MTA Metro rider finds woe in the snow
The Big Snows of February 2010 have spawned many a commuting horror story, but Tony Todesco's tale of his woes on the Baltimore Metro and its shuttle bus "replacement" ranks right up there. Methinks Maryland Transit Administrator Ralign Wells has an apology letter to compose. If he needs any groveling tips, his predecessor, Paul J. Wiedefeld, was really good at self-abasement in the cause of customer service.
When I got to the Old Court Metro station on Friday morning, I learned that the Metro was only operating underground from Mondawmin to Hopkins, but there was a bus to transport patrons to Mondawmin to get the Metro. Before getting on the bus, I asked the driver which bus I should take to return later that night. He told me to take the #59. (this has meaning later in the story)
I got on the bus, which stopped at every single Metro station, then at Mondawmin. A usual 45-minute commute took 2.5 hours that morning.
Little did I know that my morning commute was kids play compared to the evening ride. A coworker and I left our offices on Greene Street at 5:30 p.m., walked to the Metro and waited about 20 minutes for the train. We got off at Mondawmin and proceeded to the bus area. As I am not very familiar with bus service, we spoke to two men at the information booth to confirm that we needed to take the #59 to get back to the Old Court Metro station where my car was parked. Both MTA information officials confirmed that we wanted the #59.
When the #59 arrived, my coworker and I squeezed onto the bus with dozens of other people. We were in the back, sandwiched into the back doorway. Before leaving, the driver said something incomprehensible about Reisterstown Road that I guess we were supposed to hear through all of the people jammed together, then he just took off.
We proceeded to stop at two Metro stops, then onto Reisterstown Road and to my horror, we crossed Old Court Road and it was obvious to me that he was not going to the Metro Station there. We rang the bell on the bus, and I assumed he would stop in front of the Target bus stop which is before the Beltway. Instead, he waited to cross the Beltway and left us stranded at a gas station there.
We assessed the situation and decided to call a cab because the bus stop on the other side of the road had snow taller than either of us. The cab company put us on hold forever, so we started calling friends and one was home who could take us to my car.
The 45-minute commute took 3 hours that night.
This morning, I went online to see the status of the Metro. The MTA’s website said that it was operating from Old Court to Hopkins, and the really kicker is that it notes the bus #59 should be used to commute to Mondawmin.