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For Immediate Release:
April 2, 2020

Contact: 
Erin Henson, 410-865-1025

MDOT REMINDS MARYLANDERS TRANSPORTATION IS FOR ESSENTIAL TRAVEL ONLY

Do Your Job by Staying Home so Essential Workers Can Get to Their Jobs Safely
Effective Monday, April 6 – MDOT MTA to Suspend 11 Bus Routes
Experiencing 82% Ridership Decline

(HANOVER, MD) – Supporting Governor Larry Hogan’s Stay-at-Home order, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) today reminds Marylanders to stay home to ensure limited transportation resources are available for essential workers to get to their jobs safely. The only people traveling on Maryland’s roadways and using transit should be essential employees and citizens accessing food, medicine or key supplies. Keeping the transportation network clear for essential travelers allows for social distancing that can save lives. These efforts are critical to keeping MDOT’s own frontline employees safe so they can continue to maintain essential travel that we all depend on. These efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 range include sharing CDC alerts with people traveling to Maryland and focusing transit resources to key routes to get workers to essential businesses and healthcare facilities.

“As the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, we all need to work together to do our part to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and save lives,” said Secretary Greg Slater. “Protecting MDOT employees is critical to Maryland’s response and recovery from this health emergency. Every day, critical healthcare workers use transit to get to work, truckers distribute food across the state, and Port workers and truckers partner to keep the supply chain running and delivering key supplies from ships to local stores.”

In an effort to share CDC info with the traveling public, MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA), MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA), Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Marshall), and the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) are all partnering with the Maryland National Guard to get the CDC’s recent Tri-State Alert on domestic travel from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to travelers coming to Maryland. MDOT is working with the Maryland National Guard, MDTA Police, MDOT MTA Police, BWI Marshall airline personnel and all MDOT partners to distribute this CDC alert and CDC post-travel health guidance at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Marshall), MDTA’s I-95 travel plazas (Chesapeake House and Maryland House), and MDOT MTA MARC stations at Aberdeen, Penn Station, BWI and New Carrollton.

In addition, MDOT SHA and MDTA are displaying CDC messages on the interstate overhead variable message signs near all state border crossings and around BWI Marshall. MDOT also continues to partner with federal, state and local agencies and our private sector partners to disseminate direct messaging to all Marylanders to reinforce the Governor’s Stay-at-Home order. This effort includes phone messaging and pop-up messaging on travel apps such as Waze.

MDOT MTA also will be making the strategic move to reduce bus service on 11 routes on average that have experienced an 82% decline in ridership to ensure transit service is focused on lifeline services for essential travel. Beginning Monday, April 6, in order to more efficiently deploy resources to core bus service, MDOT MTA is temporarily discontinuing all nine peak-hour Express BusLink routes and LocalLink 38 and 92, which primarily serve schools that are now closed. This strategic modification ensures MDOT MTA is operating lifeline service for essential travel only during the COVID-19 emergency to protect employees, customers and the community. MDOT MTA has been coordinating closely with hospitals to ensure these vital transit connections are provided.

“Focusing our transit resources on these critical lifeline routes and limiting these bus services to essential travel is absolutely necessary to save lives,” said Secretary Slater. “I can’t emphasize enough that limiting your travel during COVID-19 is critical to allow safe social distancing and ensure transit capacity is available for those who need it most.”

It is important to highlight the work of our MDOT MTA operators who are on the front lines every day transporting thousands of people across the Baltimore region. MDOT MTA reminds riders to limit the use of the system during the COVID-19 emergency to essential travel only – trips to essential work sites, hospitals, healthcare providers, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, food distribution centers, the homes of family members who need care, and similar destinations.

“By staying home, you're helping limit the spread of COVID-19 and keeping others safe, including our transit colleagues, who are making essential travel possible,” said MDOT MTA Administrator Kevin Quinn. “Employers, bus operators and essential bus riders can all do their part.”

MDOT MTA encourages everyone to promote social distancing:

-  Employers at essential businesses or healthcare facilities are encouraged to stagger shift times so
workers aren’t arriving and leaving work at the same time.

-  Bus operators have been given discretion to limit the number of people on the buses to maintain social distancing.

-  Bus operators may pass bus stops to limit the number of riders on a bus.

-  Essential workers should leave more time to get to work and choose to wait for the next bus with fewer riders.

In mid-March, MDOT MTA instituted rear boarding on all buses in an effort to protect operators and encourage social distancing. In another effort to protect MDOT MTA frontline team members, MDOT MTA has added 12 buses at the four bus divisions to be used as breakrooms so operators can practice social distancing.

DETAILS ON TRANSIT SCHEDULE CHANGES:

The April 6 bus service adjustment is another important step in aligning service with current demand levels. During the week of March 23, overall bus ridership decreased by an average of 55% and ridership on the 11 routes being temporarily discontinued decreased by an average of 82%.

Many of the Express BusLink routes duplicate existing LocalLink service. We encourage riders to evaluate other route options at mta.maryland.gov/trip-planner. Riders needing assistance with trip planning can contact the Transit Information Contact Center from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at 410-539-5000.  Some alternate routes to consider are listed below: 

·        Express BusLink 103 - LocalLink 53, CityLink Green

·        Express BusLink 104 - CityLink Green

·        Express BusLink 105 - CityLink Pink

·        Express BusLink 115 - CityLink Brown

·        Express BusLink 120 - LocalLink 56, CityLink Brown

·        Express BusLink 150 - Commuter Bus 310, MARC Train

·        Express BusLink 154 - LocalLink 54

·        Express BusLink 160 - LocalLink 59, CityLink Orange

·        Express BusLink 164 - LocalLink 67

·        LocalLink 92 – LocalLink 34, 89

This latest schedule change followed changes made in mid-March. On March 17, MDOT MTA implemented its first temporary service modifications, affecting schedule adjustments on Light Rail, Metro Subway, Commuter Bus and MARC Train, in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to match service levels with a reduced demand.

MDOT MTA will continue to evaluate operations and ridership data to determine whether additional temporary service adjustments are needed. A complete list of service modifications and other steps MDOT MTA is taking to protect our riders and operators, and to maximize efficiency, is available at www.mta.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

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