This section contains frequently asked questions for a variety of audiences, including TRIP visitors, members or prospective members. If you have questions that are not answered here, feel free to contact TRIP at 877-331-TRIP (8747).
Public transportation is available in each of the twenty-four (24) counties of Maryland and Washington, DC. Currently, TRIP lists information for public transportation services in Washington, DC, Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard and Prince George's Counties.
What type of public transportation information can I find on this website? The wide range of Maryland public transportation services found on this website includes:
Public transportation is an easy and convenient alternative to gridlocked commutes and high gas prices. Compared to driving, public transit is less expensive and better for the environment. It also significantly reduces traffic congestion, saves energy and benefits the communities it serves. More and more, Maryland residents are relying on public transportation to get to and from their workplaces, doctor’s appointments, shopping malls and recreation places.
Alternative commuting generally refers to taking a mode of transportation other than a personal vehicle. Public transit on fixed-route vehicles is often viewed as an alternative commute but there are other options.
Ridesharing is sharing your commute in a private vehicle instead of driving alone. It is an ideal option for commuters in suburban or rural areas, where busses are infrequent, and it works well in urban areas where parking is limited and/or expensive. On the TRIP website, you can find links to Rideshare Coordinators in each county of Maryland that will assemble, match and follow up with potential rideshare candidates.
Carpools and Vanpools
Carpools involve yourself and at least one other person. Vanpools usually consist of four (4) to fifteen (15) people. A designated pick-up location is typically set, and riders share the costs (tolls, gas, parking, etc.) of travel. Carpool and vanpool users also get to drive in specified carpool lanes on Maryland highways.
People in carpools and vanpools typically use privately owned cars. Car sharing involves using a fleet of cars owned either by a car sharing service provider, or using a car that is owned collectively by the car share members. The entire process is most often self-service, with reservations made via the Internet or telephone.
This is an affordable and eco-friendly way to get around in Maryland and may be used in conjunction with public transportation or another alternative transportation method. Bike racks are continuously being added on buses, train cars and near buildings.
Telecommuting means working from home, and this option is generally available through programs offered by employers at the workplace. It targets the commuters who are going back and forth on our roads to fulfill work obligations. Estimates state that over four (4) million Americans work from home, and many more telecommute part-time. As voice and video-conferencing technologies such as Skype and GoToMeeting.com become more popular, it is likely that the trend will continue to grow.
The TRIP Transit Directory is a web-driven database that provides a single point of entry for consumers seeking information on public, private and specialized transportation services.
The TRIP website is regularly updated and reviewed by TRIP personnel and participating transit agencies and transportation providers. While many of the transportation options on TRIP, such as trains, run on fixed schedules, these transit providers will post service alerts that can be accessed from this website.
Other information and features on the TRIP website are regularly updated. For instance, the Trip Planner is powered by Google Transit and allows for current updates. With GPS technology, some information like real-time bus departures are displayed with up-to-the-minute adjustments to bus schedules as well as a recalculation of estimated arrival times.
If you follow a few simple guidelines, carpooling/vanpooling is a safe way to commute. In most instances, ridesharing services screen people for driver's licenses and driving records as well as personal references if necessary.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that public transportation be accessible to passengers with disabilities. Paratransit works in conjunction with fixed public transportation routes, in which vans, mini-buses or shuttles are used to provide shared-ride services. Some systems pick up passengers along a given route, while other systems offer on-demand service from any origin to any destination within a service area.
When you become a TRIP member, you will be able to help provide more comprehensive information regarding transit options to people throughout the Baltimore metropolitan region. Through TRIP, you can communicate news and announcements about your group or organization. You will also gain exposure to new customers, which may allow you to expand your existing customer base.
Carpooling/vanpooling saves you money, is environmentally friendly, helps reduce traffic congestion and is a great way to meet new people.
The TRIP program was initiated by two entities, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and Central Maryland Regional Transit (CMRT). In 2005, the MTA received federal funding designated for highway and transit programs. In fiscal year 2008-2009, CMRT received a portion of JARC grant funds, which were allotted to the purchase of software for a database. CMRT and the MTA then worked together to assess the transportation needs, issues and constraints of the commuting public. This information, along with information collected from various service providers, is what populates the TRIP website.
The Trip Planner is a fast and intuitive web-based program that is powered by Google Transit, which enables a user to enter his/her specifics (starting location, destination stop, departure times and arrival). Once the information is entered, the program pulls up available public transportation schedules to plot out the most efficient itinerary (not all public transit agencies and providers are part of the Google Transit Planner). Starting locations and/or destinations can be entered as a street address, intersection or city/town name.
The real-time bus departure tool uses NextBus, a proprietary, predictive GPS technology, to deliver real-time departure information when and where public transit users need it. NextBus provides actual arrival information that is updated at regular intervals by using satellite technology and advanced computer modeling to track vehicles on their routes. By taking into account the actual position of the bus, the intended stops and the typical traffic patterns, NextBus estimates the vehicle’s arrival with a high degree of accuracy.
Service alerts are notifications provided by transit agencies to notify riders about service disruptions and traffic conditions that may delay transit vehicle arrivals and departures. Weather-related closings, delays and other circumstances that may affect a customer’s commute, will be included in this section.
The TRIP program is a one-stop website for all things transit related in the Baltimore metropolitan region. We provide customers, human services agencies and partner organizations with a wealth of information on a wide range of transit services. In addition, we provide a hotline for immediate assistance—just dial 877-331-TRIP (8747).