Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Best Wait in the Nation (TM)

We had to get off at Foggy Bottom the other day at 7:30 a.m., and it was extremely backed up to get out of the station. If there had been any kind of emergency, things would have gotten ugly really fast. Perhaps Foggy should be added to the list of Metro bottlenecks.

From Ashley:

I am one of the dwindling few that can say they are lifetime residents of the DC Metro area. Taking the Metro has always been a part of life for me. I can clearly recall thinking how cool it was being able to bounce from the movies, to the mall, to Georgetown before I was old enough to drive.

As a result, I also became one of the jaded masses that doesn’t blink an eye at Metro’s “parade of ridiculata.” I just assume that escalators will be broken, the staff will be rude, tourists will stand in the way and the trains may or may not be on time.

However, I was patently shocked yesterday evening to find a line curving half way down the block just to get into the Foggy Bottom station.

I ran through my checklist of DC events that might be causing the delay. Let’s see … the Cherry Blossom Festival is over, spring break (for the most part) has ended, it’s too early for summer vacation and there aren’t any DC sporting events tonight. Nope, this was just a rush hour logjam created by a broken down escalator.

I’ve been commuting to the Foggy Bottom station for about a year, and while the lines are usually heavy, I have NEVER seen it stretch down the block. In fact, I haven’t seen the likes of this Sponge Bob-esque silliness at any other station (outside of a major event).

True to my jaded status, I wasn’t irked by the inconvenience or the surly mood created by my fellow passengers. Rather, I was annoyed at how unbelievably avoidable this situation was. Not only was this line causing preventable delays, it had to be a fire hazard as well.

So, while I was standing in line, I decided to turn lemons into lemonade and snapped a few pictures in an effort to show WMATA the error of its ways.

But, after thinking about it on my ride home, I decided to look for another outlet for my frustration. Like many “Unsuck DC Metro” readers, I have also received a form letter from Metro expressing what I would describe as a blanket lack of concern about keeping me (or anybody else, for that matter) as a customer. Needless to say, I was very excited to stumble on this blog. Hope you enjoy the pictures, and have a swell commute.

Other items:
Major delays all weekend on ever line but Yellow (WMATA)


Anonymous said...

Hey Ashley, perhaps it is a reflection of the new ways of thinking by Metro. At the top left on this blog is one of those great quotes, this one from the GM:
"I don't want to hide problems. That's the worst thing you can do."

Hide no more thy illustriously inept inability to perform, Metro employees! Be proud-less in thy Metro-esk incompetent ways!

Anonymous said...

In the More Stupidity department: Recently at Vienna, during rush hour, two of three escalators were closed, leaving all passengers -- incoming and outgoing -- to use a single stairway (actually, escalator turned off). At times, it was literally single file up, single file down. They had an armed Metro cop on the platform to keep order. Good thing, too, or I was prepared to simply push the yellow barricades aside step into forbidden territory.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who commutes in and out of Foggy Bottomevery work day, this has been going on for a while thanks to the one escalator being closed down. The part that really gets me is the sign nearby saying "This escalator will return to service no later than March 2010" with a patch over "March 2010" that says "April 26, 2010." Sigh...

Anonymous said...

We understand your concern with block long lines to get into Foggy Bottom but have you ever given thought to how you are the problem? If only our passengers would not use escalators or elevators maybe they would not break.
To be completely frank, we will continue to give you the same terrible service and show the same lack of concern for our passengers that you have come to know and hate. If we had any interest in providing actual service we would have to accept that at this time we are completely incompetent and that a Doberman Pincher who reads at a third grade level could do a equivalent job to what we currently provide.

Please continue standing in long lines and we will get around to fixing the escalator YOU broke by having the audacity to use it whenever we feel like it.

Thanks for riding metro. Your next fare increase will take effect very soon and we will then be able to make the wait between trains at rush hour even longer.


Anonymous said...

lol @10:03

I wish we could coordinate a walk-out. Just get as many people as possible to not ride the metro one day. Traffic would be NUTS and the city and wmata would have no choice but to listen. I would even be willing to play taxi-- you know, if you'd actually be able to get anywhere on the roads.

It's totally unrealistic, but the thought is making me smile.

Anonymous said...

I know they are "repairing" one of the escalators at Foggy Bottom right now, but there are many days when Metro puts out the yellow gates in front of a Foggy Bottom escalator that looks fine.

Why not just convert one of the escalators to stairs? And what's wrong with the yellow-gated escalator that people can't just walk up it?

WMATA...why can't you just be logical!!! The backups during rush hour are ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

The Metro is starting to feel like that old 1984 Apple commercial (esp the beginning):

Anonymous said... - we spend billions of dollars militarizing the police to counter terrorist threats, but we don't see THIS as a problem???

This is a HUGE threat to safety. It would take only a small incident to turn a crowd scene like that into a major tragedy. A track fire. A transformer explosion. A violent incident on the platform. Panic that hemmed-in crowd, and you'd have, at the very least, multiple serious injuries.

Metro needs to stop being so fatalistically mediocre about the escalator situation, kick some ass, and GET THIS HAZARD FIXED.

Anonymous said...

@aon 10:11

Do it. Then I can ride the Metro all by myself!

Anonymous said...

similar things are happening at van ness and bethesda, and probably more stations. to go from the plaform to the mezzanine there is one up escalator and one down escalator. at both stations they are repairing one of the two, leaving everyone to fend for themselves on one escalator. it gets especially fun when a train pulls in during rush hour and everyone is trying to scramble down the stairs to get on it, while people coming up the stairs are trying to avoid being bulldozed. i think the van ness escalator is supposed to be up and running in may, and bethesda in june. but once they're done i figure they'll just start work on the other escalator, creating 3 more months of bottlenecks.

Anonymous said...

If only the metal divider between the escalators didn't have those big rivet-type things, you could just use it like a slide -- don't say you've never been tempted

Anonymous said...

I am surprised there wasn't a Metro employee standing nearby with a bullhorn yelling, "Keep moving!" hee hee

Anonymous said...

It's really a sad commentary that taking a ride on metro that is only semi-eventful has become something to rejoice over. I've come to expect rude encounters with metro staff, delayed trains, packed platforms, and non-working gates and escalators. It's the rides-from-hell that really ruin my day now.

Christina said...

While Ashley thinks this has never happened before, it has. In August of 2008. Here's a DCist post about it. No, metro doesn't ever learn.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it more newsworthy when the escalators are working? It's about as common as a bicyclist stopping for a red light.

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