Pro-Mass Transit Activists Plan Protests of MTA Rate Increases

The Ehrlich administration plans to raise transit fares from $1.35 to $1.60 (with monthly passes going up to $64, and day passes to $3.50) on buses, light rail and subway. MARC round trip train fares to Washington will be increased by an average of 36%, neighborhood shuttle fares will go from 50 cents to $1.00, and fares for seniors and those who are disabled will go up from 45 cents to 55 cents.

In addition to raising fares, the MTA will cut services. For example, 12 bus lines will be cut (including the #86, #210, #731), as well as three runs on the Camden and Brunswick MARC lines. Further, neighborhood shuttles will come half as often—every 34 minutes, not every 17.

Mass transit advocates are not taking these changes sitting down. On Tuesday, May 20, from 5:30-7:00 p.m., they will be testifying at a public hearing at the State Office Building’s auditorium at 300 W. Preston Street. (At the State Center Metro and Cultural Center Light Rail stations, and on the #5, 10, 14, 19, 21, 27, & 91 and near the #3 & 11 bus lines—at least for now.)

Transit fares were last raised in 1996, but the gas tax (which funds mass transit) has not been raised since 1992.

Though the Maryland legislature approved a smaller fare increase this winter, Transportation Secretary Bob Flanagan is seeking to override the legislature and charge the higher fares listed above.

Contact Transportation Secretary Bob Flanagan at (410) 865-1000 or email him at RFlanagan@MDOT.state.MD.US

For more information about upcoming hearings about mass transit, call Caroline Harmon at 410-539-1369 x236 or email CarolineH@CPHABaltimore.org. Citizens Planning and Housing Assocition (CPHA) sponsors a subgroup called Transit Riders League of Metro Baltimore.

Other upcoming fare hearings in the Baltimore region include:

Anne Arundel County, Wednesday, May 21, Pascal Senior Center Auditorium, 125 Dorsey Road, Glen Burnie, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Anne Arundel County, Thursday, May 22, Annapolis Library, 1410 West Street, Annapolis, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Baltimore County, Tuesday, May 20, Bykota Senior Center, 611 Central Avenue, Towson, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Baltimore County, Tuesday, May 20, Woodlawn Community Center, 2120 Gwynn Oak Avenue, Woodlawn, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Baltimore County, Tuesday, May 27, North Point Library, 1716 Merritt Blvd., Essex, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Harford County, Tuesday, May 27, Aberdeen Senior Center, Multi-Purpose Room, Franklin Street, Aberdeen, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Harford County, Wednesday, May 28, Ring Factory Elem. School Cafeteria, 1400 Emmorton Road, Bel Air, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Howard County, Thursday, May 22, East Columbia Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 21, Union Station, Starlight Room, Gate B, 50 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., Noon - 1:30 p.m.

Go to MTAMaryland.com or call 410-539-5000 for details on hearings.

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This story was published on May 13, 2003.