Commuters Rail Against MARC Over Delays

Riders of the train service sounded off following storm-related delays on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Riders of the MARC Penn Line were not a happy bunch earlier this week, after bad weather led to signal problems and long delays in and out of Washington, DC.

The trouble started Tuesday night with trains during the evening rush. Riders said it took them as long as three hours to get home to Odenton from Union Station. There were similar delays heading into work on Wednesday morning, as crews continued to work on repairing signal problems. 

Riders sounded off against MARC on Odenton-Severn Patch and its Facebook Page. 

"If my husband told you about his commute-he would lose his [Facebook] account.....he's not a happy camper right now," said Cindy Goldsmith on the Odenton-Severn Patch Facebook page.

Goldsmith said took her husband 3 hours and 30 minutes to get home from Arlington. 

Similarly, Bill Thomas said on Facebook that it also took him 3-and-half hours to get home Tuesday.

"This morning, delayed train passed Odenton without taking on passengers," Thomas said. "Just received notice that a train broke down between Odenton and Bowie. TOTAL SNAFU. Tired of excuses, MTA."

Michael Wallace said he's been riding MARC for five years, but never experienced anything as bad as Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

"Something has to be done, this isn't the 1920's," he said. "Everything about the commute last night and this morning was terrible, worst I've had in the 5 years I have been taking the MARC, all over a thunder storm?"

Riders said they tried to entertain themselves using their laptops or cell phones, but after a while became fearful of running too low on battery. 

A rider identifying himself as Chris W took time to complain about MARC while waiting on the train Wednesday morning. 

"Sitting motionless on the tracks as I type this," he said. "Looks like It will be two hours this morning. MARC is completely dysfunctional. One problem always snowballs into several others."

For its part, MARC apologized to riders and said senior managers would speak with Amtrak to see how such delays could be avoided in the future. 

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George September 20, 2012 at 12:26 PM
You forgot to mention the cost to riders of MARC's complete incompetence. Most folks had to take 4+ hours annual leave (late in the year which could affect Christmas vacation plans) as well as hundreds of dollars in daycare late fees. Yes, its greeat to be one of those overpaid Federal workers with great benefits that the politicians have successfull;y declared as public enemy #1. How fortunate we are to ride the unreliable MARC everyday. For such a "rich state" why is Maryland managed like a third world country?
Robert September 20, 2012 at 01:24 PM
I appreciate your frustration but riders have to occasionally accept delays. If you were driving your car you'd have similar delays.
Rusty Vaughan September 20, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Delays, I understand. A no-cost action that would be helpful would be to text actionable information. Often the updates bear nothing of substance. To say a train is delayed is not something on which one can take action. To say it will be 30 minutes late but in twenty minutes it has come and gone does not help the riders.
BadStatistics September 20, 2012 at 06:19 PM
They were announcing 30-60 minute delays via text, when delays were actually occurring at around 180 minutes. Very troublesome that people are not provided information that they need to make decisions.


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