Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Feeling the Fail

From Patrick:

Apparently, Metro is still a little groggy from the holidays, or at least it seems that way judging by the sleepy maintenance personnel, frustrated drivers, and central control that would appear to be run by a crack team of flustered 16 year-old maitre’d.

Leaving work at 5:10 yesterday evening, I encountered a massive crowd at Metro Center, we waited for about 6 minutes for an Orange line train to arrive while more people poured in from the Red Line. A sense of impending fail set in.

Upon arrival, the train was already packed to the gills. Squeezing my way on, I received: one “We can’t fit anymore,” two elbow jabs, and three dagger stares of contempt for daring to move away from the doors.

At McPherson, Farragut and Foggy the car slowly transformed into a Spinoza-esque mass of undulating bodies, unified in its discontent and emboldened by the sage announcements of the driver which included: “There is another train just a few minutes behind” (lie), “Please don’t lean on the door” (warning), “We will have to take the train out of service” (threat). His admonishments fell on deaf ears.

At Rosslyn we finally achieved critical mass, which was accompanied by an acrid stew-like smell – the combination of Metro electrical stink, brake pads and anger.

After fourteen attempts to close the doors, we offloaded. Some passengers resolutely refused, especially in the rear of train, traveling out of the station to the seventh layer of Hell where all offloaded trains go.

Meanwhile, the crowd on the Rosslyn platform was backed up to the turnstiles on the second floor; apparently BOTH directions on the Orange Line had been foiled by cantankerous door malfunctions.

Sensing another two-hour Orange Line commute, I took the next Blue Line train out of Rosslyn, pushing my way through the determined crowd of Orange Line riders. I eventually pleaded with a family member to pick me up at Pentagon City. After a 40-minute ride, I was back home.

Déjà vu! Arriving at East Falls Church this morning at 8:20, I was greeted by my friends from last night, a crowd five or six people deep was waiting anxiously to board trains that were already sardine-can level.

I think I have lost my will to deal with this system. I am seriously thinking of investing in cold weather clothing so I can bike to work. I may end up with nasal icicles, but anything is better than the Orange Line.

Just for fun, next time you are stuck on a platform, play a game of “Would you rather” with your fellow riders, you might be surprised.

In conclusion, go to hell Metro.


Anonymous said...

Mmmmmmm you too? When I saw the platform at Rosslyn last night, I immediately went upstairs and waited for the 3B Metrobus to WFC (where I catch the Fairfax Connector to Herndon-Monroe). Naturally it never showed, so I rode the dreaded last-resort 5A towards Dulles. If only my sense of foresight was working, I would have suffered it to Rosslyn back this morning, in place of dancing in the flurries on the WFC platform. I'm one of those sardines that was packed on there so no one from EFC, Ballston, or any other stop could load. How wonderful...I rode Metro so I wouldn't have to drive, and sometimes it takes me just as long........

Anonymous said...

i am buying a car because metro is threatening my job. i will lose it with all those delays. no matter how early i show up i still manage to be late.

Anonymous said...

I keep saying it. A few more episodes of this nonsense and Metro shouldn't be surprised when the trains causing these problems to riders get set on fire, just like the Brazilians did.

When you have that concentration of people on a platform it would be very easy for the mob phenomenon to snap into place and any kind of violence could happen.

Get your shit in order Metro.

Ryan Sims said...

The last two days have left me with the sourest taste in regard to Metro since my arrival in DC in late August.

I, too, suffer under the delusion that the Orange Line will ever run in a palatable fashion during the rush hours.

Last night Foggy Bottom was a complete disaster, even as a dual-line station, it left at least 300 would-be riders waiting for a Vienna train that could squeeze more than a handful, across all cars. I watched six or eight or God-knows how many trains pass as riders fell out, packed in against the doors. I feared with all my might that I'd stand in the midst of an offloaded train on an already crowded platform.

Apparently that was happening only a short jaunt under the Potomac away.

By the time I got a train, the mess at Rosslyn had apparently dissipated, as the platform was no more busy than it would normally be at 6:45. (I get off work in Foggy Bottom at 5:30.)

This morning, I encountered much of the same at Clarendon. Forty or fifty minutes of wait time, eight trains, (already thinning) hair forcibly removed and several cries of many deities' names in vain by many different riders, so on and so forth, ad nauseum.

I did the math once I arrived, quite late, to the office this morning. It would have taken me, in all likelihood, less time to walk the four miles to work than it took for me to commute using Metro.

Ridership decline. I'm shocked.

Anonymous said...

Fire nothing. So many on the platform so often and some will topple off to their deaths.

Yesterday at about 4:50 at Ballston to New Carrollton it was announced single-tracking due to a dead train. A long slow crawl commute.

This morning the New Carrollton to Ballston Orange line train operator announced - at Va. Square - that at the next stop at Ballston the train would turn and go back to New Carrollton instead of continuing to Vienna. Upon reaching Ballston, the train went out of service, offloaded everyone and.... left in the Vienna direction!

Oh the comfort of train operators who cannot tell north from south?

With the new "no impact" changes coming, there will be more injuries and deaths due to Metro "accidents."

That quote of "Things will transform and improve every day." appears to be meant for only the suicidal.

Balfegor said...

Re: Ryan Sims

Have you tried the 38B bus line? There's stops on either side of the traffic circle in Foggy Bottom, and the bus line (roughly) follows the Orange Line down to Ballston. The buses are likely to be fairly crowded too (less capacity than trains), and they run less frequently than the trains do (a bus is supposed to come every 15 min. during rush-hour, per the schedule). But if the train is substantially delayed, that might provide an alternative.

Anonymous said...

Awww, poor Patrick!

Finally the burgeious of the Orange/Blue lines know what it is like every other week on the Red Line.

Anonymous said...

oh pulease Anon 2:44pm - I, for one, rode that red line from the very day it opened years ago for 11 years. I am orange line now. The red line is no worse on the human condition than orange/blue line.

I do not believe we are all "here" to try to one-up each other. Let us one-up the Metro morons making us miserable.

As well, learn the spelling and definition of your words. Bourgeois - the middle class. (Not upper crust that you seem to imply in your pithy post.)

I will step off the soap box now. Rather go air-guitar that sleeping attendant over thair.... ;)

Anonymous said...

I will say this an orange line rider...the orange line hasn't killed anyone...yet.

On the flip side, red line travelers do not have to deal with the Rosslyn tunnel bottleneck. That's a headache every morning.

Anonymous said...

Wow, so that's why there was an influx of metro cops yelling "don't run" in their best big boy voices. Things have been pretty good on the yellow and green. L'Enfant is a little mobish at times but come on, it's got the most lines converging. Glad I chose sleepy Crystal City over the orange line turf.

Anonymous said...

buy a car. then you will not have to deal with the overcrowding. and plus, not having you there will make more room for me.

Anonymous said...

After 8 years of using the Orange/Blue line 300 times a year, it has finally dawned on me that the escalator saga is actually just a patronage deal between the city and the local union that controls engineers certified to make such repairs. How else does one explain 3+ years of "escalator rehab" at Court House ?

Cities around the world with much older subway systems don't have escalator problems anywhere near as bad as the ones we have in DC. It is the simple consequence of incompetence and good old-fashioned cronyism.

Anonymous said...

"At McPherson, Farragut and Foggy the car slowly transformed into a Spinoza-esque mass of undulating bodies, unified in its discontent ..."

Please tell me this isn't what Catoe meant when he promised things would "transform" every day.

Anonymous said...

After the Red Line accident, in addition to the Nationals Game crowds, and the beginnings of a dangerous uprising at L'Enfant Plaza, one evening, I swore that, once I got off the train, I would never ride again. I bought a bike. That 40 minute ride to and from the SW Waterfront to Georgetown has been the best thing I could have done for myself. Though, admittedly so, and to my misery, I have had to ride the Danger Rail several days where ice and snow make riding a bike difficult. Come on warmer weather!

Two Shorten the Road said...

Metro is such a joke. I gave up on Metro five years ago (during a time of similar Metro incompetence) because I figured out that I was catastrophically late 10% of the time. It doesn't sound like a lot, but being that late to work every two weeks looks really bad. My car is now 5 years old and buying it is one of the smartest decisions I ever made.

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