Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz probably didn’t make a lot of friends in either Towson’s cash register-operating or Birkenstock sandal-wearing crowds when he publicly expressed concerns this week that he doesn’t see any great need to create a Towson “circulator” bus system. The view also puts him squarely at odds with the Baltimore County Council, which last fall authorized a one-year circulator pilot program beginning in 2018.
Nevertheless, Mr. Kamenetz made two valid arguments. First, is there really a need for an independent bus system, given that Towson is already served by Maryland Transit Administration bus routes and by the Baltimore Collegetown Network shuttles — and especially given that even Towson’s most congested traffic intersections are far from failing? And second, how would such an expensive system be financed, given that the Charm City Circulator has run up deficits and is costing Baltimore $14 million annually?
But here’s a third consideration that the county executive did not mention but perhaps should have: Why must Baltimore County create an entirely new bus service exclusively for Towson instead of simply seeking to expand existing MTA bus routes? Could it be that a Towson-only bus system appeals to those who do not wish to step foot on an MTA bus? If so, why is that? That’s a topic worth exploring in greater detail.