12:45 PM EST, February 8, 2013
As I drove north on I-95 at 8:40 a.m. Tuesday and saw traffic come to a near stop at Caton Avenue, I exited and reversed course to park at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and take the light rail to the amazing Ravens stadium rally. That worked fine, but after the event ended at 1:30 p.m., I, along with hundreds of other Ravens fans, was stuck standing on a packed concrete ramp to the southbound light rail line for over two and a half hours with no trains and no information from the Maryland Transit Administration.
There were no southbound trains at all for over one hour while at least four trains passed us going north. Then, every southbound train that passed was so full it could not accept new passengers. Finally, around 4 p.m., the lone MTA official at the station, a retiree who said he was just working special events, told us his bosses finally agreed to his suggestion to send an empty train north from BWI to get passengers at the stadium and return them south along the line to Cromwell Station. Since my car was at the airport, not Cromwell, which is a different spur, I managed to squeeze onto a BWI train just at 4 p.m., standing on the last step as the door closed.
Granted, the huge crowds overwhelmed the light rail system, but the MTA could have provided those cold patrons, some elderly and physically impaired, some real information about what was going on. The electronic sign overhead mocked us and made patrons even more angry as it flashed "Thanks for taking light rail" and the date of "Jan. 15." People began chanting obscenities as each loaded train arrived, opened it's doors to reveal full loads, and moved off.
My lesson? Drive yourself to major downtown events. The MTA can't handle it and doesn't think enough of its patrons to inform them what is happening. You're better off waiting in your own comfortable car than standing for hours on a cramped ramp in the weather.
Larry Carson, Columbia
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