Monday, May 10, 2010

Slow Elevator, Slower WMATA Employee

From Dave:

I sure am glad I don't normally travel through Union Station during rush hour. The other day, I had to take the MARC train, so I arrived at Union Station at 4:40 p.m. to find the up escalator at the end of the platform was out of service.

There was a massive line to get up the "stairs," as well as a cluster of people, several handicapped, who were waiting for the nearby elevator.

In the 10 minutes it took for me to wait and then walk up the broken escalator, the elevator didn't move from its position one floor above the platform. A gentleman was standing inside the elevator, trying to get it to move, but it appeared as if the elevator was broken.

After I reached the top, I went through the gate, and there were two Metro employees, one man and one woman, talking to each other. I interrupted and said "Excuse me, but I think your elevator is not working properly."

The woman responded with "It's juuuuust slow." Her attitude was one of "How DARE you disturb my conversation and tell me something is wrong?"

Annoyed, but unable to stop to talk and argue, I walked away, but I again politely said, "there is something wrong with your elevator, Ma'am. People have been waiting for 10 minutes. That's not slow, that's malfunctioning."

She shouted back "NO, ITS JUST SLOW!" Then, the elevator doors slowly closed, but the elevator didn't move toward the stranded people below. It just sat there. Not working.

As I continued my journey, now going up the second escalator to the main floor of Union Station, the woman shouted "SEE, ITS JUST SLOW!" She apparently thinks the doors closing means the elevator is working. But again, the elevator still hadn't moved. And mind you, she was shouting at me over a rush hour crowd, as I was going up an escalator 50 feet away from her.

I finally couldn't take her attacks anymore and shouted back "WE PAY YOUR SALARY, Ma'am, so you might want to adjust the attitude toward your customers."

She didn't respond to that.

Other items:
Union blasts Metro on safety secrecy (Balt. Sun)
TOC slams Metro for same (WTOP)
Metro Board member Zimmerman makes more money case in Post
Metro suicide prevention campaign: Delayed (Examiner)


Anonymous said...

Yeah, we may pay her salary, but ATU Local 689 has negotiated the conditions under which we do it. She isn't accountable to anyone any more. We could no more decide that she needed to go, than we could decide to stop breathing.

Things aren't going to change.

Anonymous said...

I'm forwarding this to WMATA and ATU Local. Fix the attitude and the damn Elevator.

Anonymous said...

I returned from a trip to NYC this past Saturday. No incidents in my 10+ trips on the subway and no wait longer then 3 minutes (with electronic signs).

Upon my return to Union Station at 7:10 pm I alighted to the platform to discover that track work on the Red Line meant a 20 minute wait for a train to Glenmont.

Metro, you suck.

Anonymous said...

@10:48 - it's called track work. It's a fact of life. Would you rather the rails separate and your train fly off the track? It's like me saying to you "How dare you take a crap. I need to use the bathroom." You suck for doing something necessary. Get a grip. Go live in New York.

Anonymous said...

If you don't like delays, don't take Metro.

Anonymous said...

I realize there are some perfectly professional workers at Metro, but really, the idea that the mean ones are few and far between is becoming harder to believe.

I mean surly service is something we pretty much take for granted in the states, but hostile behaviour like this is just unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

11:11 - It's called a failed system design. Two tracks means a system prone to delay for things like...track work for example.

If we had four tracks, it wouldn't be an issue.

Capital system my ass.


Anonymous said...

It was several years ago, but I was once stuck on that very elevator. Took over 30 minutes to get it moving again. Luckily there were only about 7 of us in there.

Anonymous said...

It fits Metro's normal operating procedure. This morning I was attempting to walk down the stairs as that is the only way down to the entrance; the lone small escalator goes up in the morning. I must hold on to the rail or I will fall. I am old. Rush hour - two attendants were oiling the rail handles on both sides of the stairs. Not only did I have to walk away from the rail and hope I'd not fall as I passed them, when I tried to take hold of the rail after passing it was as slick as slick could be. Safety last, Metro, as always! And during rush hour no less. (I said nothing to the attendants - didn't want to startle rabid dogs you know...)

Anonymous said...

I like metro's 1/2 speed escalators. Apparently, everywhere else in the world full speed is ok, but not here, not in DC, no, we're stuck with these escalators that people literally outpace walking up stairs. Even my grandmother wondered aloud if we were getting anywhere on a recent trip. But hey, at least they were running, right?

Anonymous said...

I wonder whose bright idea it was to only have one exit out of these stations.. no emergency stairs in case something underground catches on fire... especially with it being DC and all.. WMATA is just one giant target...

and at Union Station.. it's a TRAIN STATION, and was one long before WMATA got there... one elevator from the metro to train platforms? A tiny one at that? Really? You would think the incentive would be to have huge elevators to accommodate the thousands of train travelers going to and fro on a daily basis, so that they're not clogging up the escalators with luggage during peak hours...

oh wait.. that makes too much sense!

Anonymous said...

@11:53: seriously, go live in New York. Four track system makes sense in a city of 10 million people. Not so much in a city of 600,000.

And any actual New Yorker will tell you that daily life using the subway is a lot different from your starry-eyed tourist experience. So go live there.

Anonymous said...

Why the elevators and escalators are slow?
Metro should follow CODES. If they make it fast, I am sure some people will bitch about just like you guys.

Why are the escalators are broken?
Try to drive you car every day 20hrs for about 30 years and see how many days in week will you be on time to get to work or home on time.


Anonymous said...

It’s obvious that some of the people commenting here don't know much about WMATA or anyone that works at WMATA. Well now I am sure they know a little more after it the escalator incident. Some of you are possibly eating your words. Poor elevator conditions were mentioned. We cannot blame the government for everything. I will not even start on the employees. Let me just say that they are confident that losing their job is almost impossible. It's a workplace joke in some departments to snap photos of one another sleeping on the job (these departments are not the white shirts but blue). I will let you all think about what possible equipment they could be repairing and issues you hear in the news. We fund metro very well. Some of us must have missed the reports on each employee’s job and pay. Some may also have missed reports on rate increases every other month and the public information on their budget and funding. Let us do our research. I will close with this - a few WMATA employee friends of mine just called me tonight to tell me that they are stuck on one of the elevators and to check the news to see if it is mentioned. Have yet to see that one on the news just yet.

Anonymous said...

Relevant links

Anonymous said...

yuppies and their issues. i've lived the the district all my life and the metro has always been clean and running smoothly. it wasnt until the influx of the gentrifiers that everything suddenly became crappy. Quit whining and be thankful that there arent rats running across your feet and drug needles in the seats. Go back to the burbs.

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