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Towson's Free Ride Delayed By COVID-19

John Lee

Towson is one step closer to getting free circulator buses, but at the same time COVID-19 is delaying when you will see them rumbling down York Road.

The Baltimore County Council is expected to approve Monday night accepting $1.6 million in federal grant money to pay for 12 buses.

The Towson Circulator, which will operate much like the Charm City Circulator in Baltimore City, was to be up and running later this year, but that’s been pushed back to 2021, according to Sean Naron, press secretary for Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.

Naron said like with so many things, COVID-19 has slowed down the process of getting those buses on the road.

Republican Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson, said COVID delayed when the county received the federal funds.

Towson is growing quickly and traffic congestion is worsening. Marks has been pushing the circulator idea for years.

“There is just no more capacity to build more roads in Towson,” Marks said.

For years, the Towson Circulator idea went nowhere because former County Executive Kevin Kamenetz opposed it. Olszewski supports it, and the project started moving again after he took office last year.

At a recent county council meeting, Beth Miller with Green Towson Alliance said a free circulator will get some people to change how they get around town.

“For many, leaving their car behind is an option they would not otherwise consider unless they have access to a free circulator,” Miller told the council.

Marks said the exact routes for the circulator have not yet been determined.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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