As we at the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) continue to proffer new initiatives to improve public transportation in the Baltimore region, a big part of our effort to provide safe, efficient and reliable transit with world-class customer service is to fully engage the communities we serve.

Paul Comfort

Paul Comfort, MTA Administrator and CEO

In my travels around the region on MTA’s transit system, a common complaint I hear involves litter and trash at bus stops. Civic and neighborhood groups, local businesses and elected officials have for many years asked MTA for the ability to adopt bus stops in their communities to help keep the stops clean and instill a sense of civic pride.

We heard you loud and clear, and on Aug. 10, 2016, MTA unveiled its new Adopt-A-Stop Program. Organizations of any size and even individuals can be a part of this exciting new initiative. In exchange for cleaning a bus stop at a minimum of every two weeks, you will be recognized with a sign at your stop.

It’s easy to sign up – just go to our Adopt-A-Stop page on MTA’s website at mta.maryland.gov/adopt-stop to fill out a simple form and get started. Your participation will spread the word about how much your group cares about giving back to its community, while also encouraging public transit ridership that can reduce traffic and air pollution. Adopt-A-Stop is a meaningful way to get your group involved in the community, be recognized for your hard work and keep your neighborhood safe and clean for everyone. I urge you to partner with us in this important effort.

Another new boost for transit in downtown Baltimore recently got underway with the installation of distinctive, red dedicated bus lanes on Pratt and Lombard streets. This project is part of MTA’s BaltimoreLink transit plan, and will help improve the reliability of our service through the central business district by allowing buses to operate free from traffic congestion.

In October 2015, Gov. Larry Hogan announced $135 million in targeted investments to transform and improve transit throughout metropolitan Baltimore. The multi-phase plan was designed to create an interconnected transit system – BaltimoreLink – that reflects the state’s long-term commitment to the city’s future by providing a more reliable and timely transit experience and better connections to jobs.

We’ve already heard from customers that the newly-marked lanes, which have worked well in other cities around the country, have shortened travel times and eased our customers’ commute to work. This is just the first of many physical improvements you will see around the city as BaltimoreLink takes shape. Still to come are improved transfer facilities and the installation of Transit Signal Priority equipment to help buses move faster through key intersections.

Finally, one of the most important services MTA provides for Baltimore communities at this time of year is transporting students to and from school. More than 27,000 city school students ride MTA every day during the school year, and we work closely with our partners at Baltimore City Public Schools to make sure our service is on-time and reliable from the first through the last day of the school year. Also, MTA Police and Baltimore City Public Schools Police collaborate on a daily basis to make sure students and all of our customers are safe as they use our system to travel to school, to sports practice and other activities, and to all of life’s opportunities.

These are just some of the ways MTA is working to strengthen our ties to the communities and the people we serve – with the ultimate goal in mind of providing safe, efficient and reliable transit with world-class customer service. I urge you to join with us. Give us your input on BaltimoreLink, participate in Adopt-A-Stop or just use our service if you haven’t done so recently. You’ll be amazed by how things have improved. We value you and your business. We hope you will continue to help us connect communities and improve the quality of life in our region.