Courtesy of Katie Tam The Charm City Circulator provides free transport from Charles Village to other areas of Baltimore.
Public transportation, especially in an unfamiliar city, can be daunting. But you’re in luck, because in this article I’m going to break down everything you need to know about public transportation around Hopkins and Baltimore (okay maybe not EVERYTHING, but you have Google for that, right?).
First things first, the JHMI shuttle aka “The Jimmy.” This free Hopkins-run shuttle will take you from Homewood Campus to the medical campus with stops at Penn Station, North Avenue and Peabody. Monday through Friday, the JHMI runs about every 15 minutes. On the weekends you can expect a shuttle about every 45 minutes.
In my experience it’s pretty reliable, so take advantage of it. If you are looking to do research at the medical campus, you’ll probably be taking the JHMI to get there. Peabody is in Mount Vernon, a neighborhood where you can find great food (I recommend Indochine if you like pho) and interesting things to do. The Walters Art Museum hosts a Chinese New Year festival every year where our very own Yong Han Lion Dance troupe performs.
Next up, we have the Blue Jay Shuttle. This free shuttle runs from 5:50 p.m. to midnight seven days a week. Designated signs mark stop locations at various on- and off-campus buildings and retail stores. The Blue Jay Shuttle also offers an on-demand Night Ride service from 11:30 p.m. to 3:45 a.m. within the service area. This is a good option if you find yourself off campus on a cold winter’s night. There is a stop at a nearby Giant, so if you ever want to make a grocery run, the Blue Jay Shuttle is a great way to go.
Be sure to download the “Rider” app on your smartphone to keep track of where the Blue Jay Shuttles and the JHMI are located.
If you ever feel the urge to go shopping, the free Collegetown Shuttle is a good option. This shuttle connects several other universities in the area, and you will need to show your J-Card to board. Both red and blue routes offer service to Towson Town Center, a shopping mall with a food court, shops and access to a nearby movie theater. The red route will take you to Towson Place, a shopping plaza with Walmart, Target, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Weis Markets. Pro tip for anyone else that came from areas where heavy duty winter clothes were not needed: Marshalls and TJ Maxx both have great selections of winter coats for not-so-outrageous prices, so check those out. I will warn you, service is not super great with the Collegetown Shuttle. It often comes late, and the schedule changes depending on the day, so be sure to check their website.
The Charm City Circulator is another way to get around Baltimore. It’s a free bus for the general public and is usually reliable. There are many different routes that take you all over the city, but I mostly use the Purple Route to get to the Inner Harbor. A friend introduced me to Chicken Rico, a Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken restaurant, and it’s become a favorite of mine, so we try to go whenever we’re in the area. Just like with any other public transportation service, be aware of your belongings and surroundings and you’ll be fine.
Keep track of the Circulator from your smartphone with the “NextBus” app which tracks all the shuttles in real-time.
Finally, the MARC. The MARC is a train that leaves from Penn Station and arrives in Washington D.C. with various stops in between, including one at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The MARC is probably my favorite transportation service in Baltimore. A one-way ticket to D.C. is $8. Last year I took at least four trips to D.C. There’s just so much to see and do. The trip takes about an hour and trains run roughly every hour.
One of my favorite memories from freshman year was when a friend and I decided to take the last MARC train of the night out of D.C. in order to go on our own night-time tour of the monuments. The JHMI made it convenient to get back to campus from Penn Station, and we were even able to fit in a late-night study session when we got back.
Another great experience was the Halloween party at the Peabody Library in Mount Vernon. Again, the JHMI made getting there super easy, and we had a scary good time (sorry I couldn’t help myself). Baltimore has so much to offer, so don’t be afraid to get out of the Hopkins Bubble and explore the city. Trust me, you won’t regret it.