MTA passengers voice frustration over new BaltimoreLink transit system
BALTIMORE (WBFF) - Dozens of MTA passengers have voiced their frustration with the new BaltimoreLink system, some claiming that the new system has resulted in more delays.
During a town hall Monday evening, organized by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1300, which represents MTA operators, many riders voiced frustration with having to take two or three buses to their destination.
Patricia Whitty, who works at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, said: "The buses don't come on time, and it's not fair to me, it's not fair to my co-workers. It's not fair."
Whitty told the crowd: "I get off at 3:30, I don't get home until a quarter of six. That is not right."
Beverly Reid, who says she has been riding the MTA for decades, says the new system is still confusing.
"Nobody knows anything. This is sad, absolutely, this is a sad state for MTA," said Reid.
But despite complaints from some riders, acting MTA Administrator Kevin Quinn says BaltimoreLink is becoming more efficient, particularly for using routes in downtown Baltimore.
"And that's transit that's running 15 minutes or better... and we've increased that by 32 percent, so what that means is that 132,000 more people have access to a line that has 15-minute-or-better frequency than did under the previous system," said Quinn.
He says the MTA is now focused on publicizing changes in bus routes that will make it more easy for students to get to and from school.
"We're doing a lot of outreach over the summer at summer schools, summer camps, sending mailings home to parents so that they're aware of changes that are coming," said Quinn.
But David McClure, President and Business Agent for the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1300, says the MTA should consider returning to the old system of numbered bus routes while still making improvements.
"They can change the route and add service to these routes and would make it a lot better, because people are familiar with the routes already, all you have to do is add service to them," said McClure.
The audience also heard from gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who is considering running for governor.
Both criticized Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan for cancelling the proposed Red Line light rail line, which would have created an east-west transit system through downtown Baltimore.
Quinn was invited to Monday's town hall but did not attend.
However, Quinn said MTA representatives would attend and would take notes from speakers.