Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I was returning from a business trip, waiting with my boss at Metro Center in the direction of Shady Grove when my partner called to tell me a train had derailed.
We left the station and got a cab, with the intention of dropping my boss off at her home in Dupont, and then continuing in the cab to my home in Kensington.
My partner called again while en route, and said they were running trains on both sides of the derailment, so I decided to reroute to the Dupont Metro, which is two blocks from my boss' house.
As I was on the long Q street escalator down, I began to notice a torrent of people coming UP the escalator. Every one of the 250 people coming up told me the station was CLOSED due to the derailment.
I got to the station manager, or someone I thought was the station manager, and he said "station closed, no trains coming..." which I found to be suspect, and, as if on cue, the "Voice of God" system wide announcer lady comes on and said there was a derailment, but trains were running, and the next train to Shady Grove was at Metro Center. She provided other details.
So I asked station manager, "okay, which is it, what you are telling people, or what she is saying?" At which point he said what you generally don't hear from Metro folks: "I just don't know. I am only repeating what they have told me."
I asked another question: "If a train comes, will it be on the regular Shady Grove side?" He said "yes, definitely." He then stopped counseling people to not come into the station, so lots of people started to accumulate on the Shady Grove side. (There was an empty train to Glenmont on the other platform.)
The lack of communication in the system is ridiculous. Between management and other personnel, and between employees and riders, it's just crazy bad. They always say the key to a good relationship of any kind, business, pleasure, what have you, is communication. This would explain why Metro's relationship with everyone, employees and riders, just plain sucks.
One more item illustrating this: The train I did catch to Shady Grove 5 minutes later kept changing final destination, it was White Flint, then Grosvenor, then Shady Grove, then White Flint.
The operator of the train was getting a kick out of it, saying things like, "welcome aboard folks, well, this is a Red Line train now to White Flint again. We're just playing this by ear guys, sorry for the repeatedly changing destination..."
There is absolutely NO transparency in the Metro system. The whole organization is run like a dictatorship. There are very few who have the information, and they control all the news and communication within the system. This might just be a product of a system that was constructed in the '70s and '80s, and have never had the money to update the communications technology. I dunno, the whole situation is just sad.
As a footnote, I should mention they changed the destination of the train on the other platform and the station manager made an announcement, saying "if you are headed in the direction of Shady Grove, please board the train on the Glenmont side."
So we all wound up scurrying up the escalator and running across and down the other side.
Just poor communication all around.
Posted by Unsuck DC Metro at 12:55 PM