Thursday, June 17, 2010

Metro Could Learn a Few Things from AeroTrain

Despite the very different missions, Metro could definitely learn a thing or two from Dulles' AeroTrain, which opened in January.

Obviously, Metro will need more seats than the 8 per car on the AeroTrain, but the bench seating style is definitely the way to go. Hard, indestructible floors appear to be planned for the new Metro cars, so that's good. The triple pole (at the left) is a very nice touch, allowing more people to hold on comfortably--hopefully, not with their cheeks.

Then again, on the AeroTrain, there's really not a need to hang on. The ride is incredibly smooth. That's because the operators are incredibly skilled. Oh wait, there are no operators.

Please Metro, don't upholster the new seats. Use something like this that can be hosed down.

There are lots of places to hold on, and at the end of the cars, there are no "penalty boxes" as on some Metro cars.

Other items:
Va's McDonnell threatens to pull Metro funding (WaPo)
This is just sad. (Evening Tribune)
The unintended consequences of the new, dumb complex fare scheme (Forbes)
How fun would this be? (Scaryideas.com)
Another Metro suicide (Examiner)

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

please!!! bench seating!!!! more room to stand, not having to climb over anyone to get out, and more room for people to move out of the way. there's a reason why people never want to move to the middle!

Anonymous said...

no cloth seats +1

Anonymous said...

This is a silly comparison. Yes the design cues would be nice to steal in a lot of ways, but the idea of eliminating operators to obtain the "smooth ride" of the AeroTrain system fails to take in account the cost. The 4 mile AeroTrain system (which carries much fewer people per train cost $1.4 BILLION dollars or $350 million/mile. The 23 mile Dulles Silver Line extension will cost $5 billion or $217 million/mile. If the Silver Line was built to AeroTrain's specs (and costs similarly more) it would add more than $3 BILLION to the price.
I don't see you opening your wallet.

Unsuck DC Metro said...

It was really more of a dig than a suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I would love to see more money spent on the Silver Line. So many of the problems on the DC Metro could be solved with one thing: money.

Anonymous said...

"It was really more of a dig than a suggestion" And there, in a nutshell, is the problem with your site. You bitch with little to back it up. This post is a whine about how we're not like AeroTrain, even though it's a completely unrealistic comparison. That's like living in a swamp and complaining that Disney World is better.

Unsuck DC Metro said...

Thank you for reading.

JPSpringfield said...

Hey anon 10:13/10:55

Why don't you actually try reading the post. It doesn't suggest operatorless trains. It merely points the fact out.

The post is FULL of suggestions about what WMATA could do better and at relatively little cost.

If you don't like the blog, don't read it.

Anonymous said...

I believe we have an ATU member here!

Anonymous said...

I've ridden the Dulles train a few times, and remember how impressed I was that I felt like something related to infrastructure in the US actually looked modern.

Anonymous said...

Yes but how much money would be saved by not having to employ these union crooks? I'm sure enough to make driverless infrastructure attractive.

Anonymous said...

I like pleasure spiked with pain and
Music is my AeroTrain
It's my AeroTrain
Songbird sweet and sour Jane and
Music is my AeroTrain
It's my AeroTrain

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:49pm
Oh, great...now that song will be in my head all day. Thanks a lot. hehehe at least I like that song!

Anonymous said...

No operators?
So I guess the computers that control the trains will be the ones who join ATU? :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure Anon 10:55 knows where Disney World is.

Anonymous said...

This blog may not offer many solutions, but as a cathartic voice, I don't friggin' care! It's great, and I hope it continues.

Frankly, I think the blog does offer many philosophical ideas to remedy what ails Metro.

Matt said...

I don't see the problem with the current seats - why would you want to have them replaced with plastic ones - all that would happen then is that you would start complaining about how they were too hard and uncomfortable for say, the long ride out to Shady Grove. Plastic seats are a terrible idea, and while there are relatively few cases of damaged seats on the metro now - none by the way, that I have had first hand proof of - there should be no reason to complain about the material which is actually quite comfortable.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Matt on this one. The upholstered seats are a lot more comfortable than hard plastic. In the 20 years I have been riding metro, I have seen very, very few examples of the upholstered seats being ripped. I do see some that get stained, but that is problem with hard plastic ones too. So I don't see how exchanging them for hard plastic would make anything better - it would not be cleaner, and it would not be more comfortable.
It seems fashionable on this blog to compare Metro to the New York subway, but that is not the only world-class transit system worth emulating. I was in London a couple of years ago and was impressed that the Underground actually had cushy seats upholstered with some sort of cloth. And they seemed very clean. Perhaps we should try to hire away London's transit manager to run Metro, along with the "mind the gap" lady to record our announcements.

Anonymous said...

Or just bring the English metality here....yeah right!

Caity Bierman said...

ah it's beautiful! looks like the BART in San Francisco. ..and more like the newer NYC subway cars. non carpet-non upholstered is the way to go . a much cleaner look and feel...and easier to clean.

Anonymous said...

The subway in Barcelona has a 'leaner seats' that work well...still standing, but against something so you don't fly around, AND..they're right inside the doors. That means there's only room for 4 (for each door) and everyone else is just in the way and had to go find somewhere to stand/hold. It's kinda genius.

Anonymous said...

You don't see ripped seat you should see the piles of cushions cut up, and graffiti. These contoured seats are a great cost saving idea. Your not riding to West VA! The ride is not more than 45 minutes! Bring you own cushion if you have problems. They are nasty with piss etc anyway.

The problem is when you couple all these different trains together they have problems and break down and delay the lines!

The configurations need to be standardized so that the mechanical functions/equipment are the same.

Riders want to get from A to B on time. That will never happen until all the old trains which are rehabbed are gone. (keep wishing)

The Metro Rail extension should have been below ground. The huge concrete pylons have eroded esthetically the beautiful architecture of Tyson's Corner. Then Gov Kaine should have chosen a dredging company with the equipment and not his buddy without drudging equipment.

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right. Tyson's Corner was doing great before Metro came along. Now instead of seeing beautiful 8 lane roads and massive buildings without sidewalks I have to stare at pylons.

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