1. Public hearing on proposed elimination of 921 Commuter Bus Route
Recently the Maryland Mass Transit Administration (MTA) announced plans to eliminate several commuter bus routes and MARC train routes as a result of $25 million in budget cuts. One of the routes on the chopping block is the 921 bus route from Annapolis to the New Carrollton Metro Station near Washington, D.C.
Tomorrow, Thursday November 20th, the MTA will hold a public hearing to receive input on the proposed cuts. The hearing will be from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., and again from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the gymnasium of the Stanton Center at 92 W. Washington Street in Annapolis. Comments may also be sent by email to email@example.com until December 26th.
Elimination of the 921 route is ill-advised for a number of reasons. It is important that people who care about this route speak out. Even if one is not a rider of the 921 route, it benefits us all. Transit is a major part of the solution to avoid increasing gridlock in the future. Even though our national economic crisis may defer plans to expand transit, we need to hold the line and protect our current level of service.
Below is the text of a letter I sent last month to MTA Administrator Paul Wiedefeld shortly after the proposed cuts were announced.
October 21, 20082. Panel discussion on transportation
Mr. Paul Wiedefeld
Maryland Transit Administration
6 Saint Paul Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Re: Proposed cut to MTA 921 Commuter Bus Route
Dear Mr. Wiedefeld:
This letter is to respectfully urge you to withdraw the proposed elimination of the 921 Commuter Bus Route from Annapolis to New Carrollton. Cutting this service now will only put more cars on an already congested Route 50, and will increase household expenses for hundreds of working families already struggling to make ends meet.
The 921 is a mainstay for Annapolis-area commuters and has been for years. As you know, an estimated 42,000 riders rode the bus last year. Ridership has been increasing, fueled in part by the recent rise in gasoline prices. To accommodate this demand, the state has recently been enhancing – not scaling back – its Washington commuter bus service.
Unlike the other two Annapolis to Washington commuter routes (the 922 and the 950), the 921 serves a unique role. As the only commuter route that terminates at the New Carrollton Metrorail Station, it provides a vital service for the unanticipated trip. If a commuter is running late or needs to leave early to pick up a child from school, the 921 enables them to do so. The 921 also is the most efficient of the three routes because it fully empties at New Carrollton. By contrast, the 922 and 950 have multiple stops in D.C. and therefore transport fewer and fewer riders after passengers disembark at each stop.
Commuters to Baltimore are already dealing with the previous administration’s elimination of the 210 route. The last thing we need is to cut back on our Washington D.C. bus service as well. As you seek ways to absorb the state budget cuts, I respectfully urge you to protect the 921 Commuter Bus Route. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Joshua J. Cohen
Councilmember, District Six
ARTMA, the Annapolis Regional Transportation Management Association, will be holding its annual meeting the week after Thanksgiving. I will be one of the panelists for a discussion about applying smart growth principles to a coordinated, multi-modal transportation system to improve mobility and reduce congestion.
The annual meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 4th from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Annapolis. For more information or to register, visit www.artma.org and click on Programs.