One can blame Metro for many things--and we do--but when someone throws themselves in front of a train, as apparently happened yesterday on the Red Line, Metro, particularly the operator, is a victim.
It's hard to imagine the feelings an operator faces after such an incident, and they appear to be happening with greater regularity, with five, by our count, in the past six months.
According to this article, "a commuter rail engineer will see as many as 20 [suicides] in his [25-year] career."
Seems a little high, but one would be enough to potentially cause some serious mental anguish.
The article says that "the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 112 people nationwide killed themselves using buses, trains and subways in 2002, a tiny percentage of the approximately 30,000 suicides each year."
In Germany, the article says, there were 18 transit related suicide attempts a week.
One reason suicidal people might pick trains is that there's a 90 percent "success" rate, according to the article.
We asked Metro how it treats operators who've been involved in these kinds of incidents. They said "each incident is unique to the individual train or bus operator. They meet with a counselor from our Employee Assistance Program who then determines with the employee what the proper course of action for that employee is. Some employees may choose to come back to work the next day, others may require additional counseling and therapy."
Do you think three's anything Metro can do to prevent further suicides?
Should Metro take a hint from VRE? (WaPo)
Board members learn from Labor Day closings (Examiner)