'They're cutting us off,' No. 63 bus riders say MTA restructuring will affect service in Brooklyn Park

January 15, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

For most of her 45 years in Pumphrey, Regina B. Griffin could count on the No. 63 bus to come rumbling down Belle Grove

Road to carry her wherever she needed to go.

Not anymore.

The Mass Transit Administration's restructuring, scheduled to take effect Feb. 11, includes dropping the No. 63 bus line. Mrs. Griffin wonders how she will get around.

"I don't drive at all, so I depend on the bus and light rail for my transportation," said Mrs. Griffin, 75. "I would love to see, if not that bus, then a substitute."

That's not likely to happen.

State Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, a Democrat who represents Brooklyn Park, tried to save the line.

"Some of these people are completely dependent on the bus. Their work schedules are arranged around it," Mr. Jimeno said.

The MTA said the line is being cut because its 13 percent fare-box recovery fails to meet a state requirement that 50 percent of operating expenses be collected from riders.

No. 63 runs Monday through Friday between the North Linthicum light rail stop and Riviera Beach. On Feb. 12, bus No. 64, which runs to downtown Baltimore, will take over a portion of the route. Its route will not, however, include Mrs. Griffin's neighborhood, the segment between Pennington Avenue, Church Street, Belle Grove Road and Ritchie Highway.

"It's like they're cutting us off altogether. The light rail is there, but you're just not able to make that long hike without the buses," said Alfreda S. Rivers, 50. "We really need it."

Mrs. Rivers has a car, but cannot afford parking in downtown Baltimore, where she works as an office assistant for the state Department of Health.

For 10 years, she has caught the bus from her home in the 5800 block of Belle Grove Road, more recently, since light rail opened, to the North Linthicum station. Now, she'll have to walk eight blocks to the station.

Her neighbor, Valerie E. Oliver, who lives in the 100 block of Berlin Ave., is in the same situation. She doesn't drive, and she's not happy with the MTA.

"They don't think about the inconvenience to people," said Mrs. Oliver, 44, a customer service representative at the Glen Burnie office of the Motor Vehicle Administration. "If they had the inconvenience of it, they would think twice about it."

Constance B. Langford, a lifelong Pumphrey resident, served on an MTA citizen's advisory committee for five years until her term ended last summer. The No. 63 bus passes near her house in the first block of St. Charles Road as it rolls down Belle Grove Road.

She used to catch the bus on the corner and take it to the North Linthicum station, where she transferred for a ride to her courthouse job on Calvert Street in Baltimore. Recently, it has become easier for her to drive to the station.

Mrs. Langford occasionally picks up friends at the light rail station, if they miss the bus or need a ride. She knows the MTA changes will affect them.

Losing bus No. 63 is "really going to be a hardship for all the residents in the surrounding area," she said.

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