James Rada, Jr.
Northern Frederick County now has an additional bus trip, taking people to and from Frederick. The new trip on midday Tuesdays leaves the Frederick Transit Center at 12:15 p.m. The shuttle bus then stops at the College Park Plaza in Frederick, DePaul Street in Emmitsburg, Jubilee Market in Emmitsburg, the Thurmont CVS, South Center Street just south of Route 550 in Thurmont, Mountainview Plaza in Thurmont, and the Catoctin Zoo.
“It’s our hope that the addition of this midday service will make a difference to the lives of citizens, by helping them to regain some time and hours in their day and by making the service more convenient,” Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner said during a press conference.
To arrive in Frederick by 8:00 a.m., DePaul Street riders were picked up at 7:10 a.m. The returning bus leaves Frederick at 4:15 p.m. This meant riders had to plan to spend the day in Frederick.
Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs and Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird had been encouraging the county to add an additional daily trip so that riders who needed to go to Frederick for a single appointment wouldn’t have to give up an entire day. Briggs said during a press conference that transportation to Frederick was “becoming a dilemma” for citizens.
County transit surveys consistently mentioned the need for more rural transportation. Missy Shank of Emmitsburg started a petition for an additional daily trip as part of a class she took at the Seton Center. She gathered more than three hundred signatures on the petition.
In December, Frederick County Transit added one additional midday trip on Tuesdays, as a pilot program. This trip leaves Frederick Monday through Friday at 12:15 p.m. and returns at 1:40 p.m. The program will be evaluated after six months and twelve months to see what ridership is for the shuttle trip and whether there is a demand for additional trips.
“We’re trying to grow into where we have it five days a week,” Mayor Briggs said, during an Emmitsburg town meeting.
The cost of the additional trip will be about $10,000. About one-quarter of this will be paid by the county, while the rest will be covered by state and federal funding. Gardner said that the hope is that the county’s portion will be able to be paid through savings, by matching paratransit riders with the new midday trip.
Kinnaird said he believes the additional trip will make a big difference for north county residents.
Frederick County Transit was also named the 2017 Outstanding Transportation Program in the state by the Transportation Association of Maryland.