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MTA Announces New Bike Car and Delivers Early Holiday Gift to MARC Train Weekend Riders

Friday, December 12, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  MTA Announces New Bike Car and Delivers Early Holiday Gift to MARC Train Weekend Riders Service Starts on Saturday, December 13, on Weekend Penn Line Trains

Full-Size Car Accommodates 16 Full-Size Bicycles

BALTIMORE, MD (DECEMBER 11, 2014) – One year after the start of MARC Train weekend service, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) today announced the addition of a new, full-size bike car enabling passengers on select MARC weekend Penn Line trains to bring full-sized, non-collapsible bicycles onboard starting this Saturday, December 13.  

“MARC passengers and bicycle enthusiasts have been asking for a bike car for years, and we are thrilled to launch this new service for our customers,” said MTA Administrator Robert Smith. “A designated bike car will help us attract more MARC passengers and increase tourism opportunities for Washington, D.C., Baltimore and all stops in between.”

Currently, MARC permits foldable bicycles onboard all three weekday commuter train lines (Penn, Camden and Brunswick). The new bike car will be attached to a designated weekend Penn Line train between Martin State Airport, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.  The bike car currently will accommodate 16 full-size bicycles and can be expanded to accommodate up to 26 full-size bicycles.  As new multi-level commuter rail cars have been added to the MARC Train system, MTA crews refurbished an older single level car to create the new bike car.

“Allowing riders to bring a bicycle on the train helps solve the last-mile problem that transit riders often face getting from the station to their final destination,” said Brian O'Malley, President & Chief Executive Officer of Central Maryland Transportation Alliance.  “The MARC Penn Line corridor is rich with job centers, colleges and universities and excellent biking facilities.  Now, more people can reach a job at Ft. Meade or Arundel Mills, a class at Bowie State or Anne Arundel Community College, or ride the 13-mile BWI trail.”

Aside from bicycles, this new “modular” car also will have available seating for 40 commuters with the current configuration.  Modular cars also can be set up for different accommodations as needed.  There will be no additional cost for passengers who bring bicycles onboard the bike car and accommodations are first come first served.  Depending on customer demand, a second bike car may be added to the Penn Line weekend service in 2015.

“The bike community has lobbied for more bicycle access to trains for years, and MTA listened,” said Nate Evans, Executive Director of Bike Maryland, a leading bicycle advocacy group in the State.  “We are thrilled to see this come to fruition.  You will see some very busy trains in the spring and summer because allowing bikes will boost bike tourism in the region.”

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the start of MARC’s highly successful weekend Penn Line service.  Since then, the service has grown considerably with nearly 6,000 (5,950) boardings last weekend compared to nearly 4,000 (3,992) boardings during the launch of weekend service on December 7 and December 8, 2013.

MARC Penn Line trains provide weekend service between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., operating nine round trips on Saturdays and six round trips on Sundays.   Link here for details on the new MARC Weekend Service Bike Car, http://tinyurl.com/newmarcweekend, and look for the trains with the bike symbol on the schedule.  Weekly and monthly passes, or a $7 fare, will provide passengers a ride on the new weekend service between Union Station and Penn Station.  Fares vary depending on the station a passenger gets on / off the train.  One-way fare examples include: Union Station to BWI Marshall Airport - $6; Penn Station to BWI Marshall Airport - $4; and Union Station to Odenton - $5.

For the latest information on MTA service, passengers are urged to check the MTA website at www.mta.maryland.gov. Customers can also call the MTA Transit Information Contact Center Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 410-539-5000. TTY 410-539-3497. To sign-up for email about service modifications and delays, go to www.mta.maryland.gov/enotifications. Visit MTA’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mtamaryland or Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/mtamaryland for more sources of updated information.     

MEDIA CONTACTS:          
Paul Shepard Office:    410-767-3935         Cellular:  443-622-4181

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