Metro is in deep financial doo doo.
This time, there's no simple answer. Service is likely to be cut, fares are likely to be increased and more worrisome, capital funding might be drained as an easy "out."
Metro management, the Board and the jurisdictions have kicked the can down the road so many times that politically expedient options are hard to see, and some unpleasant decisions are going to have to be made.
Metro places a lot of the blame on the bad economy, which certainly is a factor, but it's not just that.
Unreliable and unfriendly service, unsafe practices and unwise spending, along with a bad economy, all form a perfect storm that is repelling passengers from what used to be among the prides of this city.
These days, it's stories like the one below that sum up the sad state into which Metro has fallen. The story is not catastrophic--in fact, Metro delivered them from A to B--but we think commutes like this are likely to become less the exception and more the rule.
From reader "Medea":
Yesterday morning, I was riding the to from Rockville. The trains were already backed up due to a problem at , but when we got to Grosvenor, I smelled smoke and stood up and said "Fire!" just as the train operator told us to exit immediately.
We moved fast for sleepy people, and I saw that one of the rear cars was smoking. It smelled awful.
While we were waiting in Grosvenor, the station manager started bitching at us over the intercom for asking what was going on.They pulled the crippled train into the switchback, and we got on the next train.
That one made it to Bethesda when the driver started asking passengers in one car to close the doors manually or he'd have to offload us.
But we made it, and no one even had to get out and push.
Best ride in the nation, indeed.