Light rail riders brace for reduced schedules – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Starting next week, light rail schedules will be reduced due to staff shortages.

The Maryland Transit Administration said starting Sunday, July 10, weekday trains will operate on a modified schedule on Saturdays.

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Trains will arrive every 15 minutes at most stations and will continue to alternate between BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and Glen Burnie. During peak hours or during special events, light rail will adapt to service demands by increasing trains to handle additional passenger volume.

The new schedule will be reassessed in the fall based on operator availability.

Holly Arnold, head of the MTA, said the agency was “down about 26 light rail operators from the 79 we need.”

Delays with trains, or trains that don’t show up at all, have made Kim Bailey late for work on numerous occasions.

“Several days this week. About 40 minutes late, about 20 minutes,” Bailey said.

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William Hellmann said he was grateful to have an understanding employer because sometimes his train never arrives, and without a car he also ends up running late.

“They have to find a system because we rely on it and the system doesn’t work,” he said.

Runner Mike Jones said he wants passengers to know when trains will be late or missing.

“The problem is they’re not getting the reviews out fast enough for people,” he said.

MTA is trying to hire, train and retain more light rail operators. Previously, MTA relied on its employees working as bus drivers to operate the trains. Now the agency is so understaffed that it takes in anyone to apply.

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“We’ve doubled the number of training classes so we can bring in more people from outside and inside who want to get training,” Arnold said.

Jose P. Rogers