Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Sunday, March 16, 2014

More ways to get off the Eastern Shore without a car

I wrote once before how you can take the Greyhound bus from the Eastern Shore to Baltimore. And I said that the bus was nice and clean. Well, I unfortunately found out that if you are in Baltimore around 5 pm, and want to take the Greyhound back to the Eastern Shore, they hook you up with a bus that's kind of gross.

The other thing I discovered is that the Eastern Shore-Baltimore bus does not run on Thursdays! It runs every day but Thursday.

There is the option of the Eastern Shore-Washington DC Greyhound bus, but that one does not leave until late at night. So what are you to do if you need to get off the Shore early on a Thursday morning without using a car? Never fear, I have it all worked out:

You're going to take the Bay Runner Shuttle. Look them up online and give them a call to reserve. Now, the problem is that the Bay Runner is kind of expensive, but I have a fix.

The Bay Runner has a morning run that picks people up from Ocean City, Salisbury, Cambridge, Easton, and the Garden Hilton Hotel on Kent Island, in that order. The last Shore stop is the Hilton on Kent Island at 6:55 am, after which the shuttle will cross the bridge and continue on to BWI. But you don't want to do all that, because crossing the bridge with the Shuttle will tack an extra $28 onto your bill.

Instead, you are going to get off the Shuttle at Kent Island, and then run 0.7 miles down the highway, under the Kent Narrows bridge, until you reach the park-and-ride lot where the last Dillon/MTA commuter bus will depart at 7 am sharp. This bus only costs $5, and it will not only cross the bridge, but take you all the way to Washington DC. If that's your final destination, great. If not, there's plenty of trains to take you to Baltimore.

Note that this is the very last bus that will depart from Kent Island and get you over the bridge for the entire day, so that is why you have to travel so early. It's a commuter bus and does not run all day. 

So you have 5 minutes to rush on over from the Shuttle stop to the bus stop. Now bear with me, and I will give you all the details.

First, if you really don't have a car, then you will have to be creative in how you get from your house to the Shuttle stop in Ocean City, Salisbury, Cambridge, and Easton. Depending on where you are and the time of year, you might have to get there before dawn. And where I live, the taxis don't run that early. Either ask someone to give you a lift, or you can bike. You might end up having to bike a couple of miles on the highway, but hopefully there won't be many cars that early in the morning, and hopefully you don't live too far away. And hopefully, there will be a place at the shuttle stop to lock up your bike, and hopefully it won't rain while your bike is parked out there.

Second, suppose you live in Cambridge, and the Bay Runner Shuttle morning loop is supposed to depart from there at 6 in the morning. You should get there much earlier - like 5:45 - because there's a good chance the shuttle will be early, and most other passengers are also usually early, and if everyone is early, the Shuttle will depart earlier than normal. That is good, because remember you are on a tight timeline for transferring from the Shuttle to the bus, and the more extra minutes you have, the better.

The time I did this, I got off the Bay Runner Shuttle at the Garden Hilton Hotel on Kent Island at 6:48 sharp. It was lucky I had those few extra minutes to play with, because I immediately got confused. The layout of the place was not at all as the Google map I had studied. I rushed to the road by the parking lot, and was getting ready to go in the entirely wrong direction, when I saw the bridge. So you should do the same: look for the bridge (it is huge and massive and glinting in the first rays of sunrise) and then run towards it. Never mind that you are on a highway and there's not really a sidewalk, and you'll have to manage on the narrow shoulder. That's all okay, because the cars will slow down when they see you. If you hitch a frantic look onto your face, I believe it will have some effect.

It gets even more confusing, because you have to cross the highway at some point, and there's several lanes and two bridges going in opposite directions. But by now you should be close enough to see the cars in the Park-and-Ride, and you'll probably also see the bus, which is waiting for last-minute stragglers, so just work your way towards them. I ended up running down the big grassy hill, because I could not bear it if the bus were to pull out right in front of me at that moment, after all my planning and plotting.

Once you get on the bus, catch your breath, pay the driver the $5, and settle down and relax for the next hour till you reach the nation's Capitol. And congratulations on having made it off the Shore on a Thursday morning without a car!

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