Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
November 28, 2023

Guide to getting around Baltimore

By HELEN LACEY | August 29, 2023



Lacey explains the transportation options available to Hopkins students looking to get around Baltimore. 

There are abundant options for getting around Baltimore without a car while living on or near the Homewood Campus. From local buses to Hopkins-specific transportation options, exploring Baltimore at a low cost is easy.

Transit app

To get around using public transportation in Baltimore, downloading the Transit app is essential. Simply search your destination in the app, and it will suggest three different bus routes with recommended departure times as well as the walk time to and from each bus stop (try to leave a few minutes before the recommended departure time in case the bus arrives early). 

You can also plan your route in advance on the app by selecting a “leave at” or “arrive by” time. Below the suggested bus routes, the app also shows other options for getting to your destination, such as the time it would take to walk, bike, scooter or use Lyft.

Charm City Circulator

The Charm City Circulator is a free bus system in Baltimore that has four lines. The Orange Route goes from Hollins Market through Harbor East; the Purple Route goes from Federal Hill up to 33rd Street; the Green Route goes from City Hall to the Hopkins Hospital; and the Banner Route goes from the Inner Harbor to Fort McHenry.

This bus system runs from 7 a.m.–8 p.m. from Mondays to Thursdays, 7–12 a.m. on Fridays, 9–12 a.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m.–8 p.m. on Sundays. Although the Transit app recently put the ability to track these buses in real time behind a paywall, the buses will still appear when you search for suggested routes to your destination.

For Hopkins students, the Purple Route is a great option for getting downtown for free.

Local buses 

Local buses are another option for getting around Baltimore, but they are not free. To pay for bus passes, download the CharmPass app. One-way tickets are $2, one-day passes are $4.60, seven-day passes are $22 and 31-day passes are $77. Once you’ve bought a ticket and boarded the bus, simply show the ticket on your phone screen to the driver.

Buses near the Homewood Campus include the 51, 22, Red and Silver lines. The 51 and Red lines go north to Towson and south to the Inner Harbor, while the Silver goes through downtown into South Baltimore. The 22 goes through East Baltimore and is a good option for getting from the Homewood Campus to the Patterson Park area.

Hopkins-specific transportation

The Homewood-Peabody-JHMI Shuttle, colloquially known as the “Jimmy,” is a free bus that stops at the Homewood Campus, North Avenue, Penn Station, the Peabody Institute and Hopkins Hospital. 

The shuttle schedule is provided on the transportation services website. The bus comes every 6 minutes during peak times (weekday mornings and afternoons) but only every 25 minutes on weekends.

All Hopkins-specific transportation can be tracked on the TransLoc app. While the JHMI shuttle is one of the most commonly used services, Hopkins also offers shuttles to the Carey Business School, Hampden, Remington, Bayview and Mt. Washington.

Additionally, the Baltimore Collegetown Shuttle is a free bus that connects the Hopkins, Notre Dame of Maryland University and Towson University campuses. With a stop right outside of Scott-Bates Commons, the shuttle is convenient for heading north of campus.

In the evening, Hopkins offers a Blue Jay Shuttle service, which runs from 6 p.m.–2 a.m. and encompasses the surrounding neighborhoods near the Homewood Campus down to Inner Harbor. 

Because the Blue Jay Shuttle is a carpool service, shuttle rides can sometimes take over half an hour to arrive at a destination a few minutes away, so it is important to consider other transportation options. However, if a shuttle is not booked within 10–15 minutes, you will be sent a free Lyft.

One of the more difficult parts of getting around Baltimore without a car can be grocery shopping. Although Streets Market and CharMar are within close walking distance from most off- and on-campus living spaces, they often have small and overpriced food selections.

The Blue Jay Shuttle is convenient for grocery shopping at Giant in Hampden or Waverly. Although it is possible to walk to either store, walking back with bags full of groceries is not ideal.

Bikes and scooters

Bikes and scooters are a convenient way to get around Baltimore if you don’t want to spend any downtime waiting at bus stops. While not every road in Baltimore is bike-friendly, biking up and down Charles Street or St. Paul Street is a quick way to travel north and south through Baltimore.

If you aren’t able to bring your own bike or scooter to Baltimore, there are electric LINK scooters throughout the city available for rent. Scooters typically cost $1 to unlock and $0.15 per minute of use, although prices may vary. LINK scooters can also be located through the Transit app.

While figuring out which public transportation options work best for you may take a few weeks, once you are settled, finding your way around the city will be easy. The occasional missed bus or tardy Blue Jay Shuttle is unavoidable, but it beats paying $30 for an Uber.

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