With two weeks to go until the presidential inauguration, the Maryland Transit Administration still has plenty of seats left on MARC trains headed to Washington's Union Station.
The agency is about to ramp up marketing efforts to sell the 7,400 tickets remaining from a stockpile of 9,000 tickets, said spokesman Terry Owens. Train tickets, $25 for a round trip, must be purchased in advance of the Jan. 21 event. Regular MARC tickets and passes will not be honored.
The demand is far less than it was four years ago, when the MTA website crashed as about 112,000 people attempted to buy tickets on the first day and people began lining up at 3 a.m. at the agency's downtown Baltimore store.
"We are hearing that smaller crowds are expected, but with the inauguration falling on a federal holiday, when many will be off work, it is hard to gauge what the demand will be," Owens said. "Weather will also very likely be a key factor."
Union Station is less than a mile walk from The Mall, where spectators can watch the swearing in.
Morning and afternoon inaugural service will be run on the Penn and Brunswick lines. Penn Line trains will depart from Baltimore's Penn Station every 30 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Afternoon service will depart from Washington's Union Station from 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Penn Line service will not operate north of Baltimore's Penn Station and will only board passengers at Odenton, BWI, Halethorpe and West Baltimore between Penn and Union stations.
The Brunswick Line will offer two morning trains from Martinsburg, W. Va., at 7:25 a.m. and 8:25 a.m., and two morning trains departing from Frederick at 8:15 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. Two afternoon trains will leave Washington for Martinsburg at 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. and two afternoon trains will leave for Frederick at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Most of the 1,640 tickets sold so far have been for Penn Line service, Owens said, with the overwhelming majority of the tickets purchased at the MTA website, http://www.mta.maryland.gov. Tickets also can also be purchased at the MTA Transit Store at 6 St. Paul St.