BALTIMORE — In the hopes of providing more and better information to transit riders, the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration has launched a new webpage that provides data on performance improvements for the system.
“An integral part of MDOT MTA’s mission is the ability to deliver service on time,” said MDOT MTA Administrator Kevin Quinn. “The goal of this new webpage is to increase transparency with our riders, ensure accountability for our agency and demonstrate the impacts of technology improvements on our overall system.”
MDOT MTA has been utilizing real-time GPS data as a tool to monitor service, though the entire system is not equipped to provide real-time data for all buses. Riders can utilize the new Transit app for more up to date information on arrivals and departures throughout the system. The app is designed to relay real-time data, but since the system cannot provide that for every vehicle it uses, some of the information shared on the app is based on previous schedule information or projections.
Another recent technological improvement is the CharmPass Mobile Ticketing app, allowing riders to purchase single-ride tickets for the Baltimore Link system, covering bus, Light Rail, and Metro Subway trips, including a 90-minute transfer window within the system and across transit modes. So far the app has been downloaded 95,000 times since it was introduced in September of 2018, MDOT MTA said.
Since new bus schedules were implemented on Feb. 3, the system reported an on-time performance rates “across the core bus system rise to a high of 71.8 percent for March. This compares to last year’s 68.9 percent and the pre-BaltimoreLink OTP rate of 59.5 percent.”
In addition to schedule modifications and the new website, the agency has expanded dedicated bus lanes, which MDOT MTA said have contributed to a 9 percent time savings in downtown and a 31 percent time savings in other areas. A 22 percent time savings was created by giving buses transit signal priority.
“The Transportation Alliance is very pleased that MTA has released an on-time performance dashboard for its buses,” read a statement from Brian O’Malley, the President and CEO of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, a transit advocacy group. “Bus riders and the advocacy community in Baltimore, including the Transportation Alliance, have been asking for MTA’s data for years. Riders want buses to be on time. For that to happen, we need the MTA to be transparent about the reliability of the service we have right now. We hope this dashboard signals a commitment to better public access to data and better transparency going forward. We look forward to using the tool to track bus reliability.”