s purview to advocate for better mass transit and for service increases from Howard County and the MTA. When MTA cut service earlier this year, the Columbia Council was silent and took no stand. This will change if I am elected.