In October 2015, Governor Larry Hogan announced BaltimoreLink, a transformative project to convert the existing antiquated transit lines in Baltimore City into a true transit system, operated by the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA).

After 19 months of preparation and the implementation of earlier phases—such as Express BusLink and dedicated bus lanes—MDOT MTA rolled out BaltimoreLink June 18. More than 3,000 dedicated employees have worked hard to make sure the transition to the new system goes as smoothly as possible and is delivered with our usual world-class customer service.

BaltimoreLink (YouTube)

On June 19, many of our customers experienced the new high-frequency CityLink routes and the improved connectivity of our system for the first time. MDOT MTA had hundreds of transit ambassadors on the streets during the first days of BaltimoreLink—providing information on new routes and new bus stops and answering all of your questions as part of our commitment to keeping the public informed. We had maintenance teams working on all bus routes, so your ride home was as comfortable and clutter-free as your morning commute. And, the MDOT MTA Police Force deployed officers on our bus system to make sure your trip was safe and secure.

MDOT MTA’s leadership team is directly involved with delivering BaltimoreLink to our citizens. Our top managers have personally committed to riding the CityLink lines during the first weeks of service to make sure it is delivering the frequent, predictable and efficient service we’ve promised. We have added staff in our customer call center and have trained our drivers on all the new routes. And, we’ve been communicating with customers, neighborhood groups, businesses and elected officials to make sure as many people as possible know the benefits BaltimoreLink will bring to our city and our region by connecting people to jobs and easing traffic congestion.

As an incentive to get as many Baltimoreans as possible to try the new BaltimoreLink service, MDOT MTA is offering two weeks of free transit rides through June 30. Free rides will be offered on Local Bus, Express Bus, Light Rail and Metro Subway. During the free fare period, June monthly passes and all CharmCard 31-day passes will be half-price. These reduced fare passes can be purchased through June 24. Half-price fares will be offered at all MDOT MTA ticket vending machines, through online ticket sales, at the MDOT MTA Transit Store and at all walk-in MDOT MTA ticket vendors.

If you haven’t ridden in a while, or are a new MDOT MTA rider, please take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to try our improved service free of charge. Leave your car at home and experience the ease and convenience of public transit. We’re confident our 12 high-frequency CityLink routes and our interconnected LocalLink bus network—supported by existing improvements like dedicated bus lanes and transit signal priority on key routes—will make a difference in your daily commute and in the quality of life in our region.

The Hogan Administration promised a transformative transit network and we are delivering. Come and ride with us for free for the first two weeks and we are sure you’ll be using MDOT MTA this summer and beyond.

Kevin Quinn is the Acting Administrator of the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Transit Administration.