Stranded at Camden Yards? Blame the feds
Justin Pats of Alexandria, Va., got a rude surprise after the Orioles game Thursday night. He learned that the Maryland Transit Administration no longer operates the after-game charter buses that used to take riders who arrived by MARC back to their cars. What a way to put a damper on a victory.
Pats managed to get home because his father drive him back to Northern Virginia. Still, that was quite a haul for his father, who lives north of Baltimore.
Naturally, Pats is wondering what the score is and whether there are any good alternatives.
"As a season ticket holder this will become quite a hassle, especially coming up from NoVa in rush hour to see games. Have the Orioles taken any stance on this or provided any viable alternatives? Also, you mentioned there are charter buses "filling the void.' Do you have any more information on this so i can actually go back home after enjoying a complete O's game?"
Actually, Justin, I mentioned in a recent article that charter bus companies had filled the void for Ravens games. I wouldn't expect much help for Orioles fans.
The team really has no say in the matter. I'm sure they're unhappy about the discontinuation, but they didn't get a vote in the decision. I doubt they'll go into the bus business though.
It wasn't the MTA's call either. They discontinued the game buses under pressure from the Federal Transit Administration, which controls a hefty chunk of the MTA budget. The MTA's remaining service is constrained by the limitations of their one connection to D.C. – the B30 bus, which is run by the Washington Metro agency. And really you can’t blame WMATA for not building its B30 and subway schedule around the Orioles.
Don't look to charter operators to fill the void as they have for Ravens games because baseball crowds are smaller and less predictable. What would be profitable on a Yankees weekend would be a bust on a rainy Thursday with the White Sox in town. Neither the MTA nor the Maryland Stadium Authority is aware of any charter interest.
So I’m afraid you’re just out of luck unless it’s a very fast game. The culprits, if you want to call them that, are the feds and the charter bus companies that pressed for the rule under the previous administration. These private operators really wanted the football business, but to get at it they needed a rule keeping public transit agencies from serving any athletic events. Orioles fans who live in the D.C. area are what you could call “collateral damage.”
So if you want to get back to Alexandria via transit, you'll need to catch the last B30 bus that 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 the B30, riders have to catch the 10:08 p.m. light rail train to BWI. If the Light Rail is running late that could be cutting it close. So some eighth-inning departures may be a necessity.
One alternative, if you have a car but don't want to deal with Camden Yards parking costs and traffic, would be to drive to the North Linthicum light rail station, with its ample parking, and take a train in from there. You could also use the BWI Business District lot, but the return trains run half as frequently.
Or maybe set up a "Stranded O's Fans" group on Facebook and arrange a car pool. Sorry the news isn't better.