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June 1, 2009

Dogs not barking at MTA

There's something very strange going on at the Maryland Transit Administration: Nothing.

That's nothing as in no news. And there's no place where the axiom that no news is good news applies as much as at a public transit agency.

It's been about a month since I've received an email from a disgruntled MARC rider. If anybody's been getting beat up on city buses, it's certainly been kept quiet. When I've ridden the light rail, the ticket machines have been working. The Metro subway just  keeps rolling along with its usual boring efficiency. The MTA personnel I've dealt with have been courteous and professional.

What's going on here anyway? Is this turning into the Stepford Transit System? Whatever happened to the font of horror stories where Sun reporters have slaked their news thirst at for years? Is this a fluke or could it be that this agency isn't as screwed up as it used to be?

Weather, of course, could be part of the explanation. We haven't had many really hot days this spring. And cool weather is good for tracks, locomotives, bus brakes and tempers. A few days of  high humidity and 95-degree temperatures, and all could return to normal, which in this case is the second letter of SNAFU.

I asked MTA spokeswoman Jawauna Greene about this recent absence of news. She had noticed it too.

"The hills are alive with the sound of music," she said. Really.

Getting somewhat more serious, she added: "I've noticed that people are a little bit more tolerant of things because they see we're making progress."

Surely not that much progress? I'm going to need readers' help here. Are there wheels coming off the buses that I'm missing. Have space aliens taken over the Penn Line? Or could it be that the MTA actually is doing a better job?

Help me out, folks. I haven't seen anything like this before.

(Photo by Kenneth K. Lam / Sun photographer)

Comments

Well, I was robbed on the subway last week, so there's that. The kid got my iPod.

COMMENT: Details? You can email me at michael.dresser@baltsun.com.

I can't believe you would jinx it. When my commute on the Subway takes 90 minutes tomorrow, you will be blamed.

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About Michael Dresser
Michael Dresser has been an editor, reporter and columnist with The Sun longer than Baltimore's had a subway. He's covered retailing, telecommunications, state politics and wine. Since 2004, he's been The Sun's transportation writer. He lives in Ellicott City with his wife and travel companion, Cindy.

His Getting There column appears on Mondays. Mike's blog will be a forum for all who are interested in highways, transit and other transportation issues affecting Baltimore, Maryland and the region.
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