WMATA wants to eliminate the Greenbelt-BWI bus route. College Park officials disagree.
Elizabeth Fost Maring uses the B30 bus — which goes from Greenbelt Station to the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport — when she travels by plane because public transportation is more economical and environmentally friendly for her family of four.
But that could change if the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority eliminates the bus as part of its 2018 budget proposal.
“We much prefer to take public transportation when we can,” said Maring, a Calvert Hills resident and director of global health initiatives at the University of Maryland. “I walk to work [and] bike to work every day. Our first inclination is to always think about how we could do something without driving. That’s just the way we think about it.”
College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn attended a public hearing at Metro Headquarters on Jan. 30 to speak out against WMATA’s proposal to eliminate the B30 bus. Residents and leaders of surrounding communities spoke out against proposed Metro cuts at the meeting, he said.
The bus allows city residents and visitors to take the bus from Greenbelt Station to BWI, Wojahn said. The bus also supports the College Park City-University Partnership’s 2020 vision to become an innovation hub because it provides easy travel access, he said.
“It helps to really fuel that easy access to the airport … for the people that are living in College Park, the people that are doing innovative work [here] and need other people to easily access them for conferences, for academic work [or] research,” Wojahn said.
Wojahn said one reason WMATA chose to propose the B30 bus cut could be because it only has two stops, and therefore fewer passengers. But a hike, which would raise the $7 price of the bus by a few more dollars, could help pay for the bus and convince Metro to keep it, Wojahn said.
WMATA proposed eliminating the B30 bus a few years ago but did not go through with it because of council opposition.
Maring doesn’t oppose the hike, though she said she worries about BWI employees who use the bus to get to and from work because of the price hike. But if the bus were eliminated completely, “it would limit” her use of BWI and she would travel to Dulles International Airport or Reagan National Airport instead.
The bus runs every 28 minutes daily, and CPCUP Director Eric Olson said the B30 bus is “really a convenient extension of the Green Line,” which runs from Greenbelt to Branch Avenue.
“It connects us to the world, really, in a convenient way that is unlike others,” Olson said.
In November, the College Park City Council sent WMATA a letter opposing the Metro’s budget cuts, which also include a measure to shorten rail-system hours earlier than midnight depending on the day. . While the council does not plan to take further steps to oppose the elimination of the bus, as it already formally wrote the letter, Wojahn and Olson remain hopeful about its fate.
“WMATA leadership should listen to the local jurisdictions here,” Olson said. “And hopefully the arguments that are being made in support of keeping the line are heated.”