What I Think Maryland Thinks

Yesterday, the Baltimore Sun’s online poll question for What Maryland Thinks was this:

Which Marylander has a better shot of winning his party’s presidential nomination:

Dr. Ben Carson (Republican)
Gov. Martin O’Malley (Democrat)
Not Sure.

When I made my prediction yesterday, I goofed. I didn’t notice that there was an option for ‘Not Sure’ so my prediction had no value for the Not Sure category. Nonetheless, I did pretty well.

My prediction:

Dr. Ben Carson (Republican) 78%
Gov. Martin O’Malley (Democrat) 22%

with 119 votes cast.

Yesterday’s poll results were

Dr. Ben Carson (Republican) 67%
Gov. Martin O’Malley (Democrat) 24%
Not Sure 9%

(117 votes cast).

Despite not accounting for ‘Not Sure’ votes, I’m pleased with the accuracy of my prediction.

Today’s What Maryland Thinks poll question is:

Are plans to cut the Charm City Circulator’s service route and hours preferable to implementing a fee to ride the Baltimore bus?

Not Sure

The Charm City Circulator is a free shuttle bus service in Baltimore. While the Inner Harbor and it’s attractions are enjoyed by thousands of tourists each year, other city destinations (Fells Point, Ft. McHenry, Canton, Locust Point, etc.) can be daunting for the unfamiliar to find. The Circulator provides free transport to any and all among a variety of locations.

Facing budget issues, there are proposals to end the service, begin charging a fare to ride, or cutting back on the service’s hours and routes.

I haven’t been following this question closely but, evidently, the prevailing plan is the pare down the scope of the service.

When the Circulator started, I was very supportive of the idea. I thought both the concept and the no fare approach were forward thinking and positive for the city. I think that reducing the scope of service (assuming that any changes must be made) is the best option. Businesses in those neighborhoods served by the Circulator should be a bit forward thinking and help support the service.

I’m not entirely opposed to charging a fare to ride the Circulator. If such a fare was implemented, I’d like it to be nominal — say, $1. Moreover, I think that one could get a ‘wooden nickel’ or similar token that can be redeemed for $1 worth of food or goods at participating businesses. In this way, the city could collect data reflecting the benefits of running the Circulator for the businesses it serves.

My prediction:

Are plans to cut the Charm City Circulator’s service route and hours preferable to implementing a fee to ride the Baltimore bus?

Yes 61%
No 34%
Not Sure 5%

with 67 votes cast.

I think that rather few people will vote in this poll. Probably, most Sun readers have never ridden the Circulator (I haven’t) and my sense of the demographic that usually votes in these polls is that of people who view Baltimore as a place to go have a good meal or bar crawl while avoiding the crime ridden hell hole they imagine.

If you want to vote, you can do so here.

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2 Responses to What I Think Maryland Thinks

  1. Steph says:

    From what I heard mostly students and young people use the circulator… and I don’t think those people pay attention to polls on the Sun.

    The concept of free public transit is not new. In San Francisco they talked about making Muni free over 10 years ago. It’s a hard sell though. The thing with Baltimore is parking is very easy and cheap comparable to SF or NY. In SF owning a car is prohibitive. But it’s not in Baltimore. So I think free is the way to go here in Baltimore if only to compete with road traffic. And maybe convert more parking into green spaces.

    • Steve says:

      Yeah, I don’t think the service is well known except to locals for whom it’s convenient. On the other hand, if Baltimore wants to be a tourist destination it needs easy ways to spring out from the Inner Harbor.

      As for free public transit, I believe whole heartedly that public transportation should be free. I have no doubt that doing so would result in many (adjusted for complexity) $millions saved.

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