Census shows transit lags in Baltimore County
Baltimore County slipped from fourth to a tie for fifth place in Maryland in the percentage of workers who use public transit to get to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The bureau's 2005-2009 American Community Survey shows that fast-growing Charles County jumped past Baltimore County to come in No. 4 among Maryland jurisdictions in transit use. Transit use there more than doubled from 2.4 percent in the 2000 Census to 6.2 percent in the more recent survey -- likely reflecting a sharp increase in the number of commuter buses serving the Southern Maryland County.
Baltimore County, meanwhile, slipped from 4 percent transit use in the 2000 Census to 3.9 percent in the survey. That put it in a tie with Howard County, where transit use grew from 2.5 percent in 2000. Baltimore County, parts of which are served by the Maryland Transit Administration, is the largest jurisdiction in the state without a locally operated bus system.
The same survey showed that Maryland ranks fifth among the states -- or sixth if the District of Columbia is included -- in transit use at 8.7 percent of the population. In 2000, the state's percentage stood at 7.2 percent.
Not surprisingly, the top jurisdictions in Maryland in transit use are Baltimore, at 18.6 percent, Prince George's County (17.4 percent) and Montgomery County (15 percent). The two suburban Washington counties are served by that region's extensive Metro subway system.
But Baltimore's percentage of transit use is a slip from its 2000 Census level of 19.5 percent, while both of the Washington area counties showed gains. Prince George's, which had been at 11.9 percent, moved into second place, while Montgomery, where 12.6 percent used transit in 2000, fell to third.
The Baltimore suburbs show a generally low level of transit use compared with the Washington region. Anne Arundel County stood at 3 percent, up from 2.5 percent. Harford increased from 1 percent to 1.6 percent. Carroll, where political opposition to public transit is strong, fell from 1.3 percent in 2000 to 0.8 percent.
Nationally, the leader in transit use is the District of Columbia at 37.1 percent. The top states are New York (26.5 percent), New Jersey (10.4), Massachusetts (9), Illinois (8.8) and Maryland.