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Living the Transit Lifestyle

November 13, 2015
Baltimore's Summer Cars offered some respite from the heat in the days before air conditioning was widespread  Jon BerleOpen top buses, usually but not exclusively double-decker buses, were known as Summer Cars when MTA’s predecessor, the Baltimore Transit Company (BTC), operated them here in the 1920s. Summer Cars were first introduced in Baltimore on July 1, 1922 on the “A” Line, and quickly became popular during the summer months. Riders in Chicago enjoyed "Summer Cars" too, as did the residents of many other American cities in the 1920s.  The open-topped BTC Summer Cars... more
November 6, 2015
Friends for life Walter Meyers (L) with his buddy Edgar Hatter. (See "Small World" below.) This photo was sent to BTC early in 1946 by Mr. Hatter.   Jon BerlePresident Woodrow Wilson started the first Veterans Day (then called Armistice Day) on November 11, 1919 afterWorld War I ended. The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), and its predecessors Baltimore Transit Company (BTC) and United Railways and Electric (UR&E) all share a common history not only of providing public transportation for the citizens of Baltimore, but also of having to lose manpower during wartime. In honor of... more
November 3, 2015
Guy Henderson   For Jimmy Rouse, artist, community activist, former owner of Louie’s Bookstore Cafe and son of renowned developer James Rouse, Governor Hogan’s plan to transform transit in Baltimore through the newBaltimoreLink plan will offer a welcome change to the local transit scene.   He has a personal interest in seeing that change happen.   According to Rouse, “When I owned the restaurant, we had a rule that no employee could be more than 15 minutes late more than three times. I had to fire good, hard-working people simply because they couldn’t rely on the transportation system to get... more
October 29, 2015
Jon BerleWhile Americans know Halloween as a time of spooky antics and costumes, it originated as a religious festival honoring the deceased. So this week seemed like the perfect time to share what we know about Delores, Baltimore’s first funeral rail car that wasn't horse-drawn.Delores was built in 1897 by the La Clede Car Company for the Baltimore and Northern Electric Railway. The name Delores means "sorrows" and is derived from the Spanish title for the Virgin Mary María de los Dolores, or Mary of Sorrows.Before Delores started service with United Railways and Electric (UR&E) on... more
October 27, 2015
You'll find plenty of other maps covering other areas of Baltimore at Guy HendersonSince the BaltimoreLink plan to transform Baltimore’s transit system was unveiled on Thursday, October 22, scores of questions have already come our way by phone, email and the Internet. But we know that the most important question we can address for each one of our riders is this:“How does this affect me?”MTA transports over 376,000 riders every day. With a plan as bold and ambitious as BaltimoreLink, that means some of our riders will need to make some... more
October 23, 2015
Guy Henderson   MTA is set to deliver a comprehensive new transit plan that demonstrates how serious we are about listening to our customers and delivering a system that connects all of Baltimore's transit options with each other, and connects Baltimore's citizens to jobs. On Thursday, October 22, MTA Administrator Paul Comfort joined Governor Larry Hogan, Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn, Baltimore City leaders and transit advocates for the announcement of $135 million in targeted investments to transform and improve transit throughout the metropolitan area. The plan will create an... more
October 15, 2015
Guy Henderson On the streets of early 20th Century America, nothing moved faster than 10 miles per hour. That may be the greatest lesson from this archival footage taken in 1905 and 1906 from the front of a moving San Francisco streetcar, and we're betting it's the reason that hanging onto the outside of a streetcar was considered "safe."In 1910, the automobile had begun changing American life significantly, with over 500,000 cars on the streets. With that increase came an upsurge in fatalities from people who had been used to walking casually among moving vehicles. (Look at that footage... more
October 7, 2015
Guy Henderson We like to think it makes a sound like a sigh of relief, because the leaves still rustle when the wind blows. Which is just the way the Maryland Transit Administration likes it. That’s why MTA continues to put in a Herculean effort to maintain and increase our single stream recycling program throughout our operations division. In 2014, MTA recycled more than 321 tons of materials that would have otherwise gone into a landfill. The result? Last year, MTA saved: • 1,202,491 kW-hr of electricity - enough to power 98 households for a year• 2,399 mature trees – enough to produce 70,... more
October 2, 2015
Opening Day at Charles Center Metro Subway Station. Average daily ridership that first month of operation was 21,000, which has more than doubled since 1983. Jon Berle Next month Metro Subway turns 32 on November 21. When the MTA opened Metro Subway in 1983, and again when it was extended to the suburbs (completed in 1987), artists were commissioned to design and install artwork in each of the 14 stations. The materials used varied from concrete and steel to colored glass and stencils, and ranged in price from $40,000 to $127,200. Many were by local artists, but two of them were done... more
September 29, 2015
Guy Henderson No matter how often we say it, we're reminded far too often that tragedy around train tracks can occur all too easily. Please give that train the respect it deserves, whether it's an intercity express, a freight train, MARC Commuter Train, Metro Subway or Light Rail, Like life itself, it really is moving faster than you think. You've heard the tips below about train tracks before. This time, instead of just reading them, how about passing them along to a young person, like a teenager? We know many teens feel like they're invulnerable. By passing these tips along, you just... more