The Baltimore Sun

MARC makes patrons pay twice for big day

I can hardly begin to express my outrage about the "special service" being offered by the Maryland Transit Administration's MARC train for Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 ("MTA tickets cost $25 for Inauguration Day trip," Dec. 13).

I am a daily rider of the MARC between Baltimore and Washington, with a monthly pass that costs $175. Yet the MTA has informed me that my pass is not valid on Inauguration Day, and that I must spend an additional $25 (plus $6.50 if I purchase a ticket online rather than in person) to buy a "special" round-trip ticket.

That's an extra $31.50 to ride a train I have already bought a ticket for.

It is not a bad idea to have reserved seats on Inauguration Day, especially since many people headed to Washington for the inauguration are likely to choose MARC; the reserved ticket will allow riders to ensure they have a spot.

But I strenuously object, as a daily passenger who has already paid good money to take the MARC all month, to being required to spend even more to buy a special ticket.

I am being asked, in effect, to pay for a seat not once but twice.

Tens of thousands of people rely on the MARC to go to and from Washington every day. (Some of them will have something to do with the inauguration, while others will not.)

Many of us purchase monthly passes - or, in some cases, 10-trip tickets - ahead of time because it is convenient and more economical.

We should not be penalized for doing so.

Erika Niedowski, Baltimore

Left is very pleased by Obama's choices

Since the president-elect has not yet taken office, I guess Ron Smith is struggling to find something negative to write about him or Democrats in general.

His most recent attack, albeit a relatively mild one, would suggest to readers that there is a great army of disgruntled left-wingers out there who are tearing their hair out over President-elect Barack Obama's selections for Cabinet positions and policy choices ("Feeling hoodwinked, Obama backers? Join the club," Commentary, Dec. 10).

Well, I am a liberal Democrat (and proud of it), and I am just pleased as punch with everything Mr. Obama has done so far.

And I am unaware of any of my left-leaning friends who do not share my sense of satisfaction.

John S. White, Stewartstown, Pa.

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