An idea for Maryland commuters

I want to talk about commuter bus service from the far Maryland suburbs and towns into Washington, D.C.

Today has been a bad day for the Washington-area Metro system, following a bad week. Today, an Orange line train derailed — no injuries, thank God — and last week downed live wires on the Orange line left many people — I’d bet thousands — in a lurch and far from home. So much for the Virginia suburbs and those packed, packed subway cars. More about that later.

A cleansing breath, and a thought about Maryland, which integrates more of its transit services on a state-wide basis. There is commuter bus service — big, intercity coaches — from twenty and thirty miles out of town, if you can get a time that works for you.

I manage the transit benefit (you know I love that) at Day Job and wanted to help a co-worker make the transition to one of the buses, if practicle. One more run in the morning would make the service oh-so-much more practical, and it surely would be used. After all, there’s so much talk about flexing out work time, to take the crush off of rush hour, but that’s not so helpful if you can’t get a ride.

So I called Maryland Transit Authority — which has already expanded service on his route — to see how even more buses could be added.

To my surprise, the customer service rep suggested the employee call the company that holds the state contract to ask for more service. (What follows is my personal opinion and suggestion.) I’m not sure how I feel about that from a public policy perspective, but it doesn’t sound like a bad idea in practice. Gas-strapped Free Staters ought to contact the bus companies.

So here are the routes. Look at the list to see what company serves your area.

And here are links to the companies:

  • Be polite.
  • Make reasonable requests.
  • Recruit your neighbors and co-workers.
  • Let us know what you find out; I’ll leave the comments open.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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