Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Khalil and his Kiosk of Solitude

His name might be similar, but this Metro employee is no Superman.
On Saturday night at about 8:45 p.m., we began a trip at East Falls Church station. We were with a friend from out of town who needed to buy a farecard. After trying several machines using cash, it appeared none of them were working. Other customers were having the same difficulty.
There were no signs about any problems so everyone was going from machine to machine.
We went to the station manager and politely said "None of the machines seem to be working correctly, and the last one (an older model) doesn't even appear to be on."
Mr. Khalil (Superman's "real" name is Kal-El), who was engrossed in something else, sighed and said, "they all work" and looked back down at whatever he was reading.
Flabbergasted, we pointed to the growing crowd and said, "No, they don't."
"They're all working," said Khalil rather lethargically, giving off a strong get-the-hell-out-of-my-face vibe.
Stunned by Khalil's attitude, we walked back to the ticket machines to see if our friend had struck it lucky on another machine.
They had not, but others had figured out that the machines were only accepting credit or debit cards.
A sign would have been nice.
So we went back to Khalil and suggested some signage was in order.
Acting like he'd just awoken from a nap, he stuck with his "they're all fine" line.
It was obvious that getting him to move was going to be more difficult than reversing the spin of the planet, but at last, he relented and slowly emerged from his kiosk of solitude, again exhaling as if he were really being put out.
Donning his fluorescent orange and green WMATA cape, he first walked very slowly over to the machine that appeared to be off.
Khalil gave it a few short punches like people used to do with a TV on the blink, and voila, the machine came to life!
"You just don't have as much experience as I do," he said with a smug grin as he sauntered back to his hideout.
Here's one Metro employee who should probably be taken up, up and away from front line customer "service," because customers seem to have much the same effect kryptonite has on Superman.

Other items:
Metro takes rare plaintiff position in lawsuit (Examiner)
Metro needs more 'bottom-up' thinking (GGW)

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rider Hall of Shame: Fetal Seat Hog

From reader Steph:
Saw this winner on the Orange Line to Vienna the other day. It as about 2 p.m. on a pretty crowded train. Someone sat next to me shortly after I took the picture, and people were standing. Lucky for him, he got to lounge comfortably for the ride. He was DEFINITELY awake: awake and reading and thus "aware" of the crowds!

Other Hall of Shame members:
The Encroacher
Wide Stance

How would we forget Arm Barber!

...and our ever-growing list of annoying riders

Other items:
October track maintenance (WMATA)
Metro to keep a closer eye on you (WaPo)
Parachuting pol probably thought Metro was great (WaPo)

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Metro Gives Mixed Message on Non-Working Intercoms

First of all, hats off to readers for calling this one out:

The Washington Post is reporting that moving the 1000-series cars to the middle of trains was nothing but a PR move. According to a poll we ran a while back, most of you already knew Metro was full of it. Here are the results:

Putting the 1000-series cars in the middle of trains...
Makes us safer 10%
Is nothing but a PR stunt 67%
I don't know 22%
Votes: 504

Perhaps, without realizing it, Metro did come clean on the issue of the non-working intercoms, about which we've reported previously on this blog. In the Metro press release "refuting" many points in the Post article about the 1000-series cars is the admission by Metro that by mixing trains with various car types "sometimes the intercoms used by customers to communicate with the train operators also do not always function, and officials are seeking to identify a fix to that situation."

But Metro told us that "checking intercoms is part of the daily train inspection. If one is found to be inoperative, the cars are not released until the intercom is fixed."

So which is it Metro?

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Down is Not Always Out at WMATA

The Washington Post is reporting that Carla Proctor, the bus driver involved in the accident with the jogger, has been fired. In most cases, that would be the end of the story, but it's not always so with WMATA where terminations can often lead to happy endings!

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, which represents 10,000 current and retired Metro rail, bus, maintenance and clerical workers, publishes sporadic newsletters, which are posted for all to see on the union's Web site.

In addition to the standard "message from the president" and event information, the newsletters also feature a section called "Grievance Updates" in which there is a list on the latest wins (W) and losses (L) the union has had with employees who've found themselves in hot WMATA.

If you count up the Ws versus the Ls, you've got a Super Bowl team in the making! Carla Proctor may be back behind the wheel before you know it!

These are taken straight from the newsletters.

June, 2009
Settled: 37
Dropped: 6
Arbitrated: 11
Stipulated Settlements:
William Page - W - Termination reduced to 15 day suspension
Vincent Lawrence - W - 16 hours overtime at double rate
Gilbert Giuliani & Dwayne Wright - W - Four hours overtime for each day shift worked under
altered schedule

June/July 2009
Settled: 37
Dropped: 13
Arbitrated: 11
Stipulated Settlements:
Paul Cousins - W - 10 Day Suspension Reduced to 5
Billy Wright - W - Grievant Made Whole
Tim Hoepful - W - 5 Day Suspension Made Whole
Gregory Johnson - W - 7 Hours Overtime
Andres Acosta - W - 1 Day Suspension Reduced to Reprimand, 1 Day Back-pay
Terry Bradley - W - 5 Day Suspension Reduced to 2 Day Suspension, 3 Days Back Pay
Katrina Johnson - W - Suspension reduced, Charge Reduced, 3 Days Back Pay
Zachary Coleman - W - Run Pay for Train Run 501 and Run 21 - Glenmont
Robert Winston - W - Reprimand Reduced to Interview - Reinstruction
John Whitaker - W - Reinstated, No Back Pay
Belynda Bowman - L - Promotion Issue
Vernice Headen - L - Termination
John Pfiefer - L - Sec. 104G IME Issue

April/May 2009
Settled Grievances for March : 30
Arbitrated Grievances for March : 5
ASE Award -W- No demotions, less ASE’s required Stipulated Awards
Sharon Dennis -W- Reinstated position as interlocking operator
Tonya Beatty -W- 2 days back pay
Patricia Ramdass -W- 10 days back pay, suspension removed
Allen White -W- Reinstated, no back pay
Walter Maddox -W- Reinstated, no back pay
Karen Bryant -W- Reinstated
James White -W- Suspension reduced, 1 day back pay
Kendrick Oyola -W- 20 days back pay
Arbitrated Grievances
Donta Fiddermon -W- 5 day suspension reduced to written warning, 5 days back pay
Alexis Bobo -W- 9 hours back pay
Boyd Way -W- Reinstated to ELES apprentice program
Eugene Garritt -W- Reinstated
Tobius Henderson -W- Changed to an interview
Aaron Hood -W- 4 hours of back pay
Charles Cofer -W- 5 days back pay, removed from record
Stanley Simmons -W- 1 day back pay, removed from record

December/January 2009
For the Month of December
Settled: 45
Dropped: 34
W-DeMarkus Henry– Settlement Agreement- Reinstated with back pay from 9
W-Roderick Marsh –Settlement Agreement Suspension Removed-back pay
W-Clark Darden-Settlement Agreement preventable major reduced to minor-3 days back pay
L-Luis Salazar-Arbitrator ruled against the union-Authority had legitimate right to assign
escort assignment.

Other items:
Graham aide arrested (WaPo)
Riders say they were locked in station last night (NBC4)

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