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Riverdale Park Council to Address MARC Train Schedule Changes

Effective April 2, a new timetable will allow trains to leave Riverdale up to five minutes earlier than the listed hour.

The Riverdale Park Town Council has scheduled a special legislative session Monday evening to consider a resolution on imminent MARC Train schedule changes at Riverdale Station.

Under the "Camden Line Schedule Adjustment," introduced recently by the Maryland Transit Administration, trains are set to depart Riverdale slightly earlier in the morning and slightly later in the evening beginning on Monday, April 2. (See below for details.)

But the more controversial aspect of the new schedule is the "L" designation applied to southbound/westbound service, which means trains can leave up to five minutes earlier than the listed hours.

"End point on time performance has been in the 90% range for a while, but we recognize that trains are not on time at many intermediate stops," the MTA wrote of its decision. "By adjusting times to reflect both current operational conditions and ridership levels, we will be able to provide a more reliable service to all of our passengers."

In , Riverdale Park resident Dwight Holmes called the decision "unacceptable."

"For anyone who uses Riverdale or Dorsey stations, this is not a timetable. This is a forecast—as in, 'There’s an indeterminate possibility of the train departing on time at 7:29 a.m., and one must be prepared that it might depart as early as 7:24 a.m,'" Holmes wrote.

The issue will come before the town council at 8 p.m. on Monday, when members will weigh a resolution "regarding a MARC scheduling change which downgrades service to Riverdale Park Station." The council's regularly scheduled worksession will follow.

A petition for commuters seeking to rescind the schedule changes is also available inside Riverdale Station.

Southbound/westbound trains

Train Old schedule New schedule 841 5:56 a.m. L5:51 a.m. 845 7:06 a.m. L7:04 a.m. 847 7:36 a.m. L7:29 a.m. 851 9:04 a.m. L9:01 a.m. 855 6:05 p.m. L6:14 p.m. 857 7:00 p.m. L7:09 p.m.

Northbound/eastbound trains

Train Old schedule New schedule 840 6:52 a.m. 6:42 a.m. 842 7:17 a.m. 7:10 a.m. 848 4:49 p.m. 4:53 p.m. 850 5:26 p.m. 5:38 p.m. 854 6:53 p.m. 7:03 p.m. 856 7:35 p.m. 7:55 p.m.
DWIGHT HOLMES March 23, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Thanks to the Patch for bringing attention to this. Allow me to add, though, that the MARC rationale that you report in the article, that "trains can leave up to five minutes earlier than the listed hours in order to remain on time at subsequent stations" makes no sense. Riverdale is the last station before Union Station. MARC already pads their schedules with an extra 10 minutes. So trains can leave Riverdale 10 minutes late (as they sometimes do) and still be "on time" at the end of the line. There are no subsequent stations other than the end of the line! All this does is add an additional measure of anxiety to everyone's morning time - for no good reason. Thanks, again. Dwight Holmes
John Davisson March 23, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Good point, Dwight — I've tweaked that paragraph slightly to let the MTA's explanation stand on its own. Thanks for the note.
Pachacutec March 23, 2012 at 02:14 PM
I could see people getting upset if the scheduling was, say, a half hour or more; but the town council is actually getting involved in this over a 5 minute schedule variable?
DWIGHT HOLMES March 28, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Pachacutec - It's not the schedule has been changed that is objectionable. It's the ridiculous addition of a clause in the schedule that trains can leave Riverdale station five minutes ahead of the scheduled departure time. All this does is add unnecessary anxiety into everyone's morning, without advancing any of MARC's stated reasons for the change. The fact that it is physically impossible for the trains to leave College Park on time (and there's no "L" designation indicating they would leave early) and then leave Riverdale 5 minutes early. Even if they travel at the speed of light. So why put this on the schedule?

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