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MARC Increases Weekend Service to National Cherry Blossom Festival

Paul Sheppard | 4/7/2015, 5:52 p.m. | Updated on 4/7/2015, 5:52 p.m.
Extra Saturday Train With New Bike Car Added to Meet Demand

— The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) today announced it will add one new southbound train and extra cars, including its new bike car, to its popular MARC Penn Line Weekend

Service to meet a potential record-breaking number of riders traveling to Washington, D.C., for the National Cherry Blossom Festival this Saturday, April 11, and Sunday, April 12. The world-famous festival, which annually draws more than one million visitors to Washington, D.C., will be highlighted by the annual parade taking place this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 Noon.

MARC will add one train with five coaches and one bike car that will leave Penn Station in Baltimore on Saturday at 11:20 a.m. This train departure is in addition to regularly scheduled southbound trains. The bike car is equipped to hold 23 full-sized bicycles and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. MARC also will add cars to existing trains leaving Baltimore on Saturday and Sunday to meet the expected surge in ridership. Bike trains will be available on several existing weekend trains and are identified on the schedule by a bike symbol next to the train number.

Last year, which was the first year of weekend service, approximately 13,500 passengers rode MARC Penn Line trains on the final weekend of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Current weekend ridership has averaged around 6,500 passengers.

MARC Train Weekend Service offers nine round trips between Penn Station and Union Station on Saturdays and six round trips on Sundays for the same $7.00 one-way fare offered on weekdays, with monthly and weekly passes honored. Serving Martin State Airport, Baltimore’s Penn Station, West Baltimore, Halethorpe, BWI, Odenton,Bowie, New Carrollton and Washington, D.C.’s Union Station, the complete schedule, which includes fares from each station, is available online at http://mta.maryland.gov/sites/default/files/PENN-Weekend_122014.pdf

MARC customers are reminded to purchase their tickets before boarding to avoid the on-board $3 surcharge at stations that have ticket kiosks.MTA also strongly encourages riders to arrive at their station approximately 30 minutes early to allow enough time to purchase tickets and board the train