I always take light rail in for the Ravens games because I am cheap and don’t want to pay for parking. Light rail would be nice and convenient if they would fix issues that lead to long waits, crowded trains and irritated people. Here are some ways I think they could fix this.
1. Number of trains – There have been two games this year where the Ravens won big, which means everyone leaves early. In the past, this meant those of us who stayed until the end of the game had no lines for the trains. Unfortunately, this year all of the people who leave early are still there waiting for a train 20-30 minutes later when the game actually ends. Once can only assume that this means they are running fewer trains. I understand that on a typical Sunday, fewer trains makes sense, but not on a game day. If you know the schedule, there should be a way to run trains more frequently on game day. Also, when there is a Sunday night game and service is officially over why not have all of the trains stacked downtown so they can fill up and leave as soon as the game is over? Why have long waits between trains? If it is a money issue, you would think the Ravens make enough money they could chip in to pay for more trains to make the game day experience more pleasurable.
2. Crowd control – This is not an MTA issue. This is a stupid people issue. People get to the platform at the end of the game and stop immediately. There is always room for more people at the end of the platform, but they can’t get there because of all of the people crowded at the very start of the platform. This causes the line to stretch up the ramp unnecessarily and makes loading the train slower. There are plenty of MTA people around. They need to take a more active role in moving people down the platform. Also, once people get on the trains and it is standing room only, people crowd by the doors and won’t move to the middle of the train. This prevents more people from entering the train and causes the lines to remain long. There are plenty of times the trains leave with space for 10-20 more people per car, but they can’t get on because people won’t make the room.\
3. Staff the ticket machines – It was much easier to get tickets and get on a train when you purchased them from a person at the station. The same people who are too stupid to move down the platform are too stupid to buy tickets without help. You can miss several trains waiting in long lines caused by people unable to operate the ticket machines.
4. BWI/Cromwell – I get on the train at North Linthicum and can take either the BWI or the Cromwell trains. There are a large number of people who can’t take the BWI train. Unfortunately, those people are all standing on the platform while those of us who would love to get on the BWI train can’t get to it. I’m sure some BWI trains leave not even close to full because of this. Maybe you can figure out a way to have a BWI only platform area with access from a roped off area?
5. Consistency – At the very least make sure customers know what they are going to get. Yesterday trains were a little closer together(though 20 minutes between trains is still bad) but some days you can stand there for 30 minutes or more waiting for a train. Consistent service, even if not adequate, is better than inadequate, but also inconsistent service.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure anyone with MTA, the Ravens or the city of Baltimore care enough to fix it.