MTA needs a better game plan for the light rail trip to 0...

SATURDAY MAILBOX

August 15, 1998

MTA needs a better game plan for the light rail trip to 0) Ravens stadium

While packed into a light rail car, suffering a two-hour trip to and from the Ravens game, I noted a billboard in the car that read "The Ravens have a new home. The MTA has a game plan get you there."

Well, let's hope the Ravens game plans work better than the MTA's plan. The trip to and from the stadium was horrible, and I cannot believe that the MTA did not have contingency plans to handle large volumes of people, especially after the media attention urging fans to use public transportation.

Last year, the MTA ran an express bus service from Timonium to Memorial Stadium. While it was more expensive than light rail, it ran like clockwork and provided a good service. The MTA should consider adding express bus service to Ravens games from either Timonium or Hunt Valley to run along with light rail.

This will provide a good alternative to get people to the game and will take some of the congestion off the light rail system.

Even priced at twice the price of light rail, as it was last year, the express bus service was a bargain.

Glen Steinbach

Timonium

It was a real pleasure to participate in the first preseason game at the new stadium.

Getting there and getting home was a different story.

There was no park-and-ride option from parking areas along Interstate 83, so my son and I traveled to the new stadium using the light rail from Hunt Valley. The trip to and from the stadium was disastrous.

We arrived at 5: 20, only to find mass confusion. One electric ticket machine would not work but was not labeled out of order. With one working machine and one ticket seller, the situation quickly became unpleasant.

People willing to buy tickets gave up in disgust and boarded the light rail without tickets, angering those still in line when the next available train arrived.

We had not purchased the promoted season pass because we did not have season passes for the games.

At least we were not one of the poor souls at the stops in Timonium and farther south who had to watch packed trains repeatedly pass them by.

We finally arrived at the stadium at 7: 30.

With the knowledge that the return trip would be equally bad, we departed the game at 10 o'clock, with 10 minutes left in the final period. To our dismay, thousands of other light rail users were already standing in line for the northbound train.

We finally arrived in Hunt Valley at 12: 30 a.m., exhausted from standing since 10 p.m. Did we enjoy the game?

You bet we did! The game lasted 2 1/2 hours, but the trip to and from the stadium lasted five hours.

William E. Kircher

White Hall

The light rail service to and from the new Ravens Stadium was a farce. Fifty minutes waiting time for a southbound train, while six trains passed Ravens station going north. A very large blotch on an otherwise great debut for the Ravens.

Don Pettyjohn

Severn

Regarding the problems encountered by the MTA at Saturday's football game with its light rail service: Why do they insist on continually misleading the public. The system is a disgrace, built only for a political show with no interest in how it services the community.

Many have been saying for years that the extensions to BWI and Penn Station should not have been built until the entire line was doubled track.

With only one track at major points, even with 150 cars, a 17-minute wait for a train is as good as it gets.

The city and the MTA need to get together to speed things up.

Also, has anyone tried to figure out what light rail train to catch when they run 17 and 34 minutes apart?

You want to run a good service, you need double track and the ability to run trains at least every five minutes for events and

maybe 10, 15 or even 20 minutes at light times.

Adding buses is not the answer. That's what Los Angeles did 50 years ago.

Steve Erlitz

Elkridge

Tax assessment is lower, but bill is higher

When I received notice of the assessed value of my home in March, I and many of my neighbors appealed our assessments and were subsequently granted a reduction. The values placed on our homes were grossly out of line, and these reductions were certainly warranted.

A few weeks ago, we all received our tax bills. The total amount of the bill is several percentage points higher than last year's tax bill even though the amended, reduced assessment is noted on the statement. Many telephone calls to the powers-that-be seem to indicate that the city has an optional item in the calculation of taxes which permits them to charge up to 4 percent of the tax.

This was the best I could understand from the double talk given to me by our city officials. I am not a CPA, although for this, one would probably need to be a CPA and a Ph.D. In other words, the government has given me a present from their right-hand pocket while taking it from my left-hand pocket.

Sonia Looban Greenspon

Baltimore

People desecrate flag for cars, candidates

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