Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So Now They're Acting?

There was a flurry of activity yesterday, which once again shone light on Metro's reactive way of doing business and the complete lack of regulation (and here) that exists for systems like Metro.
The National Transportation Safety Board recommended that Metro install a back up system to its automatic train control and urged Metro to respond within 30 days.
Metro wasted no time and issued an ingratiating press release saying they "appreciate" the NTSB recommendations and that they're "pleased that NTSB has now agreed to allow us to move forward with our plan to initiate an independent panel of experts in signal systems through the American Public Transportation Association before the NTSB investigation has been completed."
They had a plan? So it was the NTSB that was in the way this whole time? Not sure we understand, Metro.
Metro went on to say "we will be developing a new system that will be specifically tailored to Metro. Metro is in the process of contacting vendors who have the expertise needed to help us develop this service, and we are preparing cost estimates on this application."
Of course, the crux here is that Metro really doesn't have to do anything the NTSB says--they passed on replacing the 1000-series cars, for example.
The only thing we're sure Metro will do is continue to regurgitate pablum like "The safety of our customers and our employees continues to be our prime concern."
Even in the press release, Metro appears to cling to the remote idea that somehow fault for the accident will fall elsewhere.
"In spite of the issuance of this recommendation, the NTSB still has not determined the root cause of the accident."
We're glad Metro is at least saying they're going to take safety steps it should have back when disco ruled, but as we asked before, does it take an accident of this magnitude to get Metro to move? BART nipped this problem in the bud in the '70s!
It appears it takes embarrassing videos to make Metro change a stupid policy that previously slapped an offender on the wrist for texting while operating a train.
Any organization that is merely reacting to problems is poorly managed, and eventually all the poor decisions and indecision will come home to roost. They already are.
Metro has now demonstrated twice within a week that the only impetus for change is egg on its face or blood on its hands.
You haven't unsucked yourself a bit, Metro.

Other items:
Post story on NTSB recs
WTOP's take
Catoe heading to Hill (WTOP)
Looks like someone's been reading this blog (Examiner)
Local pols eye standards (Examiner)
House subcommittee approves $150 million for Metro (WMATA)

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Anonymous said...

Don't forget the third reaction Metro has made, bellying the 1000 series cars. Nothing stopped them from doing this before nine people died.

Malnurtured Snay said...

Y'know, you keep saying that Metro failed to replace the 1000 series car like the NTSB said, but you make it sound like Metro had either the cars or the money to replace them, which they didn't. If Metro had pulled those cars, you'd be complaining about the lack of trains during rush hour.

Let's get Metro Fixed said...

They didn't even come up with a plan to replace them and worse still, they didn't belly them until after the accident. Bellying wouldn't have cost very much.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe it. You guys actually think bellying does anything to make the trains safer? I'm disappointed. Usually this blog is better about recognizing totally meaningless PR stunts.

If you have a stronger railcar collide with a weaker railcar, the weaker one gets smushed (as happened on 6/22.) If a stronger train hits another strong train that's got a weaker car in its belly, the force is TRANSFERRED to the weaker car. Weaker car still gets smushed. This is high school physics, guys. It affords no protection whatsoever and is 100% a PR move.

Also, maybe you guys should tune in today.

Let's get Metro Fixed said...

The point was more about being stirred (spurred to action. We also believe the move is largely a PR stunt.
We'll definitely be tuning in.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, you still havn't answered my question from last week.

Who is "we"?

"*WE* also believe..."
"*WE'll* definitely be..."

This is seriously starting to bug me...

Let's get Metro Fixed said...

Don't read if you're bugged.

Anonymous said...

I've been a reader of this blog since before the accident, and I have to say I'm a bit disappointed... before it was dedicated to Metro's negative points, yes, but since then its taken on a very nasty tone. Every article seems to be an attack on Metro more than anything else.

Metro's sytem isn't perfect- hell, lets be honest, its pretty terrible in a lot of respects. But to read this lately, you'd think they were a bunch of moustache-twirling villains out to destroy us all as part of some wicked plot.

Its pretty disappointing to see what was previously a very interesting site turn into something like this.

RmichaelDBorg said...

what blog are you reading anonymous? i find the same mix of criticism, information and humor as was always here.

Paul said...

I am a daily Metro rider and yes, I would support pulling the 1000 series cars and perhaps even closing down the Metro until they fix the signaling system. I'm sure Metro will magically receive the funding it needs in no time. Sometimes, it will take extreme events before our government starts to act.

Anonymous said...

@3:57 anon. if only metro was capable of a plot--of any kind. you give them too much credit.

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