The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is making great strides in strengthening ties to the communities we serve as we prepare to implement the Hogan administration’s transformative BaltimoreLink transit plan this June. MTA has recently cemented new partnerships with organizations to spread the word about the benefits of transit to a broader audience.
Paul Comfort, MTA Administrator and CEO
On Jan. 25, MTA unveiled a new partnership with Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Flacco, who will help us communicate the benefits of BaltimoreLink through a public awareness campaign that features five buses wrapped in Ravens colors with pictures of “No. 5” himself. He also will appear on radio, TV and in print ads for MTA. The buses will be used on routes throughout MTA’s system as part of a broader effort to raise awareness of the benefits of BaltimoreLink and the many ways transit can improve the quality of life in our city and state.
In addition to this exciting new effort, MTA has partnered with Baltimore’s new arena football team, the Baltimore Brigade, to connect with a whole new audience. This expansion team begins its season in April 2017 at the Royal Farms Arena. So keep an eye out for our distinctive blue-and-silver Brigade bus and ride MTA to the games downtown. We also are commemorating the 25th anniversary of the opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the debut of MTA’s Light Rail service by putting a special bus – wrapped in Orioles’ colors and bearing unique signage – into service. MTA and the Orioles go together as thousands of fans ride our Local Bus and Light Rail service to every game.
While we work to raise awareness and communicate the benefits of our service, MTA also is giving back to our community. In December, I joined Gov. Larry Hogan and Maryland Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Kelly Schulz to sign an agreement between MTA and Vehicles for Change, a Baltimore area-based nonprofit group that trains ex-offenders for careers in vehicle maintenance. As part of this Hogan administration partnership with Vehicles for Change, MTA will be able to assist individuals who have paid their debt to society and are seeking a second chance in life to be trained as bus mechanics and apply for jobs at MTA. This important workforce development initiative will help MTA maintain its fleet while also offering an opportunity to people eager to have meaningful, stable employment.
(Graphic courtesy of mta.maryland.gov)
MTA’s employees take their commitment to the community personally. That’s why on Jan. 28, about 30 members of the MTA family – including me – went to Sandy Point State Park and ran into the ice-cold Chesapeake Bay for the Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Special Olympics. The day before, MTA’s Police Force had participated in the plunge for law enforcement agencies. This year was the first time other MTA employees took part. I’m proud of MTA’s Team BaltimoreLink and our supporters who helped us raise more than $3,000 for this great cause.
MTA is working creatively and actively to engage with communities throughout the region and promote awareness of our service, which is improving even as we move forward with BaltimoreLink.
Did you know that in 2016 MTA reduced the number of missed trips on its local bus routes by 75 percent? That’s made a real difference in improving the reliability of our service. I urge you to try transit, especially if you haven’t ridden in a while.
Join us and ride MTA as you connect to all of life’s opportunities!