The new guy, Sarles, started this week. Can he make a difference? The hopes of hundreds of thousands of us ride with him.
As a scene-setter, I thought I’d keep track of my Metrorail experiences for last week, rather than just focus on a single incident. Unfortunately – but these days, not unexpectedly – it wasn’t a great week.
- Train operator pronounced “Judiciary Square” correctly. Regular Red Line riders know how unusual this is.
- Train operator had somewhat helpful announcements during a dead train incident (see below). Told us the cause of the problem (albeit repeatedly, with no updates), and (after long delay) that we’d be single tracking.
- Someone actually thinking proactively at WMATA: Signs posted at, and leading away from, Vienna/Fairfax station directing people how to get to nearby Oakton High School, where WMATA budget hearing being held.
- 12-minute interval (12!) between Shady Grove-bound Red Line trains at Metro Center during morning rush. For shame! Someone should be shot. And for this, they’re thinking about a peak-of-the-peak surcharge?
- Dead train at West Falls Church for the ride home. Big delays, rippling all the way downtown. When we finally get to WFC, they try to move the dead train, and it dies again, only this time blocking the way ahead. Like bad constipation, entire Orange Line is plugged up. In all, trip home nearly doubles.
- Irony: Orange Line woes delay anyone trying to take Metro to the WMATA budget hearing (where they could rail about poor service).
Very high suckTuesday:
Unremarkable, one way or the other.The bad:
- 12-minute interval in the morning again! Come on, people, if only for pride’s sake!
- Another meltdown on the way home. Dead train, or something – no one ever said – at Foggy Bottom. (You get the feeling that if bin Laden blew up downtown, the Metro announcements would probably say stations were closed due to a police action.) Delays not as bad as Monday, but it’s only Tuesday, and patience is exhausted. After nearly 12 years on Metro, could I actually be considering driving into the city?
Very pleasant train operator. Not robotic, angry, mumbling, scolding, bored, copping attitude, uncommunicative, pasting up newspapers to hide self in cab, or otherwise dysfunctional at all. Actually sounded happy to be on the job and interested in riders. (Must not have been union member long.)The bad:
- Progress, at least by Metro standards – morning interval on the Red Line at Metro Center down to only 10 minutes.
- Going home, Orange Line platform at Metro Center jammed, which immediately put suck sensors on high alert. But pleasant surprise – train was crowded, but not unpleasantly so, and things moved OK. Almost like the old days.
No problems. Could get used to this. Noticed, though, that both Orange and Red lines had what appeared to be old series cars in the end position. Same thing happened last week. Not a big deal to me, but thought they weren’t doing that anymore? What’s up? (I’ll say this: if not having to “belly” the old cars in the middle of trains means more reliable, less nauseating service, I’ll take that any day.)The bad:
No problems for me, but the Ms. had 12- and 8-minute, peak-hour waits for Red and Orange lines on the way home. See previous – inexcusable! Twenty minutes of platform time during rush hour?! Worse than bush league.Overall suckage:
Unsucked (for me, at least, but dinner was late, due to the Ms.’s delays.)Friday:
- With usual lighter-than-normal Friday ridership, no problems.
- Funny: It was raining during the morning commute. At Judiciary Square (as previously noted here in the blog), the escalators have taken to groaning like elephant seals during mating season. The rain, though, evidently temporarily lubed something, for we rose to street level in wet silence.
No problems.Overall suckage:
UnsuckedOh, dear Diary, how I long for the old days. Sometimes, they seem tauntingly close. But most times, you just kinda shrug and remember how much of a good thing we once had.
On Tuesday, I might have suggested just blowing the whole thing up. By Friday, those feelings had receded to just the ordinary level of Metro despair. Last week, Metro cost me a couple of extra hours of my life that I’ll never get back. But neither did it ruin it. In all, a mixed week, but with a pronounced lean toward suckdom.
Will Mr. Sarles get it? Can he get it without needing a team of consultants to restate the obvious? Dear Diary, I hope so. They say it will take years for Metro to climb out of its hole. The time to start is now.
Also by CS:
- Blue-to-Orange switcheroo
- Metro hosts blogger round table
- Catoe: Show us you get it
- Rules don't apply
- Vienna's creepy tower
- Doors Closing
- Moving ... Backwards