Charm City Circulator service will now be canceled through Jan. 8, the free bus system announced Thursday.

A new vendor, First Transit, is in the process of hiring and training new drivers, ordering parts and repairing buses as it takes over operation of the Circulator, according to the post.

“This is all part of the required activities for onboarding and we appreciate your patience through this transition,” the company said.

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The free bus system that transports riders throughout downtown and central Baltimore neighborhoods was out of commission for New Year’s Eve — when it has traditionally run extended hours — and New Year’s Day. A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Transportation told The Banner on Saturday that once bus routes resumed, the Circulator would have a limited schedule until mid-January.

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Transportation spokesperson Marly Cardona-Moz told The Baltimore Banner that “standard practice is for the new contractor to inspect all vehicles and create initial condition reports before placing any vehicles in service.”

The Department of Transportation and First Transit did not immediately return requests for comment about the extended cancelation.

In October, First Transit announced it was acquired by Transdev North America Inc., which had previously operated the Circulator and was sued by the city in 2018 for allegedly overbilling $20 million for the service.

A court opinion indicates that Transdev asked a Baltimore judge to force the city to take part in arbitration; the judge agreed and threw out the lawsuit. The Maryland Court of Appeals upheld that ruling.

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Transdev lost the Circulator contract to RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation in October 2018.

Spokespersons for the company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Baltimore Banner reporters Julie Scharper and Dylan Segelbaum contributed to this report.

cadence.quaranta@thebaltimorebanner.com

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