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Hundreds of Baltimore workers losing wages because of MTA Light Rail malfunction

Did you know? Baltimore has a large residential labor force of warehouse workers employed in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

Just a Miscellaneous Streetcar Photo
C.K. Leverett

According to the American Public Transportation Association, public transportation provides access to job opportunities for millions of Americans. Nevertheless, hundreds of Baltimore workers are losing wages because of transportation issues exclusively from Maryland Transit Administration Light Rail service malfunctions.

Yesterday February 11, 2014, I was headed to Hunt Valley on the MTA Light Rail for a train ride in hopes of gaining a little personal mobility and freedom. Oh, how I enjoy the scenic route that the Maryland Transit Administration Light Rail provides. To my surprise the train was delayed at several points from the Camden Yards, Baltimore station to the Hunt Valley, Maryland station. The train operator made several announcements during my trip stating that the Light Rail would be experiencing major delays with layovers at every stop.

However, at the Timonium rail stop passengers were directed to board a two car train shuttle because the MTA Light Rail was only operating on a one track system from the Timonium station to Hunt Valley station. Yep, a two car train for hundreds of displaced commuters.

As we all boarded the shuttle train, we were then informed another ten minute delay. Talk about standing room only was late frustrated Baltimore workers as well as, business and personal commuters. I could overheard numerous workers calling employers to report that they would be late for work. I could overheard numerous Baltimore workers stating they had loss two hours of pay the day before because of the same transportation issues with the MTA Light Rail system. I even overheard a MTA train operator tell one of the train patrons get a car and stop complaining. Wow, that sucked to hear especially when many public transportation patrons like myself believe public transportation is an affordable, alternative to driving.

According to Google maps from Baltimore City not Downtown Baltimore to Hunt Valley, Maryland its approximately 25 minute car ride and the public transportation commute is roughly 1 hour & 15 minutes from where I live in Southeast Baltimore. But, I can tell you personally on a good day from Southeast Baltimore City to Hunt Valley it is actually a three hour commute on public transportation.

Besides, the American Public Transportation Association reported that statistically public transportation commuters that invest in public transit reduce the nation’s carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons annually. Shouldn’t public transportation commuters be rewarded for investing in public transit?

Now mind you, thousands of Baltimore workers commute from Baltimore City to Hunt Valley for employment.

The outcries; I witnessed yesterday were enormous and saddening, which prompted me to the question. Should Baltimore workers have to lose work wages because of Maryland Transit Administration Light Rail malfunctions? Besides, access to public transportation gives people transportation possibilities and freedoms to go to a doctor’s office, get to work, go to school or visit friends.

I called MTA to inquire about the Light Rail service and maintenance issues. I was referred to the following service advisory titled “Emergency Light Rail Track Work” via their website here, which states: “Effective immediately and until further notice due to emergency track work, Light Rail will be single tracking trains from Timonium to Hunt Valley. We appreciate your patience as we work to resolve the maintenance issues and keep your ride as safe as possible. Thank you for riding Light Rail.”

Well unfortunately, I should have checked the MTA website before planning my Light Rail trip yesterday. I advise all public transportation patronages to check for service advisory before boarding Maryland Transit Administration services especially Baltimore workers that depend on public transportation for work.

Did you know? Rate Your Ride (RYR), is a program managed by the MTA to help improve public transportation by utilizing real-time feedback from their customers via text messaging and online survey. In order to participate, all you need to do is text the word “ride” to 410-205-4559 or call that number and answer a few brief questions or fill out the online survey here on their website.

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