Have you ever taken the bus in Howard County? Have you ever seen a public transit bus in Howard County empty of riders? Chances are, the answer is yes.
Coming into office, County Executive Allan Kittleman was handed a transit system that had been neglected.
The fleet consisted of buses in very poor condition and bus routes hadn’t been updated in over eight years. Can you imagine if Google or Amazon failed to update its service offering for eight years? Probably not.
For any transit system to succeed, it must deliver efficient transit service at reasonable rates. It must also demonstrate value through amenities such as free cell phone charging.
In Howard County, the transit system was failing to meet even the most basic needs of those who had no choice but to use transit to go to work, medical appointments, or other necessary trips. Something had to be done.
Kittleman Administration To Fix RTA Now
Thanks to the efforts taken by the Kittleman Administration, as well as by County Executive Allan Kittleman himself, things are finally starting to improve.
You may have noticed several of the 16 new buses that have been added to the fleet over the past year. Three of these buses are even all-electric!
What makes these electric buses even more special is that they can be charged as they wait for passengers at The Mall in Columbia through an inductive charging station. This means that as the buses wait at The Mall, the battery is getting recharged so that they can operate longer. This charging system for electric buses is the first of its kind on the East Coast!
Kittleman’s efforts haven’t stopped there. Six new buses will be joining the system in fall 2018, which will mean that almost half of the current Howard County fleet will be new!
Planning Tomorrow’s Transportation Needs Today
Kittleman also kicked off an effort to review all of the current routes to ensure they are serving our community better.
This planning effort incorporated significant public input and has resulted in the creation of a Transit Development Plan that revolutionizes the current route structure without reducing service coverage. Key elements of this plan will be a reduction in the amount of time it takes for a person to get to where they are going, and an increase in the frequency of service on many routes.
For instance, the route serving The Mall to Gateway will only take 25 minutes, currently, it takes over double that amount of time!
The Transit Development Plan is set to be considered by the County Council in Spring 2018. Once the plan receives their endorsement, the Kittleman Administration will work on implementing critical elements of the plan.
Improving the reliability and efficiency of transportation in Howard County has been a hallmark of the Kittleman Administration, and these efforts will certainly continue moving forward.