Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Who's Looking Over WMATA's Shoulder?

We know who "funds" Metro and who doesn't, but who ensures a mass transit system like Metro is operating safely?

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made several, by now well documented, safety recommendations to Metro, but Metro passed. The NTSB can not enforce its recommendations.
Its mission is as follows:
The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent Federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in the other modes of transportation -- railroad, highway, marine and pipeline -- and issuing safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents.
What about the Federal Transit Administration?

According to their Web site:

FTA provides stewardship of combined formula and discretionary programs totaling more than $10B to support a variety of locally planned, constructed, and operated public transportation systems throughout the U.S., including buses, subways, light rail, commuter rail, streetcars, monorail, passenger ferry boats, inclined railways, and people movers. To carry out its mission, FTA administers a variety of grant programs to serve local communities throughout the United States.

So, they basically administer grants.

And the Federal Railroad Administration?

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) actively supports the development of the nation's intercity rail passenger system.

Your average, fully loaded 747 carries one half to a third of what an average rush hour Metro train carries, yet the Federal Aviation Administration can ground an entire make of aircraft if it believes them to be unsafe, no matter the inconvenience to the riding public.

Who can tell Metro or MTA or BART to clean up their act or else?

It's an honest question. If anyone out there knows the answer, we'd love to hear.

Other news:
Metro moving 1000-series cars to middle of trains (WTOP)
NTSB Finds Metro Control 'Anomalies' (WaPo)
Red Line partially reopen (WaPo)
Va./Md. pony up some dough (WHSV)
Hoyer slams Reagan for cutting public transport funding (CNSN)
Weekend track maintenance on Blue, Green, Orange (WMATA)

Items of interest:
Why I Hate DC's "Catoe Watch" (When's HIS press conference BTW?!?)
New Post columnist suggests circumferential Metro (GGW)
What to do about the 1000-series cars (GGW)
WMATA's safety systems (GGW)
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Malnurtured Snay said...

Let's consider this, shall we? Because if Metro on Monday morning had yanked all of their Series 1000 cars, what would the result have been? Sure, no accident, but also, removing 25% of the fleet? Massive delays. Overcrowded train cars. Overcrowded train PLATFORMS which is a seriously dangerous situation in and of itself.

Anonymous said...

If there was a law or regulatory agency with authority to mandate that Metro comply with NTSB's recommendations or pull the 1000 series, Metro would have a much stronger negotiating position with VA, MD, DC, and Congress.

That funding promise would materialize tomorrow if there was a credible risk of the Federal workforce being stuck in the burbs.

Unsuck DC Metro said...

Great point.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't they think to put those 1000 series cars in the middle before? It would seem to be the best solution, given the NTSB recommendations and lack of funding.

Had any of us understood what was going on, maybe someone would have thought of it sooner.

Anonymous said...

If friends and family who, "cover for each other", wasnt in charge then perhaps disciplinary actions would be issued for all employees.

It seems supervisors get off the hook if they are acceptable by mgmt.. Acceptable means> do what mgmt instructs even if it is ______.

I believe all management/supervisors need their records reviewed, including felony ad misdomenor coviction while employed at WMATA.
These employees also operate trains, drive Metro cars/trucks and equiptment.

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