It's amazing that a train conductor can't operate the trains well enough to consistently stop in the same spot, and it's friggin' dumbfounding that an operator--someone who's job it is to drive a train and is responsible for hundreds of lives--could forget how many cars were on his/her train!
As we mentioned when this topic surfaced a couple months ago, we've been on many subway systems where the location of the doors is marked ON THE PLATFORM. That's how precise they are.
The reason other systems are able to operate this way is because they've invested in reliable "Automatic Train Control" systems. Basically, autopilot for trains.
Metro has deployed ATC, but according to the Post's Robert Thompson, there "are lots of hiccups in our system."
So when will Metro get this problem fixed?
Here's what they had to say.
"We are now in the process of installing new computer software that will allow 8-car trains to run with precision stopping. With 1,116 rail cars, this will take a few months. Once it is done, we will begin running the trains in automatic. Even with this new software, it will not mean that all trains will run in automatic all the time.While we wait for Metro to field the latest ATC, we recommend an investment in some sticky notes. When a driver begins a shift, they could count the cars, write it down on the sticky note and leave it on the dashboard for future reference. We're not being flip here. Post Its would be a cheap, effective way to make sure train operators remember the number of cars on the train they're driving.
We will always run in manual when there is a track maintenance, inclement weather, extremely crowded platforms etc.
Also, to keep operators current on manual mode operation, there is a requirement to run trains manually on a regular basis."
Metro employees appear to have stopped parking at the Kiss and Ride in Takoma, but now they're doing it at Braddock Road. (Thanks Addison)
Metro revisiting MetroAccess (WaPo)
Col. Pike Streetcar moving forward (DC Examiner)