Photo via MTA

In an effort to get butts in the seats and show off its expanding, revitalized city bus system, the state is offering two weeks of free bus, light rail and Metro rides in Baltimore starting June 18.

The promo coincides with the rollout of BaltimoreLink, Gov. Larry Hogan’s attempt at connecting Baltimore’s fragmented — or in many neighborhoods, nascent – bus system that doesn’t involve using a crimson-colored train line to connect East and West Baltimore.

“We encourage everyone to try our new system by riding free of charge for the first two weeks,” said MTA Administrator and CEO Paul Comfort in a statement. “This new system will be a dramatic improvement that will give residents choices to leave their cars at home and ease congestion on our streets.”

BaltimoreLink will include 12 color-coded lines designed to connect to light rail, subway and MARC train stops, along with new time-based technology designed to hold green lights for approaching buses.

The Maryland Transit Administration also replaced thousands of signs, added bike lanes, moved hundreds of stops and expanded its commuter bus lines and added more bus lanes downtown to make it all run more smoothly and increase mobility for non-driving residents.

The official launch will be June 18. In addition to offering free rides to all for two weeks thereafter, the MTA will be selling monthly CharmCard passes and the monthly pass for June half-off from May 25 through June 24.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...

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