Thursday, February 25, 2010

Will Metro Ever Run Out of BS?

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore."

There was an interesting tidbit in today's Washington Post article about the mixed signaling equipment.

The Post reported in September that internal Metro documents showed the decision [to shift the 1000-series cars to the middle of trains] had been a public relations move. Metro officials said their decision was justified by an 11-year-old outside study involving a different kind of train and posted a detailed "correction" to The Post article on the agency's Web site.

In sworn testimony Wednesday, Metro engineer Mike Hiller said he disagreed with Metro's use of that study. "I could not conclusively agree that this information would support a decision on engineering to place a car into the center" of a series of rail cars, Hiller said. NTSB investigator Rick Downs asked, "Would that be a fair paper to utilize to rebut that point?" "No," Hiller responded. Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein apologized to The Post after the testimony and retracted the rebuttal.


We all knew moving those ancient 1000-series cars to the middle of the trains was a PR stunt. However, when the Post actually ran an article saying so, Metro's PR department feigned outrage.

In the rebuttal, which is full of a Farbsteinesque 'tude* (and a boatload of typos), Metro said "The idea that there will be less damage to a 1000-series railcar if it is placed farther from the impact of a collision is common sense."

Actually, Metro, common sense would be to listen to your engineers and level with the public.

When an agency will turn a blind eye to its own internal experts and go on to say anything or do anything just to cover its own behind without any regard for safety, one can only shudder at the thought of other lurking nightmares Metro is trying to bullsh*t its way out of.

And we still haven't heard a good explanation refuting the notion that putting the 1000-series in the middle of the trains might actually be more dangerous since those are often the most crowded cars.

*"Our expectation was that the reporters would take the initiative to contact other transit agencies to ask if they were bellying railcars. Metro officials are responsible for knowing how Metro operates, not how other transit agenciesoperate [sic] their fleets. If a reporter wants to know what another transit agency is doing, they need to contact other transit gencies."[sic]


Anonymous said...

My favorite movie and my least favorite mass transit system together at last!

nevermindtheend said...

I would be very surprised if moving the 1000 series cars to the middle wasn't at least partially because of the operators and/or the union. If I were driving a train, I wouldn't want to be in a car that's going to be crushed in the most minor collision.

Anonymous said...

i had a pleasant ride in on Metro on the Red Line this morning. The female train operator announced the TIME at Union Station (7:10AM) AND at Metro center (7:19AM).

It just proves that they CAN do something right...reading a clock. Now if they could only run a transit system.

Anonymous said...

Had the time-announcing driver before. I'll admit, I think she talks too much. But that's what headphones are for. Anyone else remember when the "next train" boards used to display the time every once in a while or on one side? Ah, the days when your train driver didn't have to tell you what time it was because a transit agency thought someone trying to get to/from work might be interested in the time and provided a CLOCK!

Anonymous said...

I remember when my orange line ride every morning had a conductor with a great deep voice who made silly comments that had us all laughing. I used to time my morning commute in the hopes of getting that fellow's train. He wasn't a major comedian, didn't really waste time but said little things that made my day. Something like, "Good Morning passengers! Watch out for that sunshine out there! It's blinding today. Next stop is... " It was pouring rain that day. Everyone started laughing and smiled at each other.

Anonymous said...

One of the things I haven't seen addressed at all throughout this stunt is the lack of rollback protection on the 1000-series cars when they're operated in manual mode [ref: the NTSB report from the Woodley Park accident].

With manual mode being the SOP after the accident in June, what does that mean for the trains with sandwiched 1000-series cars? Is rollback protection a function of the lead cars (I would hope so) or each individual one in the train? Did WMATA consider or even test the efficacy of rollback protection on these frankenstein trains?

Somehow I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

I just noticed the "at will" suckstream link above. Read the press release. I thought all of MD, VA and DC were at-will hiring states.

Does this mean Metro is a state/country of its own? It would explain a lot. ;D

Anonymous said...

The throngs of people stuffed into the card will serve to reduce telescoping. There's just no room.

Anonymous said...

What if the age of the 1000 Series train cars means that even the body is weak.....

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