Friday, February 6, 2009

Prepare for Drunk Drivers

If you've ever been grateful to Metro for getting you home safely from a night of a little too much celebration, prepare to for over fork a cab or take your chances behind the wheel. According to this WTOP article, Metro is considering stopping service at 10 p.m. on weeknights and "cutting back" late night service on weekends. Also on the table is reducing the frequency of trains during rush hour. I don't know about other lines, but for Orange Line riders, this must sound like exactly the right way to go!

For a system that has to fight three public relations wars at once, in the District, Maryland and Virginia, these moves would add to the perception that the system is fundamentally mismanaged or flawed and just unworthy of funding. That perception may or may not be correct--we think it is, but think the solution is more funding and better service--but these days sadly, perception is what counts, and money is scarce. That said, there do seem to be a lot of empty, late night trains during the week, as this photo demonstrates. What was the per rider cost on this guy?

Metro realizes the bind it's in, according to the article.

"All of the possibilities are unpleasant," says Metro Board member Chris Zimmerman, who represents Arlington. "We have more people riding than ever before, and we are providing a higher quality (of service) than ever before, but we may have to tell people that service is being cut. It is a heck of a thing to do."

We might have gone with something stronger than "heck," but you get the idea.

It should be noted that transit systems in Chicago and New York City are facing even larger budget gaps than Metro and are considering fare hikes.

Examiner story
Washington Post story
Greater Greater Washington
Does WMATA need a bailout?

Do you think these proposed service cuts are a step in the right direction?

Photo: John Morris

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I seldom use Metro late at night during the week, and when I have, it's been pretty empty. Maybe a better idea would be to run many fewer trains, but run them on a schedule that people can rely on. As for cutting back on the weekend nights, I think it's a big, big mistake. Those trains, especially the later ones, are very well used, and from the odor in the cars, I'd rather have those people on the Metro than out driving! Why can't they just be more moderate? Why does it have to be "eliminate" this or "cut" that?

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