Friday, January 8, 2010

What a Year

It's hard to believe, but Unsuck is a year old. A lot has happened, and the time has flown by. It feels like only 365 days since we created it. Seriously though, some of those commutes should count for two days' worth.

It's hard to find much unsucking that's been done, but WMATA does, uh, tweet better, even though the Photoshop skills could use a little work.

But that's the past, so what about the future?

The blog will live on as long as you're still willing to provide the pulse. We look forward to more of your keen observations on WMATA and all of its funny, sad and infuriating charms.

The biggest thanks goes to everyone who contributed. There are WAY too many to list, but you know who you are.

Without you taking time out of your busy days to jot off an email, fire off a tweet or to snap a quick photo, this blog would be about as fresh as the air in a rush hour train or as entertaining as a door malfunction. Hats off to each of you. Please keep it coming!

Thanks also to all the extremely articulate, funny and clever readers, commentators, fellow bloggers, haters, fans, critics, supporters, naysayers, followers, threat makers, false accusers, idealists, pessimists, rider hall of shame members and anyone in between who has stopped by to take a look or told a friend about Unsuck.

Thanks also to Ron Holzer at WMATA. He must REALLY want to hit delete or use the block option every time he sees an email from us, but he hasn't. Kudos to him.

Oh, and we'll be hosting an Unsuck celebration happy hour tonight during rush hour at Gallery Place somewhere along the Red Line to Shady Grove platform. Look for the crowd and then bob and weave by to say hello. Faregate prizes for the first three to show will be three wilted farecards* with 5, 10 and 20 cents on them respectively.

Other items:
10-cent fare hike could stave off some service cuts (WaPo)
LA Metro turns to marketing (The City Fix) h/t @anc7c04

*Farecards may be (probably are) demagnetized.


Roma Tekovi said...

Yay! I will be there!

Anonymous said...

I'm only going to the happy hour if whale cake is served.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Unsuck!

Wilted farecards and head bobs. Who could say no to that? oh wait.. that's my daily metro commute.

Thanks SO much for having the Unsuck blog around! We who suffer, salute you!

kidincredible said...

To respond to your tweet about how much fares would have to go up to pay the full cost (I refuse to get a twitter account):

According to the National Transit Database for 2007 (, WMATA's Operating Costs were:
And their Fare Revenues were:

That makes their farebox recovery:
($514,611,829 / $1,240,615,192) X 100% = 41.48%

Also, fares would have to go up
($1,240,615,192 - $514,611,829) / $514,611,829
or 141% increase in fares.

$1.65 min / $4.50 max fare becomes
$3.97 min / $10.85 max

I think all that math is correct. But keep in mind, NO transit system (save the NY Subway alone in some years) has a 100% farebox recovery. These calculations also ignore parking, advertising and other assorted revenues. This is just what it would take for FARES ALONE to make WMATA break even.

Anonymous said...

What? The Red Line @Gallery Place?? Why not see who can fight to make it over to you guys somewhere on the Orange Line? LOL!

Has it only been a year that this site has been up and running? Can't remember when I found it, but I guess with all of the posts (and comments) it feels like it's been up longer.

Thanks for a great website!

kidincredible said...

To add to my previous comment, clearly Metrorail is more efficient than Metrobus (58% v 22% farebox recovery) and therefore it could be argued that rail requires less of a fare increase than bus to break even.
However, if that approach were taken, rail fares would go to $2.32 min / $7.74 max and bus fares would have to go from $1.25 to $5.73. This would drastically throw off the balance of rail and bus ridership and probably cause worse problems for WMATA than a budget deficit in the first place.

(Additionally, NTD data shows MetroAccess runs at 5% farebox recovery. MetroAccess fares would have to be 20x their current rate to break even on paratransit costs alone.)

Michael said...


Anonymous said...

Great, great great GREAT blog. Well done!

Aaron B. Pryor said...

Unsuck D.C. Metro is some of the best independent journalism around. Please keep it up; this is a valuable resource that every rider should discover.

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