Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Baltimore transit shuttle jungle

It makes absolutely no sense for the City to tap into its meager funds to give Amazon $100,000 so they can run their own bus shuttle to their Broening Highway distribution center.

Not after MTA started in February of this year running the brand new #26 bus extra for the new 1 million sf Amazon fulfillment center. The new service runs from 5am throughout the day to to 2am at night at 20-45 minute headways. 

If that service is insufficient for the 3500 employees there, the logical thing to do is to improve that service. 


The State run MTA has an obligation to provide adequate public transportation in the region and should do that without relying on the  private shuttles that are sprouting up all around. 

The Amazon example is especially galling since we are dealing with a very prosperous company here in a location that doesn't allow the argument that the antiquated MTA lines run is not where the new employment is. Broening Highway has been one of the regions legacy hubs of manufacturing and 1,100 GM workers were employed hereto assemble the GM Astro and certain GM transmission parts until May 2005. 

The City of Baltimore should focus on running their Circulator and water taxi transit services without having to tap into the general funds (The Circulator accumulated over $11 million in losses so far). The City just extended the Purple route of the Circulator up on Charles Street up to the Johns Hopkins Campus which will definitely run up the deficit. The City did not require JHU to quit the Hopkins shuttle to run up Charles Street as well so JHU could pool the funds they could save from not doing the Charles Street shuttle with the Circulator instead. UM and UMB run shuttles on Charles Street as well.


The Hopkins shuttle continues to run on Charles Street in spite of the
extended Circulator bus service

It is obvious that the proliferating shuttles in effect perpetuate the problems with public transit. As such they don't solve a problem but make it more intractable. The forgivable $100,000 grant for the Amazon shuttle does the same.

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

BBJ article about the 1 million sf warehouse