CityLink Red (MTA Maryland)

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BaltimoreLink Logo.png CityLink Red
MTA MARYLAND 11087.jpg
SystemMaryland Transit Administration
Began service1963
PredecessorsRoute 8 (1963-2017)
No. 8 Streetcar (1898-1963)
LocaleBaltimore City
Baltimore County
Communities servedTowson
Landmarks servedTowson Town Center
Towson University
Belvedere Square
Senator Theater
Other routes1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 30, 33, 35, 36, qb40, 44, qb46, qb47, qb48, 55, 58, 61, 64, 91, 120, 150, 160
FrequencyEvery 15 minutes
Every 15 minutes (peak)
Weekend frequencyEvery 15-30 minutes
Operates24 hours [1]
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CityLink Red (abbreviated "RD") is a citylink bus route operated by the Maryland Transit Administration in Baltimore and its suburbs. The line currently runs from the University of Maryland Transit Center to the Lutherville Light Rail Stop along the corridors of York Road and Greenmount Avenue, and is one of the most heavily used MTA bus lines.[2] The CityLink Red bus replaced Route 8 bus route due to BaltimoreLink, and is the successor to the 8 Towson and 7 Govanstown streetcar lines.[3]


A former no. 8 streetcar, the predecessor to bus Route 8, at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. This vehicle is currently used to give rides to visitors.

Route 8 was electrified in 1895 as a streetcar running from Towson to Catonsville. Back then, it served the corridors of York Road, Greenmount Avenue, and Frederick Road through downtown Baltimore. Another streetcar, known as "no. 7," operated a short-turn version of this route from Govanstown to Irvington before being absorbed into no. 8 in 1931.[3] In 1963, the line was converted into a bus operation, retaining this route. The no. 8 streetcar was the final streetcar line of Baltimore to undergo a conversion into a bus service. [4]

There were also various branches of Route 8 added over the years to communities including Mt. Washington (added in 1972, designated 8A), Cockeysville (operated 1973-1989, designated 8B), Providence/Springlake (operated 1973-1989, designated 8D and 8E), Eudowood, the Towson State University campus, and Stella Maris nursing home, which opened in 1980.[5] All these services have since been absorbed by other lines or otherwise abolished.[3]

In 1982, Route 8 was split into two separate lines in order to provide improved schedule adherence on each line and varied frequencies of service along each corridor, where demands for service varied. The new Route 8 ran from the center of Towson to the University of Maryland Transit Center, and the new Route 2 from Catonsville to City Hall.[3] Service along Route 2 is currently provided by Route 10.

In 1992, in conjunction with the opening of the Central Light Rail line, Route 8 was extended north of Towson to the Lutherville Light Rail Stop on Ridgely Road except on Sundays.[6] This extension mostly overlapped with Route 9, and this duplication of service during off-peak hours was criticized as costly. Branches to the Towson State campus and Stella Maris, though originally proposed for elimination, continued to operate at this time.

In 1993, MTA, addressing the cost issue of the extension, eliminated Route 9 service between Towson and Lutherville during off-peak weekday hours, and improved the frequency of that line's service on other parts of the route. The Lutherville extension on Saturdays was also discontinued, and on weekends, improved levels of this service were provided on Route 9.[7]

In 2000, MTA combined Routes 8 and 9, and extended selected Route 8 trips from Lutherville to Hunt Valley. This constituted about two-thirds of trips at most times. This consolidation saved costs and allowed single-seat service along the York Road corridor at all times, while making Route 8 one of the longest routes operated by MTA.

Greater Baltimore Bus Initiative changes[edit]

In 2005, as part of the Greater Baltimore Bus Initiative, a comprehensive overhaul of the region's bus service, MTA announced that Routes 8 and 9 would once again be split into two separate lines. This time, all Route 8 trips would operate to/from Lutherville seven days a week, and Route 9 would provide all service on the route north of Ridgely Road. In addition, all other branches on the line would be eliminated. These included those to Loveton, International Circle (both former branches of Route 9), and Stella Maris.[8] And in order to reduce overcrowding of buses, MTA stated that articulated buses, which have a higher seating capacity, would be used on all Route 8 trips.

Service is no longer provided to Loveton by MTA, but a private contractor was chartered by employers in the area to provide shuttle service. In February 2006, all Route 9 were rerouted to International Circle due to complaints about the elimination of this branch.[9] In February 2009, York, Pennsylvania's Rabbit Transit started providing service on its new Route 83S which connects to the light rail.

Stella Maris service[edit]

The Stella Maris branch of Route 8 was also discontinued as a part of GBBI. But due to public outcry, service to Stella Maris is still provided on a new Route 12.[10]


As part of the BaltimoreLink transit overhaul to take place on June 18, 2017, Route 8 will be replaced in its entirety by CityLink Red. [11]

Route 48 Quickbus[edit]

See Route 48.

In popular culture[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Transit Route Performance - 1999" Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine. Baltimore Transit Archives. Retrieved 2010-08-25
  3. ^ a b c d "The Routes of Baltimore Transit: 1900 to today" Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine. Baltimore Transit Archives. Retrieved 2010-08-25
  4. ^ Herbert H. Harwood (2003). Baltimore Streetcars: The Postwar Years. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp 22-29. ISBN 0-8018-7190-5.
  5. ^ Our History Archived 2009-07-06 at the Wayback Machine. Stella Maris. Retrieved 2010-08-25
  6. ^ MTA June 1992 schedule changes
  7. ^ MTA January 1993 schedule changes
  8. ^ MTA Maryland press release (June 9, 2009). "Highlights of proposed bus route changes". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  9. ^ MTA announces winter schedule improvements. MTA press release (January 7, 2006).
  10. ^ Michael Dresser (June 9, 2005). "Sweeping revisions of bus routes proposed". Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  11. ^ "Route 8". BaltimoreLink.
  12. ^ Darrin Keith Bastfield (2003). Back in the day: My life and times with Tupac Shakur. Da Capo Press. pp 52-53.