Monday, May 17, 2010
On the Orange Line the other morning, I got on the rear of the fourth car (I think it was a 1000-series.) of a six-car train at East Falls Church after a five minute wait, and it was already packed. A great start to the day.
On the way into the Ballston tunnel, the wheels underneath my feet start making this scraping, creaking noise and vibrating enough that I broke the whole rush hour solipsism thing and looked around to see if any of my fellow passengers felt it. They did.
We got into Ballston, and the operator made the announcement that they were taking the train out of service, which was fantastic because there were already two hundred or so people on the platform who wanted to get on.
After stepping off, there was the unmistakable odor of smoke, and there were whispers that the train had caught fire. Awesome. Everyone got off.
Well, not everyone.
The 30 or so commuters squeezed into the front portion of the fifth car behind us didn't move. I figured they didn't blink the lights when they make the "out of service" announcement like they usually do, and maybe their loudspeaker was broken.
I called out to them, "hey, they're taking the train out of service."
Two people heard me and walked out, going through the center doors. The rest just stayed there with dead looks on their faces, all staring out onto the platform where there was probably a thousand people all fighting for standing room.
A minute later someone else yelled at them from the platform. Nobody moved.
The best part was that even though the third, fourth and sixth cars were completely empty, a few people actually were getting onto the fifth car now to join them in just standing there in a trance.
Three full minutes later the operator closed the doors, and right at that "stand clear doors closing" chime moment, one rider snapped out of it and stood there propping a door open, then screamed at what I guessed was the train operator all the way down the platform, "open the goddamn doors, we have to get out!"
It took another three full minutes for them to disembark, single-file.
NextBus fail (Examiner)
Posted by Unsuck DC Metro at 8:05 AM