Paul Comfort
Paul Comfort

Beginning June 20, Baltimore-area residents will have a new way to get around town with bus routes that will greatly improve suburb-to-suburb connectivity – and link Baltimore residents to jobs and life’s other opportunities.

As part of BaltimoreLink – the plan to transform transit in the region – the MTA is introducing three new Express BusLink routes – 102, 106 and 107 – that will provide significantly faster connections from BWI to Old Court Metro Subway Station; from Owings Mills to Towson; and from Towson to White Marsh without the need to travel through downtown Baltimore.

Additionally, the existing Express Bus Route 150 that connects Columbia to downtown Baltimore City will be extended to connect to the growing job center of Harbor East. The service changes also will add peak period trips to Local Bus No. 77 line, which also runs between Old Court Metro Subway Station and BWI.

Here’s what transit riders can expect:

Express BusLink Route 102 from Towson to White Marsh will operate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays with stops including Towson University, Baltimore County Circuit Court, Towson Town Center, North Plaza Shopping Center, Fox Hall Apartments, White Marsh Mall and the White Marsh Park & Ride.

Express BusLink Route 106 from Owings Mills Metro Subway Station to Towson will operate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday with stops including Owings Mills Metro Station, Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, Towson Town Center, Baltimore County Circuit Court and Towson University.

Express BusLink Route 107 from BWI Airport Rail Station to Old Court Metro Subway Station will operate during morning and evening peak hours with stops including BWI Airport, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC-Catonsville), Security Mall, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Reisterstown Road and Old Court Metro Station.

Express BusLink Route 150 from Columbia Town Center to Harbor East will operate during morning and evening peak hours with stops in Columbia, at the Giant Food and Walmart stores on Rolling Road in Catonsville, in downtown Baltimore and Harbor East and then terminate at Caroline Street. Service no longer will run to the Long Gate Park and Ride or along Edmondson Avenue between Ingleside Avenue and Rolling Road.

Express BusLink service is just one aspect of BaltimoreLink. Most of our existing bus routes have not changed in over 50 years – dating back to the days of streetcars. Of course, an awful lot has changed since then. With BaltimoreLink, we’re looking at ways to link our customers to jobs, better services and new opportunities.

In October 2015, Governor Larry Hogan announced this $135 million investment plan to create BaltimoreLink as an interconnected transit system that improves connections to jobs and other transit modes. The redesign component includes the addition of CityLink, our 12 new high-frequency, color-coded bus routes that will roll out in June 2017, and our rebranded LocalLink and new Express BusLink routes. The rebranding of our various transit modes includes Light RailLink, Metro SubwayLink, LocalLink, CityLink, Express BusLink and MobilityLink.

We stress “Link” in our branding and new service name, BaltimoreLink, to emphasize our goal to provide more connections to job centers and MTA’s different transit modes of bus and rail.

Our service and infrastructure improvements include adding dedicated bus lanes, transit signal priority and new and improved transfer facilities that will better assist our riders and operators.

For additional information, visit mta.maryland.gov/baltimorelink.

Paul Comfort is the MTA administrator and CEO.