MTA Maryland Route 23

Route 23 is a bus route operated by the Maryland Transit Administration in Baltimore, Maryland, United States and its suburbs. It currently runs the Wal-Mart parking lot in Catonsville, Maryland east through downtown to Fox Ridge, part of Essex. Route 23 serves the corridors of Edmondson Avenue and Eastern Avenue, and the communities of Edmondson Village, Allendale, Rosemont, Patterson Park, and Eastpoint, and is one of the most heavily used bus routes operated by the MTA [ [http://www.btco.net/Tidbits/fareboxlines.html Rating the Routes of MTA - Finance ] ] .

The bus route is the successor to the 14 Ellicott City, 23 Back and Middle Rivers, and East Fayette Street streetcar lines.

History

Route 23 was electrified in 1897 as a streetcar line between Middle River and downtown Baltimore along mostly the same route as today. The streetcar operated until 1950, until the line was converted into a rubber-tire bus service.

In 1954, Route 23 absorbed part of the route of the former Route 14, which had operated between Ellicott City and downtown Baltimore. Route 23 was extended west to Catonsville along the U.S. 40 and the Edmondson Avenue corridor, serving Edmondson Village. At that time, the full route of Route 23 ran from Edmondson Village to Middle River.

Over the years, a series of selected trips on each side of Route 23 were added. The communities served by these branches were:

;West side
*Social Security (service has been discontinued since the first phase of the GBBI, and is available on Route 40)
*U.S. 40 and Rolling Road (main western terminus - now the parking lot of Catonsville Wal-Mart, formerly the Montgomery Ward shopping center, though at times, the layover was on Geipe Road on the other side of Rolling Road)
*Wildwood Parkway (currently served by selected trips)

;East side
*Bayview Medical Center (currently served on all trips)
*Fox Ridge (current eastern terminus on all trips)
*Hawthorne (discontinued as a result of first phase of GBBI)
*Oliver Beach (replaced by Route 160)
*Pulaski Indutrial Park (replaced by Route 24 during first phase of GBBI)
*Victory Villa (served by Route 24 since 1993, and exclusively by Route 24 since first phase of GBBI)
*Wilson Point (discontinued as a result of first phase of GBBI)

Criticism

Over the years, Route 23 was heavily criticized. Riders complained of overcrowded buses, that the route was slow and unreliable, and that service to certain communities was sparsely provided.

MTA was able to address some of these concerns. During the 1990s, additional trips were added on certain heavily used branches. In addition, Oliver Beach service, which operated to the farthest point from downtown, was moved to the express Route 160 for faster service, and selected Route 160 trips operated from Fox Ridge. In 1993, Route 24 was also modified to provide additional midday and weekend service to Victory Villa, from which riders could transfer to Route 23 to travel downtown.

Overhaul

In 2005, as part of the Greater Baltimore Bus Initiative (GBBI), Route 23 was overhauled, and faced numerous changes.

Initially, it was planned that the line would operate from Catonsville to Fox Ridge on all trips, with all other branches eliminated or replaced by other lines. Riders on the Middle River and Victory Villa branches were directed to transfer to/from Route 24, and all other riders were expected to walk to Eastern or Edmondson Avenues. However, after public outcry, the Wildwood branch was maintained.

The line also saw routing changes in the downtown area, and in East Baltimore. The route downtown was shifted from Saratoga Street to Fayette and Baltimore Streets, depending on the direction of travel, and in East Baltimore, service was shifted from Grundy/Haven Streets to Bayview Boulevard in order to serve Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. [ [http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.bus29jul29,1,6908846.story State unveils bus route changes less sweeping than prior proposal - Hospitals and Clinics, Maryland, Metropolitan Transportation Authority - baltimoresun.com ] ]

In addition, the line's frequency was cut virtually in half at most times. Rush hour service, which had operated every 7-8 minutes, was reduced to one bus every 15 minutes. Midday service, which had operated every 10-12 minutes, was reduced to one bus every 15 minutes. Saturday service was reduced from 15 to 30 minutes, and Sunday service from 30 minutes to hourly.

The cost savings generated from the reduction in service was used to operate a new, limited-stop service known as Route 40 (now "QuickBus"). The line, which overlaps on much of the route, but serves the Security Boulevard corridor rather than Catonsville, provides limited-stop service for faster travel. MTA believed that operating such a service would absorb much of Route 23's ridership while improving bus service over the corridor.

The overhaul of Route 23, which took effect on October 23, 2005, was not met pleasantly by riders. Many complained about the reduction in service while Route 40 did not stop near their streets, and did not meet their needs in any way. Also, some complained about routing changes. Most notably, businesses along Saratoga Street in downtown Baltimore reported a massive loss in customers who waited for buses near their shops [http://www.getontrac.org/Reports/BDOC07-016-01.pdf] .

MTA responded to complaints about the Saratoga Street losses. On February 26, 2006, the no. 23 was once again modified to serve the small businesses on Saratoga Street while retaining part of its new route on the Fayette/Baltimore Street corridor.

ee also

*MTA Maryland bus routes
*MTA Maryland former bus routes
*History of MTA Maryland

External links

* [https://www.mtamaryland.com/services/bus/routes/bus/23%206-06.pdf Route 23 schedule]

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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