BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An emergency shutdown of the entire Metro SubwayLink system crippled commutes for a second day.
The sudden closures that began Friday prolonged and complicated commutes for thousands of workers throughout the region.
Saturday tested commuters’ patience as metro crews continued to work on emergency repairs.
“It’s usually about an hour and a half to get to my job and back. Now it’s like almost four hours,” Michael Whorms said.
While the whole system is closed for inspection this weekend, the Maryland Transit Administration says vital repairs to the elevated rail system from Owings Mills Station to West Coldspring will take weeks.
“Safety is absolutely number one for us, and number one for our passengers, and we don’t take any risks with our passengers,” said Maryland Department of Transportation MTA Administrator Kevin Quinn.
MDOT MTA has been channeling buses to closed stations to help ease the inconvenience. But passengers say buses have been too full and don’t come often enough.
“Yesterday, the bus was so packed, people were like, buses like went by at least five or six, seven stops, stopping maybe once or twice. People were just standing outside for hours,” Antrice Sykes said .
The shutdown happened due to a preliminary inspection that was conducted in preparation for planned summer track-work, in which inspectors learned that some sections of track need replacement sooner than expected.
MDOT MTA officials will reopen Metro SubwayLink stations as soon as possible with updates to be provided by Sunday night.
“My commute is so long. Normally, I could take a bus from my house to the metro and then catch it right here. But now I’ve got to catch three buses in order to get home,” Portia Harris said.
Some say the repairs to these lines are long overdue, and this emergency shutdown could avoid a major disaster.
Still, commuters are hopeful the confusion comes to an end soon.
“I understand it’s an emergency, but at the same time, they had no agents at the stations to direct anyone. A lot of these bus drivers are just not sure and don’t know what to do,” Whorms said.
MDOT MTA customers are encouraged to visit www.mta.maryland.gov for the latest updates and alternative transportation options, as well as www.facebook.com/mtamaryland and Twitter @mtamaryland or to call 410-539-5000.