MTA outlines service reductions in response to pandemic

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An MTA CityLink bus. Photo by Scott218, via Wikimedia Commons.

MARC service will be halved, and Metro and light rail service will be reduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) announced today.

The changes will take effect Wednesday, March 18.

After announcing earlier in the day that more than two dozen bus lines would be temporarily shut down, MTA said Tuesday evening that service would remain unchanged so the agency can “work with major employers to ensure core services are met.”

Bus riders are advised to board through the rear door and to pay with something other than cash, such as CharmPass, the CharmCard app or a paper ticket, to avoid contact with the drivers.

Charm City Circulator, the free bus system that runs through the downtown and Central Baltimore corridor, is also advising riders to enter and exit through the rear door. Passengers with disabilities are allowed to use the front door.

Both the light rail and subway will run on Saturday schedules throughout the week. For the light rail, that means southbound service starts at 4:21 a.m. at select stations, with the line making all stops northbound and southbound by 6 a.m. Trains are still scheduled to arrive every 15 minutes.

The last southbound train, which departs from Hunt Valley and runs all the way to Glen Burnie, leaves at 11:15 p.m. And the last northbound trains leaving Glen Burnie and BWI Airport and arriving at Hunt Valley depart at 10:58 p.m. and 11:10 p.m., respectively. See the full Saturday schedule here.

On the subway, eastbound service from Owings Mills and westbound service from Johns Hopkins Hospital will begin at 6:05 a.m. and 6:15 a.m., respectively. The last trains in those directions will leave at midnight 12:02 a.m., respectively. Trains are scheduled to arrive every 15 minutes.

The entrance to the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center from the station at the hospital will be closed at the request of Hopkins, the agency said.

MARC commuter trains will be instituting the “R” schedule, which reduces the number of trips on the Penn Line from 29 to 13 and the number of trips on the Camden Line from 10 to four.

MTA said it would continue providing door-to-door paratransit for people with disabilities so they can make all their medical appointments and take trips to the grocery store or pharmacy, but all other trips are cancelled until further notice.

For more details on how MTA service will be impacted by coronavirus, head here.

This story has been updated.

Brandon Weigel

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