Getting around in Baltimore is fairly easy thanks to the city's reliable public transport infrastructure. While most people who settle down in Baltimore for the longer term will invest in a car, it is by no means essential. Driving will certainly give new arrivals more freedom to explore Baltimore and its surrounds, but the city's public transport is more than efficient when it comes to the daily commute.

Public transport in Baltimore

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) oversees Baltimore’s integrated public transportation system. This system consists of buses, light rail, and subway networks, which get commuters to all corners of the city.

Purchasing a daily, weekly, or monthly transport pass allows commuters to utilise all modes of public transport in Baltimore over the designated period at discounted rates. CharmPass is the city's official mobile ticketing app. 

Here, residents can purchase one-way fares that are valid for 90 minutes, during which time they'll be able to transfer between different transport networks. Other fare options can be purchased right from the app, including multi-day and CharmFlex passes, the latter of which is most suitable for those with a flexible schedule. 

Ferry boat in Baltimore by Devonshire

Light rail

The light-rail system in Baltimore helps connect the suburbs to the centre of Baltimore. Commuters often drive to stations located outside the city – where they can park at no cost – and then make use of the light rail to travel into the centre.


Baltimore has a single-line subway that runs from Johns Hopkins Hospital through the city centre and out to the northwest suburbs. The subway is frequently used by commuters travelling from their homes in the suburbs to the centre of Baltimore.


Bus routes in Baltimore cover most of the city and help connect areas that aren't sufficiently covered by the subway or light-rail networks. Unfortunately, buses rarely run to schedule, so it’s best to allow plenty of time to account for delays.

There is also a free bus service known as the Charm City Circulator. It consists of four different routes connecting downtown Baltimore to selected neighbourhoods. Visitors find this particularly useful as it covers tourist areas near the harbour and most historic sites.

Water taxis

New arrivals looking to take the scenic and leisurely road should look no further than the Baltimore Water Taxi. The ferry service has been around for more than 40 years and offers routes to more than 30 attractions around Baltimore. 

Useful links

Taxis in Baltimore

zTrip is the biggest taxi company operating in the Baltimore area. Fares are competitive and drivers use a meter to calculate fares. In the busy tourist areas and parts of the city centre, it's easy to hail a taxi, but it is often better to pre-book when travelling from the suburbs. Most taxi companies will have an app which residents can use to book taxis. Lyft and Uber are also available. 

Useful links

  • New arrivals looking to book a traditional cab can check out zTrip
  • For ride-hailing, Uber and Lyft are available. 

Driving in Baltimore

Cars in tunnel by Anvesh

Most Baltimore residents, especially those with families, do tend to own a car. While driving offers greater freedom to explore different suburbs and to travel beyond the city at weekends, it is not always the most efficient way to get around the city. Traffic can be terrible during the week and parking is notoriously expensive, so it may be best to drive to a light-rail station and use public transport to get to and from work.

Expats can drive in Baltimore for up to one month with a valid driving licence from home, or for up to a year with an international driver's permit. They will then need to apply for a Maryland driving licence. Expats from certain countries with a reciprocal agreement with Maryland will not need to take a driving test. Those not covered under such an agreement will need to take both a written and practical driving test to obtain a local licence.

Useful links

Cycling in Baltimore

While Baltimore hasn’t always been the most cycle-friendly destination, the city has made significant strides in improving its cycling infrastructure in recent years, including designated cycle routes and safe bicycle storage facilities.

For those who wish to cycle or scooter around Baltimore but don't own one themselves, there are several private companies that have launched bike and scooter share programmes in the city over the last few years. These include Lime, Spin, Bolt and Jump.  

Useful links

  • Check out Lime and Spin for more on renting e-bikes in Baltimore.  

Walking in Baltimore

Baltimore is a large city so walking as one’s sole means of transport is not practical. That said, it is possible to walk around within particular suburbs. Areas that are popular with tourists such as Fells Point and the harbour precinct are especially safe and pleasant for those who enjoy a walk.

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