Ed Montano scrolled quickly through his phone as he waited at the bus stop on Frederick’s Square Corner for a ride home Monday afternoon.
Montano, who works for the U.S. Postal Service, had been on vacation and hadn’t heard about the changes that TransIT Services of Frederick County made to its schedule, which went into effect Monday.
The move cancels peak-hour service for three hours in the morning and afternoon service on the system’s 20, 40, 50, 51 and 60 connector routes, and all service on the 10B, 51 and 61 connectors, and the Brunswick-Jefferson, Emmitsburg-Thurmont and North Frederick shuttles, as well as all Meet-the-MARC shuttles, until future notice.
The 65 connector, which runs from Walkersville to downtown Frederick, will move to a Saturday schedule for the week, according to a release from TransIT.
Montano looked at the two or three other people gathered under a small overhang as a misty rain fell and shrugged.
“I guess we’re all walking together if the bus doesn’t come,” he said.
Service was reduced to limit the exposure of county employees to COVID-19, especially those who are in populations that might be more vulnerable to the virus’s effects, TransIT spokeswoman Kendall Tiffany said in an email Monday.
The routes that were canceled were chosen because they have similar services running, she said.
“For example, the #10b was removed but we still have the #10a running,” she wrote. “The #51 was removed because we still have the #50 running the same route just the opposite direction. And the #61 was removed because the #60 is still running a similar route just in the opposite direction.”
The other shuttles were cut because of low ridership, she said.
With Gov. Larry Hogan urging Marylanders to use only MARC Metro, and other services if they are medical or emergency personnel or other essential workers, Tiffany said the Meet-the-MARC ridership had dropped to nearly zero.
After a minute or two on the TransIT website, Montano discovered that his 40 route bus, outside the peak-hour time frame, was indeed still running.
He’s been riding the bus for a while, although now he only takes it home because the service doesn’t run when he goes to work.
“You get to talk to a few people that you probably wouldn’t talk to normally,” he said.
Reassured that his ride would be coming, he put his phone away and settled in to wait.