Did MTA update its MARC phone line?
Jason Ewell, manager of program services at the National Federation of the Blind, has discovered a glitch in the Maryland Transit Administration's phone service listings for MARC trains. It appears the MTA might not have updated its information when it changed its schedule on the Penn Line earlier this year.
Here's Ewell's account:
Just letting you know that nearly two months after the change in the MARC train schedule, the MTA telephone system has still not been updated. The light rail schedule also does not work properly and hasn't for many months. Is there any way you could ask MTA officials why they can't make these simple fixes to their system? I have complained several times to the MTA call center employees, but of course all they can do is pass the complaints along.
For the MARC trains, Ewell said, the MTA is handing out incorrect information:
I am checking the schedule for the Penn Line, from Penn Station to Union Station. It is supposed to list the times for the next three trains. Currently, it lists a time which it says is the next train, then it repeats that time, then it gives a different time as the third listing. You can then choose to repeat those times, or list the subsequent three times. If you choose the latter, it again will list the next new time and then repeat it. The third time listed is a different time. I am not certain, but it appears to me as though it is pulling the data from the old schedule. It is definitely not using the current schedule. The 5:20 p.m. departure from Penn Station, which arrives at Union Station at 6:05 p.m. is not listed, for example. To me, the biggest problem here is that this phone system issue happens every time MTA changes the MARC schedule.
The light rail schedule is another matter. After you enter the stops, it says "for the next three departure times, press 1." When you do this, it then transfers you to the operator instead of listing the times as the system is supposed to do.
Getting There confirmed that there appears to be a problem with Penn Line information. The information dispensed by phone doesn't match that on the schedule published on its web site.
On the light rail. Getting There tried calling 410-539-5000 but was unable to replicate Ewell's bad experience. It seemed to work fine when I asked for the next three trains.
Of course, Ewell has good reason to be concerned. His students are much more dependent on getting accurate information by phone than most of us. That's why he should have received prompt action when he complained, and that's why we'll be raising the issue with the MTA.