By Brandon BieltzApril 28, 2011
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. - Still trying to fight through traffic during your morning commute' Is the high cost of gas making you think twice about driving to work'
An alternative solution for commuters' woes may be closer than you think.
A new local service is designed to help community members find more efficient ways to get to and from work.
The Transportation Resource Information Point, or TRIP, officially launched its website on April 21. "It brings everything transit to one point," said Matthew Costa, Fort Meade Mobility coordinator with the Central Maryland Regional Transit. "It's all here together."
TRIP is a non-profit organization that was developed by the Central Maryland Regional Transit with the help of the Maryland Transit Administration. The organization was funded by the national Jobs Access and Reverse Commute grant, which develops and maintains transportation services that help welfare recipients and other low-income individuals get to and from jobs, training and child care.
The website, MDtrip.org, is free and open to all. It offers numerous features that help commuters travel from point A to point B in a service area that consists of five counties - Carroll, Baltimore, Harford, Howard and Anne Arundel - as well as Baltimore City and Annapolis.
Commuters can find a collection of private and public transportation services online, among them Howard Transit, Maryland Transportation Authority buses and taxi services.
"Half the battle is letting people know what's available," Costa said. "It's all about making people aware."
Another feature of the website is a real-time bus schedule that gives commuters up-to-date information on the times of stops. A list of schedules and fares for various forms of transportation is also available on the website.
Using a Google Maps application, travelers can plan their entire trip prior to leaving home - showing how long the trip will take using different sources of transportation. The program also lists departure times of the transportation sources.
"It's a pretty powerful feature," Costa said of the trip planner.
Bert Rice, Fort Meade's director of transformation, said the installation command is taking the traffic resulting from the Base Realignmet and Closure seriously.
Since the beginning of BRAC, installation officials have looked into ways to promote commuting. Initiatives include a shuttle to and from the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) station in Odenton, an internal shuttle and the creation of a multi-occupancy vehicle gate for the morning commute.
The initiatives are growing by word of mouth, but Rice expects ridership to increase over time. However, people need to trust the new forms of transportation, Rice said.
"People have to know there's reliable transportation," he said.
For more information on TRIP, visit MDtrip.org or call 877-331-8747.