State Trainmaster Dave Johnson emailed Stuck on MARC yesterday in response to last week's post expressing frustration about the limited holiday "S" schedule. This schedule cuts a handful of regular trains from its daily roster, which isn't so bad, but the difficult part for me was that the latest train leaves at 7:40p.m. with the "S" schedule, rather than 10:30p.m. with the regular schedule. That means I had to purchase a $20 Amtrak ticket to get home after working late, or crash at a friend's apartment in D.C.
Johnson explained that the "S" schedule runs between the federal holidays of Christmas and New Years because "demand is very light" that week, and the reduction is necessary "In light of the state's budget situation."
"We know that it inconveniences some people and do regret that," Johnson said.
I also griped about the fact that Amtrak does not honor MARC monthly pass holders on Northeast Regional trains that run after the last MARC at 7:40p.m. around the holidays. Johnson explained:
"As for putting MARC passengers on Amtrak 198 (8:40 train) or 66 (10:00 train), in the past we have asked for that and been denied by Amtrak."
He said that the next "S" schedule won't happen until Veterans Day, but vowed to revisit the issue with higher ups.