Monday, April 20, 2009

How Do You Make Metro Less Sucky?

You've told us about your pet peeves, but now we want to know your tips for making a Metro ride more tolerable.
For us, we try to be at the front of the trains because it seems slightly less crowded, and we steer clear of the dreaded cow pen walls next to the doors, opting to board via these doors instead. Or maybe you avoid expeditionary Metro riders.
Tell us your secrets for making Metro less sucky.

Some Twitter tips:
@Rizzz: Srsly tho: figuring out which car to get on so that I can hit my connection @ Ft Totten was crucial for unsucking Metro.

@arielleholland: Also, helpful #wmata sign announcing next train isn't showing any minute counts. Bad sign

@JeremyCee Put a bookmark in your phone's web browser for mobile services "Next Train" page @ your home station

Other news:
A DC Examiner reporter had a very different experience at a Metro public hearing than we did.

Photo: kenudigit


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38 comments:

Anonymous said...

This might not be an option for everyone, but I've adjusted my schedule so as to basically avoid rush hour. by 930am and 7pm the trains are considerably less crowded.

Michael said...

I usually try to figure out which end of the train to be on to cut down on walking after I arrive. My wife is skilled at knowing where exactly the doors are going to be when the train stops. It's uncanny.

Anonymous said...

I actually take Metro's advice and move away from the door toward the center of the car. Much less jostling.

Brady Bonk said...

Here's one that I'm reluctant to give away: I get on the train at Farragut West every evening. I think Farragut West is my least favorite station due to the thin platforms and the crowded pedestrian traffic on those platforms. I'm an orange line rider, but I don't wait for an orange line train. Nope, I grab the first train out of there, blue or orange then disembark at Rosslyn to switch. I don't understand why more folks don't do this. The Blue Line trains are always less crowded so it's a nicer ride for the few stops. And Rosslyn's platform is much better, even if you have to wait through a few overcrowded Orange Line trains.

By the way, I might make a suggestion to your poll: Add an "almost." I have never not been able to get off a train because of crowding. But there were times when it was dicey. Get aggressive enough and use enough expletives, and people will take the hint and get the f*** out of your way. I have disembarked to let other folks off and not been able to board again. That's a fun experience.

Metro Opens Floors.

Anonymous said...

immediately avoid anyone who begins to slow down at the exit gates. get your passes ready people!

Anonymous said...

Steer clear of anyone dressed in a full on "DC" souvenir outfit.

Anonymous said...

Handicap ticket gates are the way to go. Unless I see a sign that says handicapped *ONLY*, why let a perfectly good ticket gate go unused?

Anonymous said...

As you enter a station, if the sign says that your train is MANY minutes away (4-5 during rush hour, or 10 -15 otherwise, it probably means the train is JUST NOW entering the station. Trains arriving in 1 minute or less are not announced.

Run while you can! Save yourself a wait!

Anonymous said...

CAN YOU PLEASE TURN DOWN THE VOLUME OF YOUR MUSIC, THIS ANNOYS THE HECK OUT OF ME! I DON'T WANT TO LISTEN TO YOUR MUSIC. THANK YOU : )

Anonymous said...

Ditto on the music comment but a tip for a pleasant ride. Yes, music! Earphones at a reasonable level so not to bug others can, indeed, make the ride more pleasant. Especially if you are in a cow-crowd spot and cannot even get to your book to open/read it.

D_Dot_Com said...

If you stand in front of the posts (where the stop name is printed, or where the maps are printed)...the DOORS ALIGN WITH THEM. Stand @ A POST AND BE IN FRONT OF THE DOOR.

Anonymous said...

Focus on the ends of the platforms where there is less congestion. And if you want to get off quikcly know which side the doors open for your stop. Last but not least, a few minutes before rush hour through the center of the city makes a huge difference

Anonymous said...

After a really scary incident asking a woman - obviously a local - not to eat (messy, melting ice cream) and having her scream at me, I devised a new strategy. If I see someone eating, I walk over and say with great concern - be careful about eating or drinking in the metro. They arrest people for that. If they look skeptical, I tell them about Fawn Hall and the pregnant lady and the lady eating a candy bar on the escalator and the high school kid with the fries. Now, only the HS kid was actually arrested, but what the heck. If they look like tourists, I add "I'd hate to see your visit ruined." Works every time. All of which begs the question about why people can't be grown ups and wait a few minutes before stuffing their faces.

6p00d8341df52b53ef said...

Feel like Moses parting the Red Sea:

I carry a section of the newspaper held out in front of me as a visual cue to the people crowding the platform as I exit the train car. They see me coming out with my newspaper "shield" and move out of the way. It is especially handy for plowing through tourists, Caps and Nationals fans crowding the platforms on game days.

Anonymous said...

If you work in the stations you tend to be spitting up black stuff all the time. This is attributed to brake dust from the trains. Employees usually replace filters on the various equipment like the filters in a furnace. These filters are as black as coal when it is removed. A few years ago WMATA did a study on exactly what was in the air that was breathed in by the employees and patrons. When asked they refused to tell the employees we were told to mind out own business. I for one want to know what exactly we are breathing in. Management know's what the study said, no doubt the board does also. No actual changes in the system took place so everyone forgot about it. I didn't. What is the big secret? What is in the air everyone breathes in? Is there any abestoes in the air down there? Is it safe? Don't you want to know?
Barbidiva

Let's get Metro Fixed said...

Would love to hear from you barbidiva. Email?

Anonymous said...

Please do something about those schedule adjustments. When you are trying to transfer to another train or a bus, you miss your connection every time. Sometimes you are delayed for as long as 2 minutes.

Anonymous said...

WAITING! It's a really simple way to make Metro less-sucky. Problem-not many people are willing to do it. If it's 5:00 after work and the first train that comes up is PACKED to the walls, the next one will most likely be considerably less crowded. You'll enjoy a much more comfy ride if you can spare 3-5 minutes of waiting! This is particularly helpful in stations where the Yellow and Blue Lines are shared since they usually alternate the two different trains. Most of the problems that make Metro sucky on occasion happen on the most crowded trains. Another tip-TOURISTS, or others who are new to Metro-READ AND LISTEN carefully! Read things like Metro's website and even this blog so you'll know how to use the system correctly BEFORE ever walking into a station and boarding a train. While waiting on the train, listen to the announcements inside the station to stay well-informed. Ignorant, obnoxious tourists cause problems for everyone on Metro, so take the steps necessary to not become one of those! Friendly tips-use them as you wish. :-)

Anonymous said...

I hate when a conductor thinks it helps to SHOUT "USE ALL AVAILABLE DOORS - SPREAD OUT - USE ALL AVAILABLE DOORS" during crowded rush hours while he or she literally closes the doors on people as they're trying to get on. NYC conductors actually look out the window to see if they'll close the door on people. Why don't they do that in DC? Who's going to 'USE ANOTHER DOOR" when they know they'll miss their chance to get on?

Anonymous said...

tip: 2 car trains usually equal 8 car trains.

Anonymous said...

weed and music

Anonymous said...

Good manners, people. That's all it takes. PUH-LEEEZ don't yell into your cell phone OR at your friends sitting next to and around you. Whether you're on the Metro or any other form of public transportation, use a little common courtesy and talk quietly!!! Many thanks to you that have had the good upbringing to know this little social advice!

Anonymous said...

Agree with Anonymous 3:25 - Also respect the elders and people with babies and little kids. Nothing irks me more than to see some young, healthy person ignoring the old lady trying to stand and keep her balance while no one is willing to give up their seat.

Caity Bierman said...

few things. Beat rush hour. By me, any time at 8 am or right after it will be packed. If I get to the station that late, I typically wait for the next train, which might be backed up, but way less crowded and obnoxious. I also know where to get on so I can transfer easily, and where to get on from there to exit right by the escalator. I always have my smarttrip ready. I take a book, makes it all go by quicker, and headphones. I'm still trying to figure out why the cars were designed the way they are. it's annoying to sit in either seat, either having to ask someone to get up, or get up for someone else. I like NY's subway car designs.

Chris said...

If you see a 6-car train is coming and want to be in the last car (you know where the first car will stop) walk down the platform about 3/4 of the way till you see a "box" between the rails (it usually has a "20" on it). The end of the 6-car train will be just after it clears that box.

Chris said...

If you see there's an 8-car train coming next walk to the very end of the platform and board the last car. The majority of the trains running are 6-cars so the last two cars of an 8-car train are usually not as crowded.

Chris said...

If you have an Android cell phone get the free "DC Metro" app (green icon with a train/track shadow). This app uses the WMATA website data in VERY real-time to show service problems, next train/bus info, nearest stations, and system map. I use this mostly for the system map as people tend to block the ones on the trains.

Chris said...

The red lights at the edge of the platforms aren't (just) for ambiance... when flashing they indicate a train is about to enter the station. Move back. If people are standing on the "bubbly" part of the platform closest to the train the operator is most likely to have to stop/slow down/take longer when entering the station, thus holding everyone up.

Chris said...

If you get claustrophobic (a surprising number of people on the trains during rush hour freak out because of this) and aren't subject to motion sickness try closing your eyes. With your eyes closed imagine yourself is a large field or on the ocean. When you don't see all the people around you you're less likely to feel claustrophobic. However, if you ARE prone to motion sickness AND claustrophobia PLEASE try to avoid rush hours at ALL costs. (and by costs I mean dry-cleaning bills)

Vanessa said...

What makes riding the metro even worse is when I think about how much I have to pay a month to ride a crowded and hot (in the summer) train that has delays and fare hikes. But recently my friend introduced me to Commuter Nation where I learned how I can save up to 40% on my commute with pre tax benefits! Check out the website at http://www.commuternation.com/dc Now when I ride the metro I can put up with the crowds and heat because I know I’m saving money!

Jack said...

If using a Smartrip card, you do not have to wait for the little orange-person-blocking-thingees to close again before using your card. Just place your card against the reader as soon as the previous person is through, make sure the card registered by reading the display, and you're good to go!

It's surprising how many people that use the SmarTrip card don't know this...

Anonymous said...

There's a wonderful application (that's definitely available on android phones- not sure about iphones) called "DC Metro Transit Info". It tells you the arrival time of the next bus or circulator or train, has a handy metro system map, even links with google maps to tell you which stations are close by. It's been a great tool to have. Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=25&sid=2265242

Anonymous said...

Get those idiots with their damned bicycles OFF the escalators!

Anonymous said...

Don't bring your babies, strollers, 18 party tour groups onto the trains DURING RUSH HOUR!!!

Anonymous said...

Pls. keep 'compact' -- this means keeping your arms from swinging all over the place; keeping your backpack/bags with you; HOLD the pole/do not lean on the pole...

Thanks... !!

Anonymous said...

All of you are CryBabies! Get a Car and Drive it!!

10-year D.C. resident said...

@ Jack.

You wrote: "If using a Smartrip card, you do not have to wait for the little orange-person-blocking-thingees to close again before using your card. Just place your card against the reader as soon as the previous person is through, make sure the card registered by reading the display, and you're good to go!"

If only this were true. Ever since the orange person-blockers clamped down on my thigh because I swiped my SmartTrip before they'd finished closing after the person ahead of me, I always, always wait.

Perhaps the machine that assaulted me was defective, but I'm not taking any chances (I had the bruises to show for it for 3 months. Those things are $#%ing powerful). I don't care how many extra seconds it takes; I now wait for them to close completely.

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