Laurel will continue to have vital commuter bus service into Washington despite plans by the present bus company to halt operations after getting its riders home from work tonight.
As the result of a frantic one-day effort by a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission official, service that will be abandoned tonight by the U.S. Bus Line will be replaced next Tuesday by service to be operated on an at-least-temporarily curtailed basis by Beltway Limousine Service. (Because Monday is a government holiday, no service will be operated on that day.)
Gregory Paul Barth, general counsel of the transit commission and the official who arranged the service rescue, said a formal emergency order permitting Beltway to run the commuter operation will be issued today. Beltway's fare will be $2 for a one-way trip by purchasers of multiple-ride tickets, compared with $1.95 charged by the expiring U.S. Bus.
At the outset, Barth said Beltway's service will be provided to passengers who make telephone reservations, available starting tomorrow by calling 622-0700. Initially, Barth said, Beltway will have about half the capacity of U.S. Bus, which carries about 300 Laurel residents to and from work each day.
U.S. Bus Line took over local service between Baltimore, Laurel and Washington after Greyhound gave up the route a few years ago. It decided to end operations after the Interstate Commerce Commission refused last year to grant it a fare increase. The transit commission, which regulates private bus service strictly within the Washington metropolitan area, was able to step in and arrange Beltway's operation only after the federally controlled line gave up.