BALTIMORE — Inspections and repairs continue on the entire light rail fleet, as the light rail suspension entered its fourth day Monday.
The Maryland Transportation Authority began the emergency suspension Friday due to mechanical problems. The MTA did not provide any specific updates on the situation Monday, only that work was still ongoing.
Moving forward, maintaining and repairing older transit vehicles should be a priority, a Baltimore transportation advocacy organization said.
Camden Station is more like a bus station these days, serving as the midpoint for the replacement shuttle service during the suspension period.
Several riders told WJZ that it takes longer to get to their destinations.
“I’m used to riding light rail and… [we just go]“Now you have to wait for the bus to leave,” Leo Harris said.
Patricia works at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. She said the timings of shuttle trips were hit or miss, so she and other co-workers left early to ensure they got to work on time.
“We have to leave for work three hours early and we still have to work eight or 12 hours, and we still have to come home [after]”It’s really complicated,” she said.
The MTA said Thursday night that punctured ducts and problems with cables connecting sections of light rail cars prompted the suspension — finding the problems to be more systemic than previously thought.
Brian O’Malley is president and CEO of the nonprofit Central Maryland Transportation Alliance. He said late efforts to overhaul the light rail fleet likely had a large role in the situation.
“This is the result of putting off maintenance,” O’Malley said. “Anyone who keeps a house or a car knows it’s going to hurt you.” “I think that’s partly what’s going on here.”
Moving forward, O’Malley said maintenance and repair must be prioritized moving forward, especially as the transportation budget faces billions in cuts.
“I would urge to make sure we prioritize the right things in these cuts,” he said. “That starts with making sure we take care of the good repair needs and assets we have now.”
There are a total of 53 light rail cars. The MTA said it will take eight cars to return to begin limited service, while it will take 19 cars to resume full service.
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