project leader
Danielle S
1404 belt street, Baltimore Md 21230
latest update rss
Thanks to Everyone Who Contributed to Better Buses for Baltimore!

the project

Better Bus Baltimore was an outgrowth of my student project for the Central Maryand Transportation Alliance's citizen activist course, Transit 101.

My student project was threefold:

- starting  "Where's the Bus, Baltimore?", a Facebook group for Baltimore bus riders to document service issues and provide realtime public feedback to the MTA

- launching an on-time performance data collection project

- blogging about the bus in Baltimore and BaltimoreLink's progress via Medium. Here is how BaltimoreLink is performing after six months, and here is a blog post about the impact of cut "runs" (cancelled service) on MTA riders. 

My data collection focused on CityLink, MTA's high-frequency bus lines, which launched in June, 2017.

Better Bus Baltimore will expand my data collection with the help of a few volunteers to include all regular MTA bus routes.

Depending on the level of funding I reach, Better Bus Baltimore will include blog posts and perhaps an occasional podcast. 

the steps

  • Volunteers will track the on-time performance of the MTA's 55 CityLink and LocalLink bus routes at bus stops all over the city.
  • We will post the collected data and feedback from bus riders on social media. 
  • Along with arrival data, the project will include photos, videos, and perhaps a podcast, depending on funding
  • When fundraising goals are reached in early 2018, data collection will resume, beginning with Baltimore's LocalLink bus routes. 

why we're doing it

The MTA overhauled Baltimore's transit system in June of 2017, renaming it BaltimoreLink. The centerpiece of the new system is CityLink, 12 high-frequency bus routes.

MTA administrators said CityLink buses would arrive at bus stops about every 15 minutes during peak hours, Monday - Friday. 

CityLink was supposed to ensure improved service, but many residents believe that buses still don't show up on time - or at all.

MTA's on-time performance data, released in January, in fact shows that LocalLink buses arrive on time only 67% of the time. MTA's goal is 80%.

Riders believe that the MTA promised far more service than BaltimoreLink actually delivers. 

Baltimoreans, both choice riders and those who rely on public transportation exclusively, need transportation they can count on - and a transit agency that delivers the service that it promises. 

Recent comments from Baltimore City bus riders on "Where's the Bus, Baltimore?"

* "MTA can you please get your act together on Fridays?!!! This is the third Friday in a row on which I've waited over an hour for the bus (on different routes, too). This morning, at the Woodberry stop, three scheduled #21 buses in a row didn't come (the man waiting next to me had been waiting since 7:10 am by the time I gave up and got a different ride at 8:30). We can't afford to be this late to work!"

* "Another no-show ... during code blue weather. Two of us stood waiting ~20min after the #21 was scheduled to show up, until caving and getting a car ride. It gets better. While I worked on that, a bus came down Falls. Very exciting until it was close enough we could read the "Not In Service". We could also see it was one of the normal drivers."*

* "It's always a good feeling when the bus passes you while you're standing at the stop. This is the red. Also. I've been standing here since 1:10pm.its raining."

* "Is there any hope that the red will improve anytime soon? I have to take it up to Towson with my 3 month old to pick up my 4 year old from school and bring them both back to Waverly and they are always so crowded I am trying to stand up holding my babies after super long waits in the cold. I don't blame the operators. This route just seems to be mismanaged. It needs to be rethought."

* "I was trying to take the Red Line a few weeks ago. It was a Saturday night and the next bus was arriving at 9:50. It was 9:30 when I got to the stop. The bus arrived at 10:35. I get off the bus at Green Mount and Preston, which isn't the safest. This bus driver was driving particularly slow! It normally takes about 30 minutes, I got to Preston St. at 11:20 ."

* "... I missed my bus because it came SEVEN minutes early. Don't they have places where they pull off so they actually can stick to a schedule? Because it's seriously not worth walking 1 mile to the NAVY bus when the 65 should be here at a specific time."

* "Today's CityLink Orange EB service was a failure...The Orange bus is supposed to run about every fifteen minutes. Actually, Transitapp indicated five would come in that hour. But here's how it worked out. One "Orange" bus came at 3:14, but its marquee read "Not in Service." (See the photo.)The driver said he was an Orange bus but only going to Bayview - not all the way to Essex, as most Orange buses do. Everybody who needed to go beyond Bayview had to keep waiting. That was a lot of people... Anyhow, at 3:34, another Orange comes by, but it's full and won't accept any passengers. At 3:52, another Orange (a tic) passes by. Also full. So, at this point passengers who need the Orange have been waiting for **an hour** for the high-frequency bus, when two Oranges pull up back-to-back at 4pm."



Second Disbursement (6.5.18)
Raised = $1,300
less ioby Platform Fee $35.00
less ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $58.56
less ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $35.14
Total to Disburse = $1,171.30
First Disbursement (4.19.18)
Raised = $920.00
less ioby Platform Fee waived (Charge with second disbursement)
less ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $43.81
less ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $26.80
Total to Disburse = $849.39
5 monthly bus passes for me @ $72/month = $360
4 7-day bus passes for volunteers (or $25 on a fare card) @$25 each = $100
4 Starbucks gift cards for volunteers @$20 each = $80
clipboards, toner, paper =$109.39
podcast =$200
TOTAL: $849.39
Original Budget
12 monthly bus passes for me @ $72/month = $864 for the year
10 7-day bus passes for volunteers (or $25 on a fare card) @$25 each = $250
10 Starbucks gift cards for volunteers @$20 each = $200
Extra data storage =$200
clipboards, toner, paper =$100
podcast =$200
video =$200
Subtotal = $2,014
ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $101
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $60
Total to raise = $2,210



Thanks to Everyone Who Contributed to Better Buses for Baltimore!

I will post some exciting news shortly. 

I Was a Guest on WYPR

Yesterday, I was interviewed by Sheilah Kast, host of "On the Record," a news show on WYPR, our local NPR affiliate. The topic was BaltimoreLink's performance after 7 months. Here is a link to the broadcast.

We're close to reaching 25% of our goal!

The soft-launch of the campaign has gone very well. Read my recent blog post about the MTA and cut service runs in Baltimore City. It underscores the importance of a citizens' data collection project to help improve bus on-time performance. 


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Transit Center Grant
  • Min. Glenn Isaac Smith
  • Anonymous
  • Donna Folkemer
  • Jordan B.
  • Robbyn Lewis
  • Evan Mead-Brewer
  • Tracey B.
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Seth G.
  • Anonymous
  • Tatevik K.
  • Eric Norton
  • Anonymous
  • Sue Carlin
  • James Knighton
  • Benjamin Groff
  • Mary R and Stephen P
  • Michael Willis
  • Blair DuCray-Oppat
  • Anonymous