Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jersey Shore has "The Situation," & the WMATA Board has ...


"The Problem"

By steadfastly refusing to allow riders to even discuss an up to 20-cent fare increase through June 30, this guy has probably bestowed sucky commutes upon us all. Metro will now consider an up to 10-cent hike (with public comment), which won't bridge the gap.

By framing the discussion like this, it's obvious he doesn't want to hear our voices or give us choices!

Why not, you may ask?

He doesn't want to "agitate" you.

If you want to get a better understanding of how some of WMATA's dysfunction emanates from the Board, listen to today's Board meeting, particularly the latter half. It's a miracle Metro runs at all.

As a side note, it must be stated that board member Chris Zimmerman was impressive.

We're not the only ones who thought Graham behavior was appalling:
Greater Greater Washington's take
Beyond DC's take

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it possible we could replace Graham with a council member who actually rides metro? Possibly Tommy Wells?

Anonymous said...

looks like those clowns in congress are at it again. what a bunch of clowns

Anonymous said...

He's a joke. Someone please please pleaes please please please unseat him

John Thompson said...

Catoe should be fired.

Graham should: Step down OR be required to ride Metro for weekday daily commuting 1 week of every month.

WMATA should: COMPLETELY overhaul staffing, from top to bottom. Crappy management+*crappy staff= crappy public transportation in the nation's capitol.

*There are SOME amazing WMATA employees. I've personally called in to be sure they're noted, both rail & bus operators as well as exceptional station managers. I hope that they remain and train new staff.

Anonymous said...

the whole staff was a joke finacial officier had not facts, catoe looks sluggish and francis replacement please!!!! fire them all

Anonymous said...

I don't know Mr. Zimmerman, but I take you at your word. However, he's also currently an example of why Metro appears so tone-deaf to its problems. On trains with those new, metal, fold-down hand-holds, Mr. Zimmerman appears in Metro house ads touting installation of the equipment. "You told us, we listened, and put them in"-kind of thing. But against the backdrop of current difficulties, the placards have a serious let-them-eat-cake problem: Metro is melting down, but, hey, we've got spiffy new hand-holds!

Anonymous said...

bring back david gunn

Anonymous said...

This man should be fire even before Cato's tossed. Sounds like a tyrant, not an American who believes in the PUBLIC rule. Bet he wishes we couldn't vote in elections either.

Anonymous said...

I cannot use the hand-holds that are on the top near the ceiling. I cannot reach them as everyone (needs to) push them up away so they don't bash their heads in walking past them. I cannot bring myself to continually ask some stranger who stands there frowning (having to deal with Metro of course) to help me out like a child who's dropped their mitten. So yeah, THANKS Mr. Zimmerman for making MY commute more seriously handicapped not less!

Anonymous said...

wait folks it is up to staff to put together a presentation that is logical and clearly shows options....the presenation was no where close to clear...zimmerman 'schooled' staff ..staff are suppose to be transit professionals and guide the board in a logical manner ..staff did not. do not blame the board. blame catoe

Matthew said...

I was at the meeting today because I use the metro daily and am concerned that service cuts will be too burdensome on DC metro riders. The entire board, especially Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Benjamin, proved they have the rider’s interest at heart and definitely nailed it with respect to the inadequacy of WMATA management’s ability to consider options outside of service and capital improvement cuts to address the budget shortfall. Mr. Graham in particular put his foot down and demanded, for a second time in the past few days, specific data regarding proposed cuts in response to the generalized figures provided by WMATA management. He also postponed action until the board could reconvene and have public comment on the issue. Notably, hardly any riders were present and the turnout was extremely small.
While I disagree with Mr. Graham's view of only considering up to a 10 cent fare increase per trip (which would only be effective through the end of this fiscal year), he has a right to fight to keep fares low in any way he sees fit. Further, the amendment to consider an up to 20-cent fare increase (effective through the end of the year) would have passed had Mr. Brown, Mr.Giancola, or Mr. Albert (the other DC board members) been present for the vote, and had any one of them voted for that amendment. I am horrified that about half of the board members left before the meeting was closed, and believe action should be proposed that prevents board members from leaving until the close of the meeting. Also, I take issue that WMATA representatives were laughing, joking, and playing with their blackberrys, as if the meeting did not matter to them.
Two points not considered at today’s board meeting, in my view, are the cost of purchasing ‘propulsion power’ which has nearly doubled with no evident explanation since 2007, and the nearly $19 million increase in funding to the pension program in the FY2010 budget in light of the fact that the pension funding increases in 2008 and 2009 were roughly $5 million and $2 million, respectively. Frankly, I fear a rate increase and service cuts will occur unless riders show up in large numbers at the next board meeting to demand that WMATA concede some of the pension dollars from this year's budget and seek to curtail costs associated with purchasing 'propulsion power'.

Anonymous said...

Question about the pensions --- Do metro employees have a defined benefit plan or a defined contribution plan?

Anonymous said...

I agree that not having a say stinks but let's face it, if we did have a say they wouldn't listen. So we all get to go up there and scream for a few hours and the fairs still go up. Cut the middle man so I can make it to CVS in time to grab the lube I need for what WMATA is doing to us asll.

Anonymous said...

Metro's base fares are ridiculously low. NYC subway charges $2.00 for every trip. Of course, NYC's fare is a flat one, whether you are riding from the end of the line into Manhattan or only going two stops, whereas Metro charges much more than that on longer trips. Still, my experience in NY is that a high percentage of the riders are not from the outer boroughs and are paying $2 for a relatively short ride that would only cost $1.35 in DC. So I think we are underpaying.
Nobody really LIKES paying higher prices, but if it brings us better service, I say raise the base fares on metro by $0.20, or even $0.50 for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Well Anon 12:13, let 'em raise yours since you seem to have no economic issues these days. Raise it 50 cents and I am out of a job - I won't be able to afford to get to work - literally! (You gonna support my family then?)

My commute is already the highest they can charge and raising it more will simply cut into my ability to pay for little things like rent, food, medicine, kids clothes. And all the while my commute has doubled in time (for no better reason than metro mismanagement) as the risk to my metro-riding life appears to be increasing exponentially.

Do not be fooled that a fare increase will improve anything. They've proven that to be a lie for the last 6 years of increases. And yes, NYC is more expensive - it's NYC. We are not NYC.

Anonymous said...

The NYC subway does charge 2$ per trip, or you can buy a 7 day unlimited ride pass for $27 or a 30 day unlimited ride fare for $89. So, people who rely upon the subway rather than private transportation options pay much less than $2 per trip when using the subway for more than just the back and forth trips to work...

Anonymous said...

I agree the fare should be increased if the system requires greater revenue to fund the operation and adequately maintain the system. However, I truly believe WMATA should be cutting personnel and expecting more from the workers they keep. Has anyone else noticed how much metro workers stand around joking with each other and playing with thier iPhones, rather than doing ANY work at all? Also, during peak commute periods, more people are unable to get onto the metro because the cars are full beyond capacity. Bring back 8-car trains during peak hours! Also, WMATA bus drivers have got to stop arbitrarilly passing by bus stops. There is always room in the middle of the bus but the driver just looks at the group of people at the front of the bus and decides it is full. Finally, the buses that share routes need to start getting spaced out. Every morning three buses pull up to my stop, bumper to bumper, and then there is not another bus for 40 minutes. But, when it comes there are two more right on its bumper again!

Anonymous said...

Bottom line: Even if you ride metro twice a day, every day of the YEAR, a 40 cent fare hike comes out to a whopping $146. Most of those who ride Metro can afford that, and most who can't afford it get their commute subsidized by the Federal Govt anyway, so big deal. Just do the fare hike and get on with it. Graham needs to shut his piehole, he drives around all day in a VW Beetle for chrissake!

On another note, we will continue to see more fare hikes as long as Metro is completely mismanaged. I'm sure everyone is in agreement that Metro probably wastes millions of dollars per year by mismanaging funds.

Anonymous said...

and so, since I ride the metro 8-15 times per day, I would pay $1146-$2190 more per year. Why does everyone that does not ride metro think we only use it to get to and from work? I use metro to get everywhere I need to go.

Anonymous said...

anon 1.10 4:53:

8-15 times a day? sucks for you!

Kara said...

Fares subsidized by the feds? I WISH!!!!!!!

[I guess I do not think of $146 as pocket change]

Anonymous said...

If you were to investigate closer into the management structure that exists at WMATA, what you most likely will find are 'Kingdoms' rather than departments. The people who rule these areas have been able to stay in this one position for decades and have circled themselves with people who rather than trying to achieve the goals of the WMATA mission statement have opted to make there first priority the protection of the 'King'. The vast majority of these people have risen to these positions not from remaining focused on meeting the needs of the mission statement through increasing their knowledge of their assigned departments duties and empowering their subordinates to be the best they can be but by back stabbing and bad mouthing everyone around them in an effort to make themselves look good to the king. The moral amongst the people that actually try to make this system work successfully in almost all areas at the authority is extremely low. Most successful organizations empower their front line supervisors with the ability to make critical decisions as to how to run their specific area. What typically happens at WMATA is all of these decisions have to be first cleared by the King no matter how big or small.
The one action that could possibly yield the greatest amount of positive results would be to rotate these people who hold these mid level management positions to other departments on a 2 to 3 year schedule. Would the armed services of the U.S. ever allow a Base Commander, Sub Commander, or even a Wing Commander remain in this one position forever? This is on of the method the armed services uses to maintain a healthy management structure. This could help put a stop to the amount of cronyism, nepatism, and the unhealthy management atmosphere that exist at WMATA. One last thing, the metrobus side of WMATA is probably worst off with this problem than the rail side.

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