Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland

Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland, locally referred to as the RTA, is a transit organization providing fixed-route and paratransit services across Central Maryland. The RTA is made up of multiple jurisdictions including Anne Arundel County, Howard County, the City of Laurel, Northern Prince George's County, and Baltimore County.

Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland (RTA)
A Central MD RTA bus in Jessup heading north to Arundel Mills Mall
FoundedJuly 1, 2014
Commenced operationJuly 1, 2014
Locale8510 Corridor Road, Suite 110, Savage, Maryland 20763
Service areaAnne Arundel, Howard County, City of Laurel, Northern Prince George's County, and Baltimore County
Service typeFixed-route, Paratransit
Routes16
Annual ridership595,497 (2022)
Fuel typeDiesel, gas, electric
OperatorFirst Transit
General ManagerJason Quan[1]
Websitehttp://www.transitRTA.com

In 2014, Howard County initiated the Regional Transit Agency of Central Maryland, recruiting Anne Arundel County to join areas served by Central Maryland Regional Transit claiming the centralized authority initiated, managed and funded through Howard County would save money in contract expenses. CMRT bid on providing services to these regions after July 1, but lost to First Transit.[2]

In 2014, Howard County broke ground on a $7.2 million bus terminal at Savage, Maryland designed to house 120 buses.[3]

In 2023, RTA added route 505, the first route to serve Baltimore County and connect onto an MDOT MTA CityLink bus, and restructured route 405 to better serve Ellicott City.[4]

System

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As of November 2023, RTA operates 16 bus routes in Howard County, Anne Arundel County, Prince George's County, the city of Laurel, and Baltimore County.

300-series routes (Prince George's County)
Route Route Name Termini Areas Served Transfers Headway
301 South Laurel Town Centre Laurel
South Laurel Drive
Laurel RTA 302, 409, 502, 503
Metrobus 87, 89, 89M
60 min
302 Greenbelt Metro Station Town Centre Laurel
Greenbelt Metro Station
Laurel
Beltsville
Greenbelt
Metro Green Line
MARC Camden Line
RTA 301, 409, 502, 503
Metrobus 87, 89, 89M
60 min
400-series routes (Howard County)
Route Route Name Termini Areas Served Transfers Headway Notes
401 Harper's Choice / Clary's Forest Mall in Columbia
Clary's Forest
Harper's Choice Village Center
Wilde Lake Village Center
Howard County General Hospital
Howard Community College
MTA Maryland 150, 203, 305, 310, 315, 320, 325
RTA 402, 403, 404, 406, 407, 408, 501, 503, 505
30 min (weekdays peak)

60 min (off peak)

402 Columbia Crossing / Dobbin Center Mall in Columbia
Dobbin Center
Long Reach MTA Maryland 150, 203, 305, 310, 315, 320, 325
RTA 401, 403, 404, 406, 407, 408, 501, 503, 505
60 min
403 Executive Park Drive Mall in Columbia
Columbia 100 Parkway
Dorsey's Search MTA Maryland 150, 203, 305, 310, 315, 320, 325
RTA 401, 402, 404, 406, 407, 408, 501, 503, 505
60 min
404 Hickory Ridge Mall in Columbia
Hickory Ridge Village Center
King's Contrivance
Hickory Ridge
Howard County General Hospital
Howard Community College
MTA Maryland 150, 203, 305, 310, 315, 320, 325
RTA 401, 402, 403, 406, 407, 408, 501, 503, 505
60 min
405 Ellicott City Ellicott City Walmart

Pine Orchard Lane

Long Gate
Ellicott City
RTA 505 60 min Restructured in 2023. Used to depart

from Mall in Columbia, now departs from Ellicott City Walmart.

406 Columbia Gateway Mall in Columbia
Columbia Gateway
Long Reach
Owen Brown
MTA Maryland 150, 203, 305, 310, 315, 320, 325
RTA 401, 402, 403, 404, 407, 408, 501, 503, 505
60 min As of October 2022. this route

has the lowest ridership out of the entire system.[5]

407 Owen Brown / Kings Contrivance Mall in Columbia
King's Contrivance Village Center
Owen Brown
Oakland Mills
King's Contrivance
MTA Maryland 150, 203, 305, 310, 315, 320, 325
RTA 401, 402, 403, 404, 406, 408, 501, 503, 505
60 min
408 Lark Brown / Waterloo Mall in Columbia
Waterloo Park
Long Reach
Owen Brown
East Columbia/Columbia Gateway Office Park
Waterloo
MTA Maryland 203, 310, 320
RTA 401, 402, 403, 404, 406, 407, 501, 503, 505
60 min
409 Elkridge Corners Town Centre Laurel
Elkridge
Elkridge
Jessup
Savage
Laurel
MARC Camden Line
MTA Maryland 320
Metrobus 87, 89, 89M, Z7
RTA 301, 302, 409, 501, 502, 503
60 min Extension to Lansdowne Station and

Halethorpe MARC is proposed[5] Would provide connections: MTA Maryland 32, CityLink YELLOW MARC Penn Line

414 (Not Operating) Kings Contrivance Mall in Columbia
King's Contrivance Village Center
King's Contrivance Village Center MTA Maryland 150, 203, 305, 310, 315, 320, 325
RTA 401, 402, 403, 404, 406, 407, 408, 501, 503, 505
60 min Stopped service in 2020.
500-series regional routes
Route Route Name Termini Areas Served Transfers Headway Notes
501 Columbia / Arundel Mills Mall in Columbia
Arundel Mills
Jessup
South Elkridge
MTA Maryland 75, 150, 201, 203, 305, 310, 315, 320, 325
RTA 401, 402, 403, 404, 406, 407, 408, 409, 502, 503, 505

MARC Camden Line

60 min As of October 2022, this route has the highest ridership

out of the entire system.[5] Extension to BWI Airport is proposed in the 2023 TDP. Would provide connections: MTA Maryland Light RailLink MARC Penn Line

502 Laurel / Arundel Mills Town Centre Laurel
Arundel Mills
Laurel
Maryland City
Metrobus 87, 89, 89M, Z7
MTA Maryland 17, 75, 201
RTA 301, 302, 409, 501
45 min (weekday peak)

60 min (weekday off-peak)

90 min (weekend)

This is the only route to have a 90-minute headway.
503 Laurel / Columbia Mall in Columbia
Town Centre Laurel
Laurel
Savage
Owen Brown
Metrobus 87, 89, 89M, Z7
MTA Maryland 17, 201, 203, 310, 320
RTA 301, 302, 401, 402, 403, 404, 406, 407, 408, 409, 501, 502, 505
60 min
505 Columbia / Catonsville Mall in Columbia

Walmart Catonsville

Columbia

Ellicott City Catonsville

MTA Maryland 77, 150, CityLink PURPLE, 203, 305, 310, 315, 320, 325

RTA 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 408, 501, 503

60 min Added in 2023. First route to connect to an MTA Maryland CityLink bus.

Also the first route to serve Baltimore County. The proposed 409 extension will be the second, also connecting to a CityLink bus.

Hubs

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RTA has a number of transit hubs where numerous bus lines meet. They include:

Fares

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Bus fare can be purchased on the bus, at certain library branches, senior centers, online for shipping, and through the Transit app.[6]

Type Fare (USD)
One-Way Fare

*available on the bus or through the Transit app

$2.00
Daily Pass
*only sold through the Transit app
$5.00
10-Ride Ticket Book

*available online for shipping or in-person

$15.00
Monthly Pass

*available online, in-person, or through the Transit app

$40.00
Children Under 5 years old Free
Seniors over 60 years old or Persons with Disabilities Free
Middle/High School Students (Yearly)

*available through the Transit app

Free
Howard Community College Students (Yearly)

*available through the Transit app

Free
Monthly Pass (Student) $20.00

Fixed-route fleet

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Builder and model name Model year Quantity Vehicles in service Notes
Ford Cutaway 2014 5 5 Truck bus
Ford Cutaway 2017 1 1 Truck bus
BYD K9S 2016 3 3 All-electric bus
El Dorado E-Z Rider 32' 2017 7 7
El Dorado E-Z Rider 32' 2018 6 6
El Dorado E-Z Rider 32' 2019 2 2
El Dorado E-Z Rider 32' 2022 11 11
Gillig Low Floor HEV 35' 2008 2 2 Hybrid bus
Gillig Low Floor HEV 35' 2009 1 1 Hybrid bus
Gillig Low Floor HEV 35' 2011 3 3 Hybrid bus
Gillig Low Floor 29' 2002 3 0
El Dorado HC Series 28' 2014 1 0 Truck bus

Proposed improvements

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In October 2023, RTA released the final draft of the Central Maryland Transit Development Plan (TDP), proposing future changes and improvements to RTA bus service between Fiscal Years 2024 and 2028.[5]

Fiscal Year 2024

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Two of FY2024's three proposed changes were already carried out in July 2023; namely, the 405 restructure and addition of the 505 route.

The third one proposes extending route 409 to Lansdowne Station Shopping Center. This would make the 409 the second RTA route to provide service into Baltimore County. Notably, this extension would provide a connection onto the MARC's Penn Line at Halethorpe and MTA Maryland's CityLink YELLOW, LocalLink 32, and LocalLink 29 buses to destinations in Baltimore City and County.

Fiscal Year 2025

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Two proposals exist for the 2025 fiscal year: a new route between Columbia and the Johns Hopkins Applied Research Lab, and a pilot to develop microtransit along the US Route 1 corridor.

Fiscal Year 2026

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The first proposal involves extending the 501 to BWI Airport, and the third involves a new express route between Columbia and the airport.

A new route between Columbia and Elkridge is proposed, eliminating the need to transfer from 501 to 409 at Maryland Food Center.

The third proposal proposes extending Montgomery County's FLASH BRT service to Downtown Columbia, creating a fast connection to Washington, DC.

Fiscal Year 2027

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In the fiscal year 2027, proposals exist for creating a new route from Columbia or Laurel to Fort Meade, and extending FY2025's Catonsville to ARL route to Clarksville. This extension would provide transit in an area with currently none.

Fiscal Year 2028

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Proposals for this year include a new route from Laurel to Bowie and a new route from Columbia to Maple Lawn.

References

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  1. ^ "RTA Appoints New General Manager: Cristin Tolen" (Press release). Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland. November 30, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  2. ^ Amanda Yeager (March 27, 2014). "Howard, Anne Arundel join to form new Regional Transportation Agency". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  3. ^ Candy Thomson (22 April 2013). "Howard, Anne Arundel officials lobby for regional bus system Transit lines would link communities to major employment centers". The Baltimore Sun.
  4. ^ "Routes 405_505_Planning – Welcome to RTA". Retrieved 2023-11-19.
  5. ^ a b c d "RTA of Central Maryland Transit Development Plan" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 November 2023. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  6. ^ "Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland".
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