Thursday, November 5, 2009

If it Ain't Broke, Don't Fix it

Sadly, that appears to be Metro's modus operandi.

While yesterday's "glitch" was more annoying than anything else, it again sheds light on how Metro seems to operate reactively, not proactively. This is, we've argued repeatedly, because of three problems: poor management, lack of money and no oversight body (and here) that can force Metro to take prudent action BEFORE there's a crisis.

Yesterday's communications meltdown was caused by a 27-year-old power distribution unit that failed. There is no redundant system. According to the Washington Post, it will cost $14 million to repair, so pile that onto the already looming $22 million budget deficit.

According to Metro's chief spokesperson, Lisa Farbstein who spoke to WJLA:
"It was something old. It was something that had been previously identified as needing to be upgraded. It was on the list. Unfortunately it failed before we were able to address it."
Since this appears to be déjà vu week on this blog, you may recall that Metro knew there were potential problems with the automatic train control system--a problem identified and fixed by the Bay Area Rapid Transit System in the 1970s--yet WMATA failed to take any action until after the June 22 crash, and the new system is only now being tested.

Makes you wonder what else is on "the list" that's out there ready to break. Those T3s are pretty sweet though.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

they're playing wacka a mole with our lives.

Anonymous said...

Instead of a tricycle, how about Metro invests in a new General Manager.

John Catoe must go.

Anonymous said...

This morning was a nightmare. A train was offloaded at Judiciary, causing a domino effect of hundreds of people overcrowding the next trains. I exited at Gallery Place and wasn't able to walk the platform toward the exit for 10 minutes because of the crush of people. Two trains went by, and were not able to offload all of their passengers because the platform was so crowded. The station managers said they couldn't do anything and were "calling transit to come and look into it." Gah.

Paul said...

i wonder what would have happened if it was the other power unit that controls the rail system (I assume the signaling system etc.) failed yesterday...

michelle said...

we are so screwed......

Anonymous said...

I think metro's modus operandi is more like "if it IS broke, don't fix it"

Anonymous said...

Damn, with all the offloading and massive suckage of metro you'd think the station managers could handle the crowds in their sleep. But no, they are full of fail.

Anonymous said...

And in the absence of a method of communication, how where the bus drivers keeping in touch with their dispatch? Not their cell phones!

Anonymous said...

I spoke with a transit cop about the responsibility of station managers. Station Managers help with the farecard machines, make sure the lavatories are clean, troubleshoot SmartTrip cards and keep an eye out for fare evaders, and occasionally give directions, period. They only do "crowd control" with specific instruction and direction. They have Transit Cops on speed dial because they're only observers, not active participants.

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