O's fan boos MTA guidance on getting home

April 09, 2009|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,michael.dresser@baltsun.com

Orioles fans who depended on Maryland Transit Administration charter buses to get home from games now face the same deprivation that afflicted Ravens rooters last year.

Because of a federal ruling, public transit agencies can no longer provide specialized services geared to sporting events. That includes the buses to Savage, Greenbelt and Washington that the MTA used to offer after games.

With the baseball season under way, it has been left to the MTA to break the bad news to fans that they may have to leave before the last out is recorded to make the last transit connection to Washington.

Not everybody was happy with the way the news was delivered. Beau Boughamer of Arlington, Va., sent an e-mail to The Baltimore Sun complaining that the MTA had been "totally irresponsible" in its advice to fans who in the past had taken the MARC Camden Line to games and returned by charter bus.

The MTA said people who use the Camden Line to get to the ballpark can return to Washington by using a combination of light rail and the Washington transit agency's B30 Metrobus. The light rail goes to Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and the BWI Business District station, where riders can catch the B30 to the Greenbelt Metro station.

The catch is that the last B30 bus departs the BWI Business District at 10:44 p.m. and arrives at Greenbelt at 11:20 p.m. - 10 minutes before that station closes on weekdays.

To be sure of catching it, riders have to catch the 10:08 p.m. light rail train to BWI.

Boughamer criticicized the MTA for even holding out the possibility of going to games using transit.

"It was totally irresponsible of MTA to put out an e-mail like this suggesting that getting back from an O's game is possible anymore. Obviously it's not," he wrote.

Jawauna Greene, an MTA spokeswoman, pointed out that the Federal Transit Administration ordered an end to special MTA bus runs, ruling that such rides unfairly compete with the private sector.

After the federal ruling forced an end to MTA service to Ravens games, charter bus companies moved in to fill the void - though at higher prices. Spokeswomen for the MTA and the Orioles said they have not heard of any private operators stepping forward to provide rides after baseball games.

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