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Neighborhoodsby Fern Shen1:25 pmJul 21, 20100

MTA suspends plan to eliminate bus stops, after Baltimore transit advocates protest

Are Maryland Transit Administration officials trying to control crime around Baltimore bus stops by. . . eliminating the bus stops?

That’s what angry transit advocates said yesterday when they got wind of a plan – suspended now, according to an MTA spokesman reached this morning – to eliminate an unspecified number of bus stops around Mt. Vernon.

“If crime or loitering is the issue, this is taking the lazy way out and punishing passengers,” said Nathaniel Payer, vice president of the Transit Riders Action Council.

“These are obviously well-used stops,” said Payer, who lives in Mt. Vernon and sent out a press alert yesterday protesting the closures, meant to take effect today.

Payer noted that the stops to be cut included some used by elderly and disabled passengers near the Westminster Apartment complex and the Waxter Center and complained that there was no warning on the MTA’s website about the closures.

“This certainly took transit users by surprise,” Payer said, in a phone interview yesterday.

The MTA is offering few specifics so far today about why they wanted to eliminate the stops, or whether it’s true, what Payer said he has heard from community leaders – that the agency was responding to police complaints about drug dealing and loitering at the stops.

“The administration heard about passenger concerns and suspended the closures so the matter could be properly evaluated,” said MTA spokesman David Clark.

Signs are going up this morning saying the bues will continue to operate,” Clark said.

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