MTA apologizes for poor service

MTA apologizes for poor service

There are 16 comments on the Baltimore Sun story from Jul 24, 2008, titled MTA apologizes for poor service. In it, Baltimore Sun reports that:

The head of the Maryland Transit Administration offered beleaguered MARC train commuters an apology and a series of explanations yesterday for what he called six weeks of service "far below what customers ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Baltimore Sun.

Tony

Washington, DC

#1 Jul 24, 2008
This is by far the worst public transpotation on the east coast, The light rail takes three time longer to get anywhere and is super dangerous to ride at night, the metro goes no where of any importance I mean look at the stops. The marc train is the biggest joke of them all. I have never seen more overcrowding and unsafe practices in my life. As Baltimore is not a major city by any means it is big enough to have some kind of decent public transportation. I have lived in Philly,NYC, and Boston and Baltimore is so far behind in so many ways and public transportation is number one on the list.

Since: Jun 08

Gwynn Oak, MD

#2 Jul 24, 2008
Baltimore MTA has been one of the most undependable Transit Authorities I have been riding out of the 10 I have ridden independently. Ive ridden mostly small city Transits except for Baltimore MTA and Philadelphia SEPTA. SEPTA has been more dependable then MTA. Even though there have been screw ups when I rode SEPTA. MTA has been worse. The bus system has been screwey. The Light Rail there have been issues. Theres not enough rail transportation. And they do not want commuter service north of Baltimore. Look as Washington DC compared to Baltimore. They have a way better metro system then Baltimore. And Philadelphia. They have around 8-9 commuter train lines and MTA only has 3. And SEPTA commuter trains operate on weekends. I dont know about the MARC Commuter whether or not it operates on weekends.
Al M

Laurel, MD

#3 Jul 24, 2008
Truth be told - they have gotten so used to making excuses or simply ignoring their miserable peformance (any U.S. railroad in 1908 would have been embarassed and ashamed of this on-time percentage) that it will be extremely difficult to change the "corporate" culture at MARC. Worse, like AMTRAK, because they are a government agency, funding is completely out of the hands of anyone who has even a remote idea of how to run a railroad passenger service.
Surf52

Baltimore, MD

#4 Jul 24, 2008
Is this any way to run a railroad?
Bruce - Carroll county

Arlington, VA

#5 Jul 24, 2008
The appology meant nothing. this morning the Camden line canceled or delayed for over an hour nearly every tarin on the line due to a frisght train problem. and Penn line at BWI trying to pick up the slack was 15 minutes late.
HAH!
Zippster

AOL

#6 Jul 24, 2008
Here's an idea, tell commuters when the trains "ARE" running instead.
dan - BC

Finksburg, MD

#7 Jul 24, 2008
Printing the on-time performance was a feather in the Marc administration only. This is train on-time performance. If a train is cancelled before it arrives at its destination it has no impact on the reported percentages. I would estimate, based on my experience for these six weeks, people on-time percentages is hovering around 20% and I am being generous. As a daily commuter with a monthly ticket I did not have one trip that was on-time. I have been riding for almost 20 years and am hearing the same excuses and the same resolutions to these problems. I just have one question - do they actually pay these people?
WDD

Washington, DC

#8 Jul 25, 2008
Wow an apology from a government agency, what's next, Martin O'Malley asking for forgiveness to all the saps out there who really thought he could lower their BGE bills.
Chris

Silver Spring, MD

#9 Jul 25, 2008
What nobody's saying here is the basic problem: capacity.

The only way to solve these issues, long term, is for the MTA to build their own tracks alongside the existing CSX and Amtrak tracks. The critical mass probably isn't there for the Camden or Brunswick Lines just yet, but it sure is for the Penn Line.

Furthermore, Amtrak needs a new tunnel to get through West Baltimore - the current B&P tunnel has too-steep grades and curves, which slows down the entire system - Acela, NE corridor and MARC.

Personally, and this is a transit junkie talking here: I wish the MTA would take the money they're about to throw away on an ineffective Red Line and spend it on building new trackage for MARC, with the ultimate goal of building a new tunnel through West Baltimore.

www.getontrac.org
Surf52

Baltimore, MD

#10 Jul 25, 2008
Chris wrote:
What nobody's saying here is the basic problem: capacity.
The only way to solve these issues, long term, is for the MTA to build their own tracks alongside the existing CSX and Amtrak tracks. The critical mass probably isn't there for the Camden or Brunswick Lines just yet, but it sure is for the Penn Line.
Furthermore, Amtrak needs a new tunnel to get through West Baltimore - the current B&P tunnel has too-steep grades and curves, which slows down the entire system - Acela, NE corridor and MARC.
Personally, and this is a transit junkie talking here: I wish the MTA would take the money they're about to throw away on an ineffective Red Line and spend it on building new trackage for MARC, with the ultimate goal of building a new tunnel through West Baltimore.
www.getontrac.org
The capacity should be there alrady on the Penn Line. Remember, in the pre Conrail / Amtrak days, The Pennsy used to run both freight and passenger service over this line.
DCs Perspective

Washington, DC

#11 Jul 25, 2008
I take the Brunswick Line and have been doing so w/ a monthly pass for 5 years.
Communications are the main problem as I see it. While I have been delayed or canceled due to weather that is not the norm. The norm is slowing r stopping as the conductors wait for updated approval or plans from "dispatch".
MD should take the lead and design and build a world class next generation system that
1. DOES NOT USE EXISTING TRACK
2. Is electric.
3. Is modular and highly flexible in design and implementation(for sales outside of MD)
4. and lastly to create the state economic basis is entirely designed and manufactured in the state.
Given the future energy issues we face sharing track w/ freight will never be a decent and reliable solution.
BTW- an apology for the way this system is administered is a JOKE.
Chris

Silver Spring, MD

#12 Jul 28, 2008
Surf52 wrote:
<quoted text>
The capacity should be there alrady on the Penn Line. Remember, in the pre Conrail / Amtrak days, The Pennsy used to run both freight and passenger service over this line.
I don't know offhand what the difference in usage is from then to now, but there also weren't Acela Express trains in those days. The West Baltimore tunnels are one of several major bottlenecks that restrain Amtrak's performance...which, in turn, constrain MARC Penn's performance.

The issues with the Brunswick and Camden Lines are different - CSX is just kind of impossible to deal with.
Stu

Brooklyn, MD

#13 Jul 28, 2008
Chris wrote:
I wish the MTA would take the money they're about to throw away on an ineffective Red Line and spend it on building new trackage for MARC, with the ultimate goal of building a new tunnel through West Baltimore.
These are two separate issues-- MARC brings people from Baltimore to DC, and the proposed Red Line would transport people within Baltimore. You've already decided that it's "ineffective" and "thrown-away money", but putting that money into MARC instead wouldn't solve any of the problems that the Red Line is intended to address.
Chris

Silver Spring, MD

#14 Aug 6, 2008
Stu wrote:
<quoted text>
These are two separate issues-- MARC brings people from Baltimore to DC, and the proposed Red Line would transport people within Baltimore. You've already decided that it's "ineffective" and "thrown-away money", but putting that money into MARC instead wouldn't solve any of the problems that the Red Line is intended to address.
MARC also brings people from the SW and NE suburbs into Baltimore.

I'm not saying it's the same issue at all, just that, with a finite supply of transit funds, I would rather spend money on the most macro-level, high-impact improvements first, and then trickle down to the more localized stuff.

Stu, if you are who I think you are, you probably already know this stuff, but my priorities would actually be:

1) Heavy rail Red Line from West Baltimore MARC to a new MARC station at Bayview, using the existing Subway tunnel to get through Downtown (would require about two miles of new tunnelling, and no new underground stations). This would siphon off a ton of MARC riders needing to get to Bayview, JHH, Downtown, Owings Mills, etc.

2) New Amtrak tunnel through West Baltimore. There was a Federal study a few years back that advocated a "Great Circle Tunnel" forming a smooth arc from Penn Station to West Baltimore MARC; this would accomplish two major things: 1) Greatly reduce Amtrak's travel time through Baltimore (especially for Acela), which has been an Amtrak priority for years, and 2) Open up the existing B&P tunnel for exclusive MARC usage, although it'd need quite a lot of renovation first. This would make two tunnels going from the same beginning to the same destination, which would provide for a huge increase in both Amtrak and MARC capacity going forward, and would provide an alternate route for either service if either tunnel is temporarily shut down.

There's a lot more, but if I were in charge of the MTA, those would be my top priorities.
Chris

Silver Spring, MD

#15 Aug 6, 2008
Oh, and encouraging private investment in trolleys, much like the proposed Charles Street Trolley from JHU to the Harbor. And a fundamental bus restructuring. And... :-)
ghter

Muskegon, MI

#16 Aug 6, 2008
baltimore is a craphole of a city and the state of marland is the toilet bowl of america.

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