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The first in what became a number of subscription bus services began traveling to Fort Meade on Feb. 1.

The I-95 corridor bus stops at Route 630, Route 234, Route 123 and Springfield in Northern Virginia before traveling to Fort Meade. The I-66 corridor bus stops at Manassas, Centreville and Stringfellow. The Waldorf bus stops at St. Charles and Clinton.

All buses make stops at the Defense Information Systems Agency, Defense Media Activity and Defense Adjudication Activities.

In the past six months, more than 4,000 DISA employees began commuting to Fort Meade as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure process. BRAC is an effort by the federal government to close excess military installations and realign assets in an effort to save money and increase efficiency.

The DISA, DMA and DAA employees, who were previously housed in Virginia, are now commuting to Fort Meade. Currently, the I-95 service operates three buses, and the I-66 and Waldorf services operate one bus.

"DISA has been working with the Central Maryland Regional Transit Corporation to provide subscription bus support for the employees of the agency," said William McAlpin, Chief, Manpower and Personnel System Support for DISA. "The routes that have been developed originate from locations that are based on preferences identified in several surveys of the workforce. CMRT has provided expert advice and recommendations on the management of buses that will provide this service."

CMRT, in coordination with MeadeRide, has developed the subscription bus service with the singular goal of reducing traffic at Fort Meade.

"Subscription bus service is a commuting option that will become more popular in time," said John Powell, CMRT's chief executive officer. "Employees who work on and around Fort Meade will discover that riding a deluxe motor coach is a lot more enjoyable and less expensive than driving a car."

To access subscription bus service, passengers must agree to utilize the service through the purchase of 10-rides or monthly passes. Passengers have two options for payment: the Transportation Incentive Program or PayPal accessed through the CMRT website.

Riders will find the CMRT commute very comfortable. Through CMRT's two contractors, Martz and Pullen Tours, the deluxe buses are equipped with comfortable seating, Wi-Fi and, on the I-95 route, a restroom.

CMRT is considering expanding route service to include service from Columbia, and from Herndon and Fairfax in Virginia.

"We need to find alternatives to the individual automobile if we are ever going to reduce pollution and become more energy independent," Powell said. "For Fort Meade and central Maryland, we also need to find a way to reduce traffic. Subscription bus service will help."

For more information or to sign up for subscription bus service, call 1-800-270-9553, option 5 or e-mail my.ride@cmrtransit.org or visit www.MeadeRide.com.

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