Update: And so it begins. From Ron Holzer at WMATA:
I just learned Fox 5's report was false.
Our bus department is investigating the case involving the photo on the blog. The investigation is in its very early stage.
We believe, after talking with the head of Local 689 at today's NTSB hearing, it seems that Fox 5 misinterpreted a union news release regarding an employee's dismissal as being the one from yesterday's photo. It was from the conclusion of a previous investigation.
Read the new Fox report just to see how even WMATA can make a serious situation laughable
After we published photos of a bus driver apparently texting while behind the wheel, Fox News is reporting the driver has been fired.*
Heard that before.
While the union can still file and grievance, which could save the operator's job, at the very least, it's more deserved egg on the face for Metro and the union.
We'll see if the firing sticks. If past is prologue, the driver will be back behind the wheel or at a desk at some point, but let's hope not.
Seriously, it's not like the policies aren't clear and well publicized.
In the meantime, chalk this one up as a victory for riders, who have been doing Metro's job for them by chronicling the sad deterioration of our public transit system.
All of the pressure seems to be bringing the numerous issues at Metro to a head, as the Post is reporting the U.S. Senate is threatening Metro with a federal takeover if certain safety measures aren't met. Maybe Metro can stave off the feds with another classic smoke and mirrors shake up.
Certainly, Metro needs dislodging from its dysfunctional safety of culture.
What a federal takeover would mean remains very unclear. We're not sure the most innovative, efficient or deep pocketed entity could run Metro well without a serious house cleaning of the dead weight that brings Metro down.
In the meantime, keep up the vigilance. Metro riders voicing their concerns provide the best chance at the kind of complete, utter, top-to-bottom reform Metro desperately needs.
*If you watch the video on the Fox site, notice the interesting lack of credit to this site. Apparently Fox doesn't like to say "suck" on air.