Baltimore County Conducting Feasibility Study On Free Buses In Owings Mills
OWINGS MILLS - The Baltimore County Department of Public Works and Transportation is spending around $100,000 for feasibility studies for free circulator buses in Owings Mills and Catonsville.
The County is looking to expand “The Loop” circulator bus program, which has been offering free rides in Towson since 2021. Baltimore County has identified Owings Mills and Catonsville as areas that would benefit from additional public transportation.
Although free bus rides may sound like an uncontroversial victory for Owings Mills, some metrics suggest that “The Loop” has not been as successful as advertised.
The County estimates the Towson Loop’s annual cost will be $3.7 million. This year, it plans to pay about $1 million of that sum with money from the American Rescue Plan.
The buses have also seen lower ridership numbers than expected. A 2020 feasibility study forecasted that the bus would garner about 250,000 riders annually once COVID restrictions ended. Baltimore County’s current projections are that ~30,000 riders have taken The Loop since implementation.
The County still needs to provide possible route maps for the new buses in Owings Mills. Maps and more information are expected to be released when the feasibility study concludes at the end of this fiscal year.