MTA chief pays a call on Route 120 riders
Ada N. Orie is a very persistent woman who just won't give up when she thinks she's receiving bad service -- as the Maryland Transit Administration knows well.
For months, she's been in communication withh the MTA leadership, as well as Getting There, about inconsistent service and poor on-time performance on the Route 120 bus. She's managed to make her name well known in the office of MTA Administrator Ralign T. Wells.
This week Orie had what she considered good news to report. I'll let her tell the story:
How are you doing? I hope you had a great holiday and your 2010 is coming to a peaceful end. It has been a while since I have written you. I want to thank you for being the voice of the commuters in Maryland. I like the fact that you listen and read our letters. Thank you for listening to my concerns over the years. I really appreciate it.
I have been writing the MTA and you for years. I have taken different modes of transportation in Maryland and complained and complimented as needed. I have been asking for a face to face meeting for years. Finally, on November 30, 2010 I got one in an unconventional way. The meeting was beyond my expectations especially since I never thought I would get a meeting. I know I should not be a pessimist but in this situation it seemed hopeless.
So today I was on the 120 bus and it came on time. The difference was there were 3 guests at my bus stop. Three men who I have never seen before on my stop and they introduced themselves while shaking my hand. The three men were Ralign Wells, MTA Administrator, Mr. Morton, MTA Coordinator and Mr. Neal, MTA Manager of Service Quality. No one knew these three men were coming to our stop including our drivers who have been making a great effort to be on time.
They took the time to talk to the riders. I talked to them for a few minutes since I have been emailing them for months about the 120. They talked to me about how they have been looking into improving the line and future plans for the MTA. They welcome and appreciate all feedback (bad and good) about any mode of transportation. The MTA transports close to 400,000 people daily and since they cannot be at every stop, customers can and should express their opinions. They are working on many things to make the MTA more user friendly including real time information.
As if that was not enough, Mr. Wells rode the 120 with me and the other passengers to his office today. He talked to the passengers and I had more time to talk to him. He let me know his desire to make Maryland’s MTA the premier MTA in the country. He was a bus driver and moved up through the ranks. He takes his job seriously and wants to transport everyone efficiently and safely daily. He can be contacted at RWells@mta.maryland.gov<mailto:RWells@mta.maryland.gov> and he will read and respond to your email. I would know since he rode my bus today.
I think many of us get frustrated because we are not being heard. When someone is listening to you and shows their concern, it means so much. My encouragement to every current and future commuter out there is to contact the MTA about your concerns, fears, ideas and more. They are open to implementing and listening to your concerns. The MTA is a great way to commute and help our environment. So if you are a current MTA customer, you left the MTA or are considering starting to commute in 2011, I would encourage you to go to their website at www.mtamaryland.com<http://www.mtamaryland.com/> or contact Mr. Wells at RWells@mta.maryland.gov<mailto:RWells@mta.maryland.gov> for any concerns you might have and you would be surprised. I suggested Mr. Wells should ride the bus and he took me up on my offer. You should be vocal about your concerns in a nice matter. I am looking forward to the changes in the MTA and Maryland as a whole.
Mr. Dresser thank you for being our voice and you were very essential in making this happen. Thanks to you and your articles, I got my face to face meeting. Thank you again and happy holidays.
Ada N. Orie
Readers can discount somewhat the nice things Orie has said about me. Her problems with the Route 120 have seldom been dramatic on an individual basis. There's been nothing like the "hell train" incident on MARC -- just a steady drip-drip-drip of late buses and indifferent operators. But she's stuck with it, and it's good to see Wells reach out. Now if he can just get the message through that he wants the route to stay fixed, that would be a real victory.