Saturday, January 31, 2009

We Need More Lines


Trains break down and that sucks. Sometimes people leave garbage on the train. And of course, the work to repair escalators never ends. These aren't a big deal to me though. I mean, if too many people get on a train and the driver makes everyone get off, why cant people at the next station get on? Is it broken at that point and it must go in for repairs? Whatever, it doesn't matter.

To me, the biggest problem by far is that there are not enough lines and the lines do not go far enough out. We have 5 lines. That's it. Hardly any of them go much beyond 10 miles from city center. New York has a lot more lines. If you look at a map of Manhattan's subway system, there are lines and stops everywhere. We should be more like that. There also needs to be a "beltway" line that goes around the city so you can go from one place to another without having to go downtown. It might be a good idea to have trains run on different tracks. For example, could we have an orange train start in Vienna, go to Rosslyn, switch to the blue line, go down to Pentagon, cross the river to L'Enfant Plaza, then continue to New Carrolton? OK, the logistics might be weird since trains make have to switch directions but you get the idea. They do this sort of thing on holidays. Also, could we have more trains at night? If you go to, say, Metro Center at 11PM on a Friday, the train is packed. Think maybe they should have more than 1 train/line every 20 minutes? Seriously though, more lines and lines that go farther out, like to the edge of the suburbs, should be the most important priority

Some things are nice and better than other subways. I like how the seats are nicer, the cars have carpet, and in stations there are signs telling you when the next train will come. I also like the stations that have signs like that as soon as you walk down the first set of stairs from the street. At the same time though, if by eliminating carpet on cars, we could raise enough money to build new lines/stations, then we need to do that. Oh, and why cant I feed multiple metro cards into a machine and have it consolidate the money on those cards into a single ticket?

Metro Comes Up $2 Million Short on Inauguration

Metro spent $5 million to beef up service on Inauguration Day, but only collected $3 million in fares. According to The Washington Post story, the inauguration saw "1,120,000 train trips, 423,000 Metrobus trips and 1,721 MetroAccess paratransit rides, for a total of 1,544,721 trips." That makes an average of $2 per ride. Does that make sense to anyone? $2 each way, perhaps, but even that seems low. It just doesn't add up to me.

*Photo by James A. Parcell For The Washington Post

Friday, January 30, 2009

Some Good Footage of Inauguration

$103 million in cuts

WMATA staff have posted their latest proposal for budget cuts. They'll present this to the Board of Directors' "Special Budget Committee" at 9am.


New WMATA Chair

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) recently elected Jim Graham to serve a one-year term as board chairman.


Just a couple of hiccups today

In the usual places: between Courthouse and Rosslyn and again between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom. Very herky jerky. Lots of eyes rolling throughout the car I was in. Can any one explain the stop go? I mean I understand if there's congestion, you have to stop, but the constant, fitful stops and starts are irritating.

How come the doors have to be open and shut SO MANY times at nearly every stop?

Sticking up for Metro

From reader "Cal"

As both an ex New Yorker and presently a mechanic for Metrorail I can tell you first hand about some of the problems.

The first and foremost problem is when the system was originally designed (by the Army Corps of Engineers) it was not designed to carry anywhere near the capacity that it does presently. They never imagined or thought they would need any additional track and they didn't install or design any for workaround or a breakdown or any of that.

Second, there is no dedicated funding to go to Metro, now I understand that neither do these other transit systems but to compare apples with apples, we are second (next to the NYC Transit System) in terms of length of track and amount of riders and the NYC system is over 100 years old while we are in our infancy at only 30 years old....

And lastly, I see on a daily basis the "animals" we have riding the rails, between newspapers and bottles and other trash on the trains everyday as well as graffiti which has to be removed and torn and cut up seats which have to be replaced as well as repairing door systems which people hold open to just one more person can get on.....

Am I biased? Absolutely...Do I think it is a good system? Yes. Do I think it can be a great system? Yes. Look at our record ridership for inauguration weekend....

Just some of my thoughts......


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Let's Fix Metro

I ride the Orange Line from East Falls Church to Federal Center SW. I'll be documenting delays and other weirdness on that segment. Let's hear what you experience. Email me or make a comment. Comments are moderated.

This Is the Feedback WMATA Wants?

Many of you have probably been handed this survey card. I'm glad WMATA is interested in some aspects of my use of Metro, but honestly, what are they going to improve using data gleaned from these questions?

Click here for full size view.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Anonymous Submissions

If you have a tip about something we should write about, you can leave it here anonymously, without having to email. Email (unsuckdcmetro [at] yahoo [dot] com) is preferred so there can be follow up, if necessary. All emails are confidential.

Use the comments to send your message. Comments will NOT be published, but they will be seen. You do not have to fill out any of the fields except for "Name."

Friday, January 9, 2009

ABC 7 Report on Possible Cuts

Is the Purple Line "Social Engineering?"

John Aloysius Farrell seems to think so in this column for U.S. News & World report. What do you think? Could money be spent better? How?
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