The Mass Transit Administration introduced yesterday the first of seven planned neighborhood shuttle services aimed at providing easier access to bus, light rail and points not served by other transit.
The first of the 30-foot buses - nicknamed "Shuttle Bug" for its ladybug-style wrap - began service in Hampden. The bus completes the 5-mile route within the community every 17 minutes, connecting shops, churches, parks and businesses along its main thoroughfares.
Hampden was a desirable location for beginning the service because of strong support from community and business groups, said MTA spokesman Anthony Brown. And it should save time for residents, he said.
"Instead of walking to the Woodberry light rail stop or one of the regular bus stops, they can connect with a shuttle. It means it will be quicker to get around the community."
A one-way trip costs 50 cents for adults and children 6 or older; 25 cents for seniors or persons with disabilities. Day and monthly transit passes also are accepted.
The MTA is considering similar shuttles for the Owings Mills/Randallstown area and for Middle River/Essex, although no timetable has been set for starting additional services, said Brown.
The Hampden shuttle makes stops at the Woodberry light rail stop, the Rotunda at 40th Street and Keswick Road, 36th Street and Roland Avenue, and Falls Road and 41st Street.
It will operate from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday and holidays.