Friday, February 10, 2012
A free bus you say? Yep, it's true. Baltimore has a free city bus called the Charm City Circulator and it is fantastic!
Since I have moved to Baltimore, I have used the Circulator many times to access parts of the city that are too far to walk to. With stops close to my apartment, it is extremely easy to jump on and off the Circulator when I want to go to the Inner Harbor or Fell's Point and I don't feel like fighting for a parking space. Though the bus timetable says it stops only every fifteen minutes, I have never waited more than seven to get on and the wait is usually even less than that. The bus drivers are friendly, especially if you say hi and thank you to them, and will always wait for you if they see you running up the street trying to catch a ride.
Taking the Circulator to circulate Baltimore is a relaxing thing. It is usually easy to find a seat on the bus and the interior is brightly lit,clean, and monitored with security cameras. The bus drivers don't tolerate anyone sleeping on the bus and are quick to scold the offender with a disapproving shout. The fact that the Circulator is entirely free makes taking it for a ride a no-brainer. I love the fact that I don't have to scramble for exact change whenever I want a ride and that I don't have to include the cost of the bus in my Friday night budget.
Sponsoring a free city bus is a brilliant move on Baltimore's part. Having a free bus encourages people to explore different areas of the city and makes the city accessible to everyone. It promotes restaurants that are farther away and keeps foot traffic thriving. The free Circulator makes it easy for people to take public transportation and cuts down on car traffic and drunk driving, especially on the weekends.
I know the Circulator isn't really free (we are paying for it in Baltimore taxes) but it still feels like it is when I take it for a ride. In my mind, the Circulator feels like a nice "Thank You" gift from Baltimore to its citizens for living here and for keeping the city in business. I certainly appreciate the gift of a free ride and I know many others do too. I hope that other cities can adopt this great idea and that they do it soon!