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January 5, 2011

Greyhound launches service for rural Maryland

Greyhound and the Maryland Transit Administration have launched a new service connecting communities in Northeastern Maryland and Delaware with the intercity bus company's national network with prices of $21 a ride or less.

The new Baltimore-Wimington line is the first of what could be several short-haul intercity bus lines serving rural Maryland, including routes in Western Maryland and the  Eastern Shore, said MTA spokesman Terry Owens.

The first phase of the Greyhound Connect program, which made its debut this week with promotional fares of $1 through Monday, is part of the MTA's Rural Intercity Bus Program. It will serve Baltimore, White Marsh, Aberdeen, Edgewood, Elkton, Perryville and North East in Maryland as well as Newark and Wilmington in Delaware. Buses will run once a day, 7 days a week in each direction and will connect with the national Greyhound network at stations in Aberdeen and Baltimore.

According to  Greyhound, the program was launched  after a needs  assessment by the state that identified regions of Maryland that now lack "daily, scheduled and affordable" transportation. The service will be underwritten by a grant by the Federal Transit Administration for the next 18 months. Greyhound will contribute by linking the service to its online ticketing system.

Maureen Richmond, a spokeswoman for Greyhound, said the Northeastern Maryland service could be a first step toward extending bus service to other rural areas of the state. She said Maryland officials are looking into the idea.

"I think that's something they're definitely taking a close look at," she said.

Richmond provided the following timetable:

FROM WILMINGTON TO BALTIMORE
Wilmington, DE ET 14:10
Newark , DE  14:40
Elkton , MD 14:55
Northeast 15:15
Perryville 15:35
Aberdeen 15:50
Edgewood 16:05
White Marsh Station 16:20
Baltimore, MD ET 16:40

FROM BALTIMORE TO WILMINGTON
Baltimore, MD ET 11:15
White Marsh Station 11:35
Edgewood 11:50
Aberdeen  12:10
Perryville 12:25
Northeast 12:40
Elkton  13:00
Newark ,DE  13:15
Wilmington, DE ET 13:45

Tickets can be purchased online at www.greyhound.com or 800-231-2222.

Posted by Michael Dresser at 11:05 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: On the roads
        

Comments

If you don't care about schedule, then hop aboard. The once daily northbound departure from Baltimore is just before Noon, and the southbound trips are in the late afternoon. But the issue still remains that the Baltimore station is well out of the way of... well, just about anything. Not linked to light rail, not linked to train or subway, just kind of tucked in the I-95 - Russel St "armpit" by the water. By contrast, the Commuter Bus 420 swings down the Rt. 40 corridor from Havre de Grace to Baltimore and back 4-5 times per day M-F, and loops you through downtown, hitting transit connections along the way. To cap it off, you could buy a 10-trip pass on the commuter bus for about the cost of a one-way. Heck, even if you needed a ride on the weekend, Amtrak is a better, more frequent and less expensive bet inside Maryland, with local bus services like Harford Transit and DART getting folks to stations at Aberdeen and Newark, DE.

Once upon a time there was a way to get to places like this easily -- it was called a train. It's ironic that buses are now being used to try and replicate regional transportation that was used to be (better) handled by local/regional rail service -- trains don't get caught in traffic jams, stop running because of an inch of snow on the roads, and aren't nearly as subject to the ups and downs of fuel prices.

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About Michael Dresser
Michael Dresser has been an editor, reporter and columnist with The Sun longer than Baltimore's had a subway. He's covered retailing, telecommunications, state politics and wine. Since 2004, he's been The Sun's transportation writer. He lives in Ellicott City with his wife and travel companion, Cindy.

His Getting There column appears on Mondays. Mike's blog will be a forum for all who are interested in highways, transit and other transportation issues affecting Baltimore, Maryland and the region.
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