Proposed Fall 2021 Service Adjustments

The Fall 2021 Service Update identifies a number of bus service proposals across our service area as the region continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

RTA is proposing adjustments and modifications to certain routes in order to improve reliability, expand travel options and service connectivity, and decrease transfer times between core routes. If approved, the proposed changes would take effect on or about Sunday, November 7, 2021.

Proposal Background

Over the past year, our region has witnessed significant changes in the employment landscape and our rider’s travel needs. Since winter 2020, RTA has also systematically tracked and measured changes in the reliability of the transit services we provide our community, and found ways we can improve the usefulness of our services while minimally impacting rider travel times. Both are key factors considered in these proposed changes.

The Fall 2021 Service Update largely focuses on better utilizing current resources to make more residential and commercial areas accessible to our services, such as Catonsville, Beltsville, and Muirkirk. Working alongside our partner jurisdictions, considerable attention has been made to maintain hourly frequencies in the network where they exist, but to also better time route arrivals and departures from major locations so that connections and transfers are shorter and more dependable.

Click here to view the entire service proposal as presented to the Central Maryland Transportation and Mobility Commission. (Note that due to operator availability and national employment trends, the decision was made to delay these changes until November, 2021. The proposal originally presented to the Commission was for September 2021.)

Proposal Highlights

Service Enhancements

  • Route 405 and New Route 505
    • The proposal would split route 405 into two routes, to expand RTA service to Catonsville, MD.
    • Local service throughout Ellicott City would exist under a modified route 405 six days a week
    • Service between Columbia, Ellicott City, and Catonsville would operate seven days a week and connect to MDOT MTA services (CityLink Purple, LocalLink 77) in Catonsville
    • Shortens transit commutes from Ellicott City to Catonsville by over two hours
  • Route 301
    • The proposal transfers most of the current route 301 alignment along Contee Rd and Van Dusen Rd to the proposed route 302.
    • Transitions to serving Main Street Laurel on an hourly headway, before and after serving South Laurel Dr via Laurel Bowie Rd
    • Saturday service is discontinued, in lieu of adding more service to route 302 on Sundays.
    • Departures operate at the top of the hour, instead of 25 minutes after the hour, to better connect with other route departures
  • Route 302
    • The proposal transitions route 302 to a unified route pattern that operates seven days a week between Laurel, Muirkirk, Beltsville and Greenbelt
    • Departures operate at the top of the hour, instead of 25 minutes after the hour, to better connect with other route departures
    • Service is removed from select areas with low ridership
    • Beltsville gains five additional days of service, and Old Baltimore Pike / Muirkirk Rd is served daily, instead of only on weekdays
  • Route 502
    • The proposal transfers portions of discontinued route 302 service along Mulberry St and around the Laurel Lakes Shopping Center to route 502
    • Adds additional service to Contee Rd, expanding the number of riders that can travel to/from Maryland City on a single ride
    • Serves the Russett Green Walmart in both directions on weekend pattern, instead of only in the inbound direction toward Laurel Towne Centre

Discontinued Routes

  • Route 402B
    • The proposal would permanently discontinue route 402B (counter-clockwise, Dobbin Center – Lark Brown route)
    • Route 402A (clockwise, Lark Brown – Dobbin Center route) would continue seven days a week and be rebranded as route 402
    • Route 408 also provides riders and alternate service option
    • Route 402B has not operated since March 2020
  • Route 407 (suspended 30-minute service only)

    • The proposal would permanently discontinue the 30-min headway service between Mall in Columbia and Owen Brown Village Center
    • Route 407, as currently operating, would experience no changes; this change only applies to the third vehicle that used to operate between Mall in Columbia and Owen Brown Village Center
    • The 30-minute 407 service has not operated since March 2020

Public Hearing, Comment, and Testimony Period

The public comment period has closed as of 11:59 PM on August 15th, 2021.

The Central Maryland Transportation & Mobility Commission held a hearing on the proposed changes on July 15, and will hold a hearing at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, August 17 to review all comments received by RTA throughout the past two months.

Click here to join the meeting to watch and/or listen.

Click here to view the meeting agenda.

Click here to view the summary of public comments received.