Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Big changes are in store for Howard Transit, the fleet of green buses currently representing the totality of our county’s internal public transportation system. Well, big might be overstating it. There is, after all, only so much you can do with an annual budget of $4.9 million.

We’re not changing one route; we’re changing almost every route,” said Carl Balser, transportation chief at the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning.

If a proposed overhaul meets public approval, the perennial complaints from riders about long wait times and areas that don’t have service might be abated, he said.

The changes would stagger arrival times, reroute six lines and create a new line. It’s the largest overhaul in a decade, Balser said.

The bus system has evolved, and rather than continuing to modify the lines, officials said the entire system needed to be reworked.

The problem is: riders are still going to have to wait an hour between buses at their local stops (staggering at the Mall, the central bus stop, will reduce transfer wait times there for some). Cutting this time from an hour to 30 minutes, however, would require doubling the budget, which is likely not a priority for a county where practically everyone has a car.


Anonymous said...

Low ridership is due, in large part, to the hour wait scheduling. Long waits + few routes add up to very slow or non-existent growth is ridership. We need a more viable public transit system that is:
as or more convenient that cars,
as or more economical than cars,
as fast as or faster than cars,
as clean or cleaner than cars,
as safe or safer than cars,
as quiet or quieter than cars,
and more respectful of greenspace than cars.
Such a transit system must be included in any 30-year transportation plan. If it isn't, ask why.

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