What Is BaltimoreLink?
The BaltimoreLink system will deliver a unified transit network and includes renaming existing Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) modes: LocalLink (Local Bus), Express BusLink, Light RailLink, Metro SubwayLink, and MobilityLink. Other key elements of the BaltimoreLink system include dedicated bus lanes, transfer facilities, and transit signal priority.
A major component of the BaltimoreLink system is CityLink – new, high-frequency, color-coded bus routes that will improve reliability and better connect riders to Metro SubwayLink, Light RailLink, MARC Train, Commuter Bus, Amtrak, and other services in the Baltimore region. In Baltimore City, CityLink routes will run every 10 minutes during peak periods and every 15 minutes during the midday. CityLink buses will be specially-branded and color-coded by route, with easy-to-read signage and detailed maps that will make the system easier to use. The CityLink bus routes, Light RailLink, and Metro SubwayLink will form an interconnected, one-transfer system: on these three modes, a rider will be able to get from any stop to any other stop with only one transfer.
The new system will provide more people access to jobs and will greatly increase the number of jobs accessible via high-frequency transit compared to the existing network. Many more people will have access to high-frequency transit (15 minute frequency or better) compared to the existing network, and the number of people who have access to any transit at all will also increase. The MTA is developing metrics to analyze the BaltimoreLink system; these metrics will be published on this website as they become available.
Please read more to learn about this comprehensive plan. We are currently making many revisions to the materials below in order to incorporate feedback from our public outreach period of Winter 2015-2016. The materials will be updated by Summer 2016.
Click on Map to see how CityLink transforms downtown bus service.
How was BaltimoreLink Developed?
This comprehensive plan was developed to fix Baltimore’s broken transit system and revolutionize the way people get to where they need to go. It is a modern vision for transit in the city that will deliver a unified system, which residents, businesses, and elected officials have demanded for years.
In order to develop BaltimoreLink, we analyzed and compiled data and feedback from the Bus Network Improvement Project (BNIP). The data from BNIP includes current and projected population and job trends, ridership patterns, and transit route performance. The feedback from BNIP includes significant input received from key stakeholders and the public in Fall 2013.
In 2015, Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn and Maryland Transit Administrator Paul Comfort met with elected officials, city leaders, and other stakeholders to identify their top priorities to improve transit in Baltimore. During these meetings, we heard many of the same concerns we heard under BNIP:
- Improve the bus system.
- It has the most daily riders and it does not work.
- Buses are overcrowded, run too infrequently on key routes and don’t show up on time.
- The transit system is very confusing and not user-friendly.
- The transit system is unreliable and should better link people to jobs, appointments, entertainment and other transit modes.
- The transit system should better serve transit-dependent riders in Baltimore while attracting riders who currently choose to drive because they cannot rely on transit.
This feedback provided a strong foundation to create the draft BaltimoreLink plan that was released in October 2015. After the plan was released, MTA staff met with elected officials, city leaders, Baltimore residents, and other stakeholders to answer questions, identify concerns, and gather additional feedback.
Public workshops on the draft plan began in November 2015 and continued through January 2016. In March 2016 the MTA held public hearings on one modified Express Bus route and three new Express BusLink routes – the first BaltimoreLink routes to be implemented!
We’re not done listening! Beginning in Summer 2016, we will undertake extensive public outreach to educate citizens and other stakeholders on BaltimoreLink elements and seek their input on additional changes.
- October 2015: Plan Announcement; QuickBus 40 Service Enhancements; MARC Bike Car
- November 2015 – January 2016 Public Workshops; Online Engagement
- March 2016: Express BusLink Hearings
- June 2016: Express BusLink Service Launched
- August 2016 – November 2017: public workshops and hearings
- January 2017: Implementation of BicycleLink, Commuter Bus and Fort Meade Connections
- January - June 2017: Public Education
- June 2017: BaltimoreLink Full Project Implementation Begins
For Full Timeline graphic, see Program Downloads Tab
Connections to jobs, an integral part of BaltimoreLink, will be accomplished in part through the addition of three new and one modified Express BusLink routes in June 2016. The four routes will improve connections between major suburban job centers including Owings Mills, Woodlawn, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, Towson, Pikesville, and White Marsh.
A new Commuter Bus from Baltimore to Annapolis/Kent Island will also be implemented, and existing commuter service from Baltimore to Columbia and to Aberdeen Proving Ground will be expanded. Additionally, a new shuttle will connect the Odenton and Savage MARC Train stations with Fort Meade, one of the largest employers in Maryland. These new and expanded Commuter Bus services will be implemented throughout the Fall of 2016 and Spring of 2017.
In addition to the new and improved Express BusLink and Commuter Bus routes, job accessibility will be improved by restructuring the local bus network into a new system built on a backbone of high-frequency, color-coded CityLink routes – click the Network Redesign tab below to learn more.
Download a PDF of the October 2015 Job Centers map
Our redesigned transit network is built on a backbone of 12 high-frequency, color-coded CityLink bus routes. We've created a more efficient bus network by implementing three levels of bus service:
CityLink: These 12 high-frequency bus routes will connect Amtrak, Commuter Bus, Light Rail, MARC Train, Metro Subway and other services into one integrated network.
LocalLink: These local buses fill in the gaps to provide full-system access and connectivity to neighborhoods and communities.
ExpressBusLink: These express buses provide longer-distance, commuter-oriented trips.
The new CityLink service will create a unified system that provides the missing link to connect Amtrak, Commuter Bus, Light Rail, Local Bus, MARC Train, Metro Subway and other services into one integrated network.
CityLink (October 2015) - 12 New High-Frequency, Color-Coded Bus Routes
- Enables one transfer to reach all stops on the CityLink, Light RailLink and Metro SubwayLink systems
- Relies on a solid, high-frequency trunk network that will provide service along major arterials
- Creates an interconnected downtown grid to provide more options for more residents to more opportunities
- Incorporates new, color-coded routing and distinct bus branding to move towards a more unified, multi-modal system that is easy to understand
In March 2016, MTA is hosted a series of public hearings to collect comments on proposals to implement three new and one modified Express BusLink routes. The new service is proposed to greatly improve suburb-to-suburb connectivity.. The recommended Express BusLink Routes 102, 106 and 107 will provide significantly faster connections between BWI, Old Court, Owings Mills, Security Square Mall, Towson and White Marsh without the necessity of traveling through downtown Baltimore. The recommended modification to the 150 route will directly connect Columbia and Harbor East.
• Express BusLink 102 will provide all-day and Saturday bi-directional express service between the White Marsh and Towson.
• Express BusLink 106 will provide all-day, bi-directional service between Towson, Pikesville and the Owings Mills Metro Subway Station.
• Express BusLink 107 will provide bi-directional express service between Old Court Metro Subway Station and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport/BWI Rail Station.
• Express BusLink 150 will provide bi-directional express service between the Columbia, downtown Baltimore and Harbor East.
Enhanced Light Rail and Commuter Bus Service
Light RailLink Sunday hours will expand from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. to 6 a.m.-midnight. The Howard Street Improvement Project also will be implemented to increase rider and pedestrian safety. Light RailLink audible and visual safety alerts will be installed at 16 intersections in the Central Business District to alert patrons when a train is approaching.
Commuter Bus New and enhanced “reverse-commute” routes will connect Baltimore City residents to regional employers.
- New service between Baltimore and Aberdeen
- New service between Baltimore and Annapolis/Kent Island
- Enhanced service between Baltimore and Columbia
Enhanced Quick Bus 40 Service
As a down payment on the massive improvements coming in the months and years ahead, the Governor announced enhanced service for West Baltimore residents on the QuickBus 40. The enhanced service increases frequency and reliability on the line between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid in Baltimore County and City Hall in Baltimore City. Amenities include the installation of new shelters and new colored destination signs on buses. Dedicated staff work to keep the buses clean and well maintained.
Transporting our children to and from school safely is one of the most important services we provide. MTA currently serves 33 Baltimore City Public Schools and the BaltimoreLink plan ensures that 100% of schools that receive transit service today will still have transit service once the plan goes into effect.
Maps detailing transit service to/from Baltimore City Public Schools will be added once the BaltimoreLink plan is finalized.
New transit hub investments will accommodate bus bays, new shelters, improved transfer pathways, wayfinding, improved pedestrian and bike access as well as other passenger amenities at a variety of locations, including:
- West Baltimore MARC Station
- Penn Station
- Penn North Metro Station
- Johns Hopkins Bayview
- Lexington Market
- Broadway North (Aisquith and Harford/Broadway and North Avenue)
Transit Signal Priority
Transit Signal Priority reduces dwell time at traffic signals for transit vehicles by holding green lights longer or shortening red lights to expedite travel through intersections. This helps to shorten travel times, improve schedule adherence and increase the reliability and speed of the entire bus system. Transit Signal Priority can be implemented at individual intersections or across corridors or entire street systems.
Dedicated Bus Lanes
Capital funding to support the planning and design of north-south and east-west dedicated bus lanes to provide efficient, high-speed through-town movement. These would complement the currently existing bus-only lanes on Lombard and Pratt streets.
Bus-only lanes have been shown to minimize the delays associated with auto traffic, particularly during rush hours. These lanes offer safety and improved reliability, speed and on-time performance of public transit vehicles.
Signs and Maps
- Improve bus stop signage and reduce clutter by standardizing signage for stops shared by multiple transit providers
- Provide the right information at the right locations to make transit decisions convenient and easy
Last Mile Connections
To improve first-mile and last-mile access from transit, MTA will partner with Baltimore City to install bike-share docks at targeted MARC Train, Light RailLink and Metro SubwayLink stations. In addition, there will be new bike racks installed at every MARC, Light RailLink and Metro SubwayLink station in Maryland. A new MARC Bike Car will be put into operation in order to provide a biking option for every Penn Line weekend train. Additionally, funding to support Charm City Circulator service will be implemented in coordination with new MTA CityLink routes.
Safe, Secure, CleanMore transit police will be hired and placed on and around transit to deter crime and help riders feel more secure when riding public transportation. New initiatives to reduce trash, eating and drinking on MTA vehicles will be implemented, with enhanced MTA oversight to ensure that vehicles are kept clean.
BaltimoreLink In the News
October 21, 2015 The Maryland Daily Record: Hogan to make transportation announcement in Baltimore
October 21, 2015 The Associated Press: Maryland governor to make transportation announcement
October 22, 2015 The Baltimore Business Journal: Larry Hogan announces $135M transit plan, revamped bus routes for Baltimore
October 22, 2015 The Baltimore Sun: Gov. Hogan unveils $135 million plan to improve Baltimore bus system
October 22, 2015 The Baltimore Sun: State officials reaction to Gov. Hogan’s $135 million bus plan
October 22, 2015 The Baltimore Sun: CityLink System Map
October 22, 2015 The Maryland Daily Record: Hogan unveils $135M plan to overhaul city’s bus, transit service
October 22, 2015 The Baltimore Business Journal: How Larry Hogan’s $135 million bus improvement plan will be paid for
October 22, 2015 The Baltimore Business Journal: Here are the bus routes Larry Hogan just unveiled
October 22, 2015 WBAL TV: Maryland governor announces $135M Baltimore transit plan
October 22, 2015 WBAL NewsRadio 1090: Hogan announces new transit plan for Baltimore City
October 22, 2015 WMAR: Hogan announces ‘transformative’ changes to Baltimore transit system
October 22, 2015 Technically Baltimore: What’s in the new Baltimore bus plan for the city’s tech sector
October 22, 2015 Law360: Md. unveils $135M plan to redesign Baltimore transit
October 22, 2015 The Baltimore Sun: Editorial Hogan’s modest transit makeover
October 22, 2015 BikeMore: Baltimore Link is Good News for Bikes
October 22, 2015 City Paper: The BaltimoreLink sounds a lot like the Bus Network Improvement Project
October 22, 2015 Capital News Service: New Mass Transit Plan For Baltimore Focuses On Rerouting Buses
October 23, 2015 The Baltimore Business Journal: Where does the Charm City Circulator fit into Larry Hogan’s bus plan?
October 23, 2015 The Baltimore Business Journal: Greater Baltimore bus overhaul will happen in 3 phases
October 25, 2015 The Maryland Reporter: Rascovar on Hogan’s hopes for bus transit
October 26, 2015 The Frederick News-Post: Editorial, Bus to the future?
October 27, 2015 The Baltimore Business Journal: Hogan will have to work with city to meet aggressive bus timeline
October 27, 2015 The Capital Gazette: Editorial, Hogan makes a smart move on mass transit
October 27, 2015 The Baltimore Business Journal: Five days after Hogan's bus plan, local leaders get their own transit recommendations
November 4, 2015 PanAm Post: Baltimore’s new no-frills bus system is public transport at its best
November 4, 2015 The Afro - MTA to Hold Public Workshop on Transit Improvement Plan
November 5, 2015 Capital News Service: Officials With New BaltimoreLink Bus System Host Public Meetings
November 8, 2017 WBAL Radio – Maryland’s News This Week
November 11, 2015 Maryland Reporter: Analyzing the proposed BaltimoreLink transit plan and its effect on area transit
November 12, 2015 Baltimore Sun: Some riders aghast at Hogan's proposed bus changes
November 22, 2015 WJZ TV: On Time
November 23, 2015 WBAL TV: Sunday Morning Q & A
November 25, 2015 City Paper: Hot Fudge Wednesdays: Ride with every color of the rainbow
November 25, 2015 The City Paper: Round and round: Riders weigh in on BaltimoreLink plan
January 7, 2016 WMAR MTA riders say proposed system overhaul has flaws, gaps and inconveniences
In March 2016 the MTA held six public hearings to provide interested persons the opportunity to comment on proposed Express BusLink service and changes to existing Express Bus service. For more information on these public hearings, please visit the Public Hearings page.
From November 2015 to January 2016 the MTA held thirteen public workshops to solicit comments and suggestions from interested persons on proposed BaltimoreLink service. For more information on the public workshops, please visit the Public Workshops page.
On May 4, 2016 the MTA held an informational meeting to present plans for the proposed transfer facility at the West Baltimore MARC station.More information.
Program Downloads and Links
- BaltimoreLink Brochure (October 2015)
- PDF System Map
- PDF Downtown Map (October 2015)
- BaltimoreLink Timeline
- PDF Job Centers Map (October 2015)
- QuickBus 40 Enhanced Service
- Route sheets (October 2015)
- Route Sheets Key (October 2015)
- Accessible CityLink Route Information (October 2015)
- Accessible LocalLink Route Information (October 2015)
- October 2015 MTA Press Release
- BaltimoreLink Book (October 2015) (Large PDF document that includes Maps, Timeline, Route Information, and Handouts)
- October 2015 Governor's Press Release
- BNIP Data