Transportation in Baltimore.
Whether you’re arriving in or departing from Baltimore - or just needing to move around the city itself; you’ll find that the Baltimore transportation system is as comprehensive and efficient as anywhere else in the USA. You can arrive in or leave Baltimore by land, sea or air and travelling within the city can be accomplished both overland and by sea. In short, whatever you’re preferred method of transportation is - Baltimore can offer it.
Within Baltimore itself there are several public transportation systems operated by the Maryland Transit Authority (MTA). The Light Rail service is heavily used by commuters as it connects Baltimore with Hunt Valley to the north of the city with the international airport and Cromwell to the south of the city. The Light Rail makes a dozen or so stops in the city itself as it winds its way in a generally north-south route, whilst passing through Penn Station; for anyone needing a transportation link via an Amtrak service. There is also the MARC train service (Maryland Regional Commuters) which services commuters from further afield to Baltimore. This service stops at four stations in Baltimore, including the major Penn station. The MARC transportation system has three main lines connecting Baltimore and its suburbs to Washington DC, Brunswick and Camden. Interestingly the Camden line is the oldest railway transportation line in the country, having started operating in 1830. Serving the north of the city is a Metro Subway transportation system. This service loops from the north-east to the north west of the city center, with its Charles Center stop being the most convenient one for the city center and the Convention Center. Several MTA bus companies offer transportation services around the city center and to the outlying suburbs.
As well as being able to hire a taxi in Baltimore - you can hire a water taxi, which is both a pleasant change to using the road or rail services and, by and large, quicker - as there’s no traffic congestion. Water taxi services work the main wharfs of the Inner Harbor - Fells Point - North West Harbor area, but also offer transportation as far south as Fort McHenry. Whilst the sights might not be as alluring as those from a Venetian water-taxi; they do, however, give you a different perspective of the city.
If you’re determined to use your own car in and around Baltimore for your transportation, expect the usual irritations of congested roads and a seemingly un-navigable system of one way streets. Parking seems to be at a premium in this city, and looking for a parking space will add to your frustration. If they’re not too far from your destination head for one of the ‘Inner Harbor’ garages, but be aware that you’ll find them cheapest outside of office hours.
Most international and long haul internal travelers will use Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) just 10 miles south of the Baltimore city centre. International destinations are mainly for major European cities, a few Asian and continental America ones; alongside these are services to at least one destination in most states of the USA. Whilst you can drive to and park at the airport, you can also hire a taxi to or from it. Alternative transportation is offered by bus services connecting the airport to the city center or one of the train/light rail transportation options to and from Penn Station in the city center and some suburban stations. If you’re travelling to Baltimore-Washington Airport from out of town, Amtrak services also stop at the BWI station.
The Baltimore Greyhound Coach terminal is on West Fayette Street, east of the city center and near the Lexington Market. Greyhound coaches connect Baltimore to all major USA cities and you won’t find a cheaper transportation system for getting around America if you’re on a budget. Running a close second as a relatively cheap way to get around the USA, is by using the train. The main railway transportation station in Baltimore is Penn Station on North Charles Street, around a mile north of the city center. Amtrak offer rail services all over the USA and into Canada from here.
Baltimore Port is also operated by the MTA. Whilst it is mainly for cargo transportation Cruise ships also dock here - using Baltimore as one of their destinations.