Despite what I’m sure a lot of good-hearted people working hard to manage Maryland’s public transportation systems, reliability problems with MTA lines — at least in Baltimore — are outrageous and long-standing. Earlier this year, Eric Hatch laid out 12 ideas for improving public transit in the city, most suggesting relatively large-scale changes: new stops, expanded schedules, that kind of thing.
But while we’re waiting for those changes to take place, how about this idea, cribbed from the other MTA. According to a recent article in the New York Times, subway passengers who are late to work because of train delays can request an official note to show their bosses.
One such note reads: “There was a disruption in service, specifically signal trouble, sick customer, brakes in emergency and track circuit failure, which caused massive service delays, reroutes and/or trains to be discharged on the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, A, B, C, D, F, J, L, M, N, Q and R lines. As a result, any one delay lasted up to 82 minutes.”
Ours would probably look more like: “There was a disruption in service, specifically this is the 27 line and that’s just the way it goes, which caused massive service delays. As a result, any one delay lasted an ungodly amount of time, maybe forever.”
Of course, there would be administrative costs involved, including the cost of keeping track of on-time performance, but perhaps more Baltimoreans would be willing to take an MTA bus to work if they had faith that if the thinkable happened, they would have a verifiable defense to bring to their supervisors.
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