Thursday, January 21, 2010

Behold ... the Power ... of Graffiti



Editor's Note: for the full multimedia effect of this post, we recommend putting on some headphones and listening to this in the background. Enjoy.

December was one of the worst months for Metro delays--mostly doors and "mechanical"--since we've been keeping tally, and that was WITH a holiday, which we don't count AND without the 31st, which we just haven't gotten around to yet.

Seriously guys, way to close out a banner year on an uptick.

It was on Dec. 17 that outgoing Metro GM John Catoe promised us things would improve every day. If anything, Metro is getting worse. Service deterioration is about the only thing moving quickly on Metro these days. Yesterday's a.m. Orange Line was a testament to decrepitude.

Here are some of the more humorous/strange/scary reasons Metro gave for delays over the past couple of months.


Nov. 6
6:02 a.m. A Blue Line train at McPherson Square in the direction of Largo Town Center was delayed because of a train ahead that was experiencing mechanical problems.
(Yet there was no entry for the train that was experiencing the mechanical problems. Was it not delayed as well? Makes you wonder if Metro reports them all.)

8:43 a.m. A Red Line train at Bethesda in the direction of Glenmont was taken out of service because the public address system was inoperable. Customers were required to exit the train.
(Since when does this require a train to be taken out of service? Most of them don't work well enough to understand what the hell they're saying anyway.)

Nov. 13
6:54 a.m. An Orange Line train at Vienna was put into service late because of a public health issue. (Ew and ew)

Nov. 20
4:12 p.m. A Green Line train at Branch Ave was not put into service. (FML)

Nov 23
7:25 p.m. A Red Line train at Farragut North in the direction of Glenmont was taken out of service because the operator overran the platform, and customers were required to exit the train. The train was put back into service from Fort Totten. (Oops.)

Dec 14
11:13 p.m. A Blue Line train at McPherson Square in the direction of Largo Town Center was taken out of service because of a report of graffiti on the exterior of the train, and customers were required to exit the train. (Seriously?)

Dec 16
10 a.m. A Blue Line train at Braddock Road in the direction of Largo Town Center was delayed to allow the operator to investigate a strong brake odor. (Those brake particles actually scrub the lungs of other impurities.)

Dec 22
5:35 a.m. An Orange Line train at Vienna was not put into service because no operator was available. (Zzzzzz?)

Other items:
Federal appointees to Metro Board might ... who knows? (Examiner)
President's Day work to close segments of Orange/Blue lines (WMATA)

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Recently, on blue, between Benning and Stadium Armory, toward Franconia, something to the effect of...
"Sorry for the delay, but have been stopped because of a disabled train behind us."

I was worried about the spatial acumen of our operator, but this was repeated twice.

Anonymous said...

Anon, that sounds par for the course - The Twilight Metro Zone.

Meanwhile, regarding this notice:
Nov 23
7:25 p.m. A Red Line train at Farragut North in the direction of Glenmont was taken out of service because the operator overran the platform, and customers were required to exit the train. The train was put back into service from Fort Totten. (Oops.)

Where, exactly, did the customers exit? On the tracks? Are they still there? (...fade in Twilight Zone music...)

Mainland said...

Being held due to a train behind having problems isn't that unusual, I've been on two red line trains when this has happened. Basically, it's all Metro can do to ensure there isn't an even larger gap - both of these were in the evening commute - between your held train and whenever they get the issue resolved behind you. We were docked an extra 2 min for 'schedule adjustment' from NY Ave to Takoma one instance.

If you happen to be nearest the cab when something like this happens you should be able to hear central control maneuvering / holding trains both behind and ahead of the busted train.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of being held up INDEFINETLY!

This morning sucked, it sucked hard.

The Orange line, once again, decided to die for about 25 minutes. My wife and I rushed to the train at East Falls Church only to stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow riders as the operator kept announcing that we would be “moving momentarily.”

Now maybe I entered some kind of vortex or temporal displacement when I stepped on the train, but “momentarily” now officially means “in 10-20 minutes.”

Someone call up Webster’s dictionary we have a fucking amendment to make!

Also, we were introduced to the mysterious OCC, which may be some kind of sorcerer or wizard who controls time, space, and poorly-maintained trains. The operator made it clear that she didn’t WANT to lie to us - it was just OCC MAKING her do it.

To make matters worse the operator kept the doors open, which meant that much more Kindle bashing fun (I don’t own a Kindle but they look nice).

With Catoe out I can only imagine two scenarios: 1) this happens every day; 2) fuck all.

Anonymous said...

With regard to the disabled train not being "delayed"...they only announce delays of more than 10 minutes. Therefore, if the disabled train was only disabled for, say 8 minutes, it would not be announced. Pretty stellar, huh? That's why signing up for service alerts means next to nothing, because they WILL NOT announce a delay of less than 10 minutes (which means I have to start by planning to get to work 10 minutes early, even though there's a clear 0% chance that means I will get to leave early or even on time) and they WILL NOT announce a delay until it REACHES 10 minutes (which means that you are never forewarned of the buildup to a major suck). Nice system, huh?

Telecomedian said...

So, let me get this straight - they will hold a train that's AHEAD of the delayed train to keep the gap between trains closer than it should be? Why on earth would they punish the riders of the unaffected train due to the issues of a train behind? I get that they probably want to report good metrics for train intervals, but, that really strikes me as horrible customer service.

Mainland said...

@ Telecomedian

Well, it's going to suck no matter what.

If you let the trains ahead of a stuck train go on like normal you'll create a huge gap from the train just ahead of what's broke until whenever they get it fixed and moving again. This is good for those already on the trains ahead, but anybody getting to a station just missing that last train stands to wait for a while. Plus, it's likely more than just one or two stations would be sitting in this big gap.

If you hold trains ahead for a time you'll cause an inconvenience for those already on the trains, but benefit those people coming into the system or transferring at stations ahead.

Plus, as is life with just two tracks, it's likely whatever creates delays in one direction will ripple and eventually cause delays in the other. Unless Metro can come up with a train to fill the gap every time, holding trains ahead would seemingly dampen the counter effects.

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