We're anxiously awaiting the online chat with Metro GM John Catoe, but it's 12:09, and there's no sign of him. Maybe he got stuck on a train on the way to the chat. Oh wait, he doesn't ride Metro.
The chat has started, and it's about as interesting as watching paint dry.
Amazing how the questions align with Metro talking points: eliminating paper transfers, "we don't get all our money from fares," we're looking for other sources of income...
On how some of the stimulus money will be used:
"Metro will also use the money to upgrade the lighting in stations, tunnels and other facilities. This directly relates to the President goal of reducing the nation’s energy use. Currently, most Metro facilities have 1960’s lighting technology that must be updated for use of LED lighting fixtures that provide higher levels of lighting and longer bulb life."
Anyone else think lighting is that high of a priority?
The only tough question so far:
Vienna, VA: Dear Mr. Catoe: Im a fan of Metro, but what is going on with these maintenance car derailments?! As frustrating as other Metro delays can be, these really seem to be the toppers. Why the rash of accidents? What do they say about overall system safety? Are revenue service derailments now more likely? What are you doing to make sure such things dont happen again? Thank you.
Reply: Metro is a very safe system. Each of these incidents involved different pieces of equipment on different sections of track, so there is no trend at work here. These were unrelated, and they are being thoroughly investigated. The results of our investigations will be used to help ensure these type of incidents don’t recur. In fact, the track where the derailment occurred at the Mt Vernon Station had been already scheduled for replacement and that was done last weekend. I would point out though, that as our system gets older, we need money to maintain it, that’s why the $11.3 billion in funding for our capital improvement program through 2020 will be so important.
Pretty much a snoozefest. I really don't believe he's sitting there typing out the answers. Just take a look at the length of some of the responses.