Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Does Mass Transit Matter?

And we thought ridership was up.

Good thing the price of gas is coming down. The state is preparing to cut back on service to the area. CA posted this Mass Transit Administration release on its Web site (We've edited slightly to focus on reductions affecting our fair area).

The sources of revenue that support the operation of MTA’s MARC Train and Commuter Bus services have declined dramatically since the start of the fiscal year on July 1. Regrettably, MTA must reduce its budget, and while the majority of reductions are taking place in our administrative budget some MARC Train and Commuter Bus services are proposed for elimination. The proposed service reductions are listed below.

Service reductions are proposed to take effect on January 12, 2009 or sooner if the service reduction is based on a holiday.

MTA will hold public hearings throughout the State to receive public comments on these proposals. Click www.mtamaryland.com/Commuter_MARC_Hearings.cfm for a list of public hearings. Citizens may provide comments at any hearing that it is convenient, or may send comments directly to the MTA by mail or email. No matter how it is sent, any comment received by December 26, 2008 will be considered before proposals are finalized.

By mail, please address comments to:

Mr. Glenn Litsinger
MTA Office of Customer Information
6 St. Paul Street
Baltimore MD 21202

By email, address comments regarding Commuter Bus proposals to commuterbus@mtamaryland.com with “Hearing Comments” as the subject heading.

Address comments regarding MARC Train proposals to marc@mtamaryland.com with “Hearing Comments” as the subject heading.

The following services are proposed for elimination:
Commuter Bus
· All service from Baltimore to Columbia on the Nos. 310 and 311 Lines
· All service on the No. 320 Line from Laurel to Baltimore
· One round trip on the No. 995 Line from Columbia to Washington, DC and the branch of the line serving Oakland Mills
· Saturday service and one weekday mid-morning round trip on the No. 929 Line from Columbia to Washington, DC

In addition to these service reductions, MTA proposes, effective Veterans’ Day, to:
· Eliminate all holiday service (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’
Day, Columbus Day, Veterans’ Day and the day after Thanksgiving)
· Eliminate all service on the day after Christmas
· Operate holiday service rather than full service on Christmas Eve and the day after New Year’s Day.
MARC Train
· The last two evening round trip trains on the Penn Line (Trains #445, 446, 447 and 448)
· All service on Mondays through Thursdays on Brunswick Line train #871 (Friday service to continue)
· Termination of Brunswick Line train #883 at Brunswick
· All service on the mid-day bus shuttle between Odenton and Laurel
· In addition to these service reductions, MTA proposes, effective Veterans’ Day, to:
· Eliminate all holiday service on all lines (Columbus Day, Veterans’ Day and the day after Thanksgiving)
· Eliminate service on all lines on the day after Christmas
· Operate holiday service rather than full service on Christmas Eve and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day
· Operate holiday service rather than full service on the day after New
Year’s Day.
· The MTA also proposes to eliminate the MARC Ten-Trip Ticket.

1 comment:

Trevor said...

While it is true that the price of gas has come down recently, this is still very bad timing for such cutbacks. At a time when most households will see finances tighten, we should have more, not less, mass transit. The proposal was knowingly made at a time when ridership has been up. Suggesting the MARC as an alternative assumes that commuter bus riders have a way to get to a station. But to see real savings by taking mass transit, it's a big leap forward from just the cost of gas and wear to eliminating a vehicle altogether.

The great thing about some of these commuter bus routes is that they actually allow passengers to walk to a nearby stop and eliminate the need for a second car that would have been used exclusively for commuting. I was able to do that for three years in Harpers Choice. We just moved to Elkridge, where the only commuter bus route is slated for the chopping block, and I can tell you just how popular the alternative is. A lot of people ride the MARC, but a lot of people drive to get there. Dorsey isn't exactly a backwater station, but I have never seen another bike at the rack. (Maybe I'm just the only one who doesn't want to pay extra for a locker?) I know I'm more committed to mass transit than most people (even then, I'm not sure I'll keep biking four miles each way in the winter)--to make it a successful alternative, it has to meet a certain standard of ease. Right now, we're moving in the wrong direction.