Carroll Transit System Transition
Westminster, MD
02/23/2015 01:58 PM

Carroll Transit System operated by Butler Mobility started operations on Tuesday, February 17th. Butler took the reins in providing transportation services for the county as a result of a competitive bid process as required periodically by the Maryland Transit Authority (MTA). This process was handled through the county’s usual procurement procedure.


Butler Mobility was the winning bidder and was awarded the county contract. Their bid offer a more competitive price as well as more robust service opportunities.


Beyond the county contract, the prior service provider, Carroll Area Transit Service (CATS), also had separate contracts to provide private service to three local non-profit organizations; Change, Inc., The ARC of Carroll County and Target Services. Over the last several months, these organizations each independently chose to contract with Butler Mobility, rather than CATS, to provide service to their clients. These choices were not associated with the county’s contract or transition.


It was clear months ago, that any transition from a long-term provider for a service as complex and important as county-wide transportation would be a difficult undertaking. As a result, CATS was included in all transition planning meetings and made aware of all facets of the plans. During these meetings they agreed to continue normal operations and assist with reasonable transition requests.


The county and Butler fully expected Cats to act in a professional way and to cooperate with the transition just as they would have expected cooperation if they were on the other side of the transition.


Unfortunately we were disappointed. Over the weekend it became apparent that CATS would be unable to fulfill their obligations and agreements regarding the transition. For example, certain maintenance required under the CATS contract had not been performed on several vehicles which were in disrepair resulting in an inability to use several buses when service opened on Tuesday.


The transition was further hampered when vehicles were returned filthy inside and out and without fuel causing delays. Finally, the county-owned offices vacated by CATS were left without the expected communication systems, phones and internet service. The county made last minute alternative arrangements to ensure Butler could communicate with their clients when they opened. These last minute arrangements were not a perfect solution and led to the phone system troubles and customer frustration experienced as service opened on Tuesday and Wednesday.


Each of these situations was unexpected and caused unnecessary complications that have hamperedthe smooth transition that was anticipated. These issues are being addressed and corrected in turn.


Even without some of the last minute complications, including Tuesday’s weather delays and closures, this transition was a tremendously complex undertaking with many separate components all of which had to fall 100% into place for a totally seamless transition.


We regret the service difficulties that system users have experienced and are working to restore normal operations as quickly as possible. Residents are asked to remain patient and give the system a little time to settle the last few components into place.


Anyone who has questions or concerns regarding the transition may call 410-386-3600. Residents who would like to schedule a ride may call 410-363-0622 or email

Roberta Winddham
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