Public transportation enjoys broad support in Hagerstown sampling

April 09, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN |

HAGERSTOWN — Edward Bryan said he believes a more efficient public transportation system in the United States, including high-speed rails, would improve safety.

“One of the biggest things that we see as firemen is that a lot of people like to drive and text,” said Bryan, a member of the Hagerstown Fire Department. “If people could take trains, they could do all the talking and texting they wanted to.”

Bryan, 57, was among Hagerstown residents Monday who discussed the use of mass transit and better public transportation across the country and in Hagerstown. He added he also supports the idea of a light rail that would connect Hagerstown to Washington, D.C.

“A lot of people from Hagerstown commute down to Brunswick or Gaithersburg to go into the city,” he said. “If we had light rail up here that would go down there, it would save people a lot of money.”

Anthony Shaffer, 52, said that he thinks the Metro in the District should extend to Hagerstown.

“They’re working on taking the Metro out to Dulles Airport in Virginia,” he said. “It would probably cost a lot of money to bring it out here, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea.”

Shaffer said he likes the idea of the federal government investing in a high-speed rail that connects the whole country.

“You could pretty much go anywhere at a pretty good pace,” he said. “It would help create jobs. You’re going to need people to build this and operate it.”

Wendy Hughes, 50, said she supports a high-speed rail to cut down on driving.

“Driving is dangerous, and gas prices are high,” she said. “You could get to different places more easily, and we could depend less on foreign oil with a high-speed rail.”

According to the U.S. Depqartment of Transportation website at, The Acela Express of Amtrak on the Northeast Corridor is currently the only high-speed rail in the United States, running through Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York.

Russell Keller, 78, talked about how Hagerstown is not what it used to be in terms of public transportaton.

“This city used to have trains and buses coming through always,” he said. “It was like a small San Francisco.”

Keller said a high-speed rail system across the country would make it easier for people to travel and noted he already takes advantage of the public transportation that exists.

“My wife and I get on the Amtrak in Martinsurg to travel,” he said. “More public transportation would help clean the air.”

Angela Bailey, 43, said that she thought public transportation should be improved across the country, but not just with trains, because it would help people who do not have access to cars, and it might help reduce the number of cars on the road.

“All the pollution from the cars makes people cough and gag,” she said. “I think the buses in Hagerstown should be running on Sundays.”

Tony DeMarco, 46, said that although he supports a high-speed rail system connecting the country, it does not mean people would prefer it to driving.

“Sometimes you have to wait a while on public transportation,” he said. “But right now, gas prices are killing people. They want to go places seven days a week, so it’d be nice to catch a train to go places.”

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