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This Bus Comes to You

Southern AACo gets rides on demand

      South County Call N’ Ride is a new on-demand ride-share service for Southern Anne Arundel County residents who can’t drive or depend on others willing help to get where they want to go. Previous shuttle programs took over an hour to run one loop. The new service, launched in August, provides curb-to-curb service.

         “All you have to do is call at least two hours in advance to request a ride,” says Kris Smith with the Community Alliance of South County, who introduced the service at a meeting at the Deale Library. “For travel between 7am and 9am, call the night before between 5 and 7pm.”

          South County Call N’ Ride covers three zones within Southern Anne Arundel, reaching south from Edgewater to the Calvert County line, east down the Mayo Peninsula and west toward Waysons Corner.

         The three county-operated 12-seat buses run Monday through Friday, 7am to 7pm, excluding holidays. “The more it gets used, the larger the service can become,” Smith promised.

         Riders can go as far north as the Edgewater Library, where they can catch the Gold line bus to Annapolis’ Westfield Mall.

         The fare is $2 each way, with discounts for riders with student or Medicare ID. Riders under age 16 must travel with an accompanying adult. Riders under age five are free. Exact change is required.

         Smith and Anne Arundel County Department of Transportation officer Ramond Robinson urge riders to be flexible and allow plenty of time between pickups and drop-offs as any kinks are worked out of the system.

         “It’s not a perfect system,” said Robinson. “But we will be working to keep it consistent. If it’s taking an hour to get you somewhere, then we know something’s wrong with our system, and we will work to fix it.”

         Organizers are also discussing voucher programs to increase ridership and visibility, as well as promoting the buses in low-income areas to help people travel to the SCAN food pantry at St. James church for their monthly food pickups.

         “This on-demand model works well because we are no longer running the loop with an empty bus,” Robinson said. “We wanted 30 passengers a day, and some days we had zero.”

         To schedule a pickup, call 410-222-0025 (two hours prior); let the dispatcher know if you need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle and the address of both pickup and drop-off locations. ­Questions? ­[email protected]