Reliable Buses – For Students and All Residents

The Baltimore Brew recently reported on an event held by an organization called Hack Baltimore. The event, known as a Hackathon, focused on ways to use technology to better transport Baltimore City schoolchildren to school.  According to the article, Baltimore’s City’s school system has a $34 million transportation budget but is still unable to effectively transport students to school. Furthermore, 40% of our high school students miss a month or more of school.  A number of innovative ideas came out of the event and several were awarded funding. These included a ride sharing app, an algorithm to determine which students are likely to become homeless and therefore need transportation even if they live outside the city, and ways to incentivize better student behavior on Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) buses.

Since the MTA is a major provider of student transit, a representative from the MTA was in attendance.  This official suggested that the school system consider purchasing bikes for students so that students can get to school “whether the bus comes or not.” This comment is problematic for several reasons. First and foremost, while Baltimore is working to improve its bicycle infrastructure, it is still not up to part with many other cities.  Having schoolchildren ride bikes to school without the proper bike network in place raises some serious safety issues.

But more importantly, we are extremely disappointed that MTA staff have so little faith in their system that they recommend riders use alternative means of transportation.  Such an attitude is unacceptable.  In a given weekday roughly 250,000 MTA riders depend on the bus system to get them where they need to go.  We need the MTA as an agency to stop making excuses and start doing something to improve service.

Unfortunately, the MTA’s track record in this area leaves something to be desired. The MTA has promised real time tracking in one form or another since at least 2006.  But it has not yet been implemented.  The MTA also announced the Bus Network Improvement Project (BNIP) with much fanfare.  BNIP was supposed to include a redesign of our antiquated bus system and other improvements.  However, the agency’s own deadlines have come and gone, with very little being released to the public.

Enough is enough.  Far too many Marylanders are relying upon our buses for the service to be this unreliable.  MTA should take clear steps to focus on improving the service for all transit users, including students, starting with the full release of the BNIP plan.

The following two tabs change content below.
Gregory Friedman

Gregory Friedman

This article was written by Gregory Friedman. Click here to meet our writing team.

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress | Deadline Theme : An AWESEM design