Standing on the platform at McPherson, so as to get on the first car of a Blue Line train toward PG, a New Carrollton train pulls up with an empty first car.
As soon as I get my earbuds out to listen to what the operator has to say, I hear something like, “blah blah blah, they said someone slashed up some seats or something.”
I was still pondering the amazing decision to sequester the most dangerous of dangers—“slashed up seats,” when an Addison Road train pulled up.
The first car was out of service.
The conversation with the operator went something like this:
Me: Hey, so what’s going on? This is the second train in a row with a shut-down car?
Her: OK, see this car isn’t closed.
Me: So let me on.
Her: It’s too hot in there.
Me: It’s hot out here, it’s hot outside. It’s weather, it’s hot.
Her: The AC’s broke.
Me: The AC’s broke out here.
Her: OK, you need to talk to someone else, because I can’t— [at this point, fearing a lame excuse, ‘it’s not my fault’ ‘I can’t do anything’ etc., I interrupt her for a second time]
Me: You know, it’s refreshing to see that fare hikes past and future are going to keep your outstanding service at an elite level.
At this point I walked toward the second car fully expecting the operator to close the doors before I got there. To her credit, she didn’t. But, once I got on the second car, guess what?
But anyway, how often are AC’s broken in the cars? Plenty, right?
Can’t people, I don’t know, make up their own minds about their comfort and move if they have to?
Closing down cars during rush hour seems to be against Metro’s mission to move the most people the efficient way possible.
However, it is in line with Metro’s mission of continued woeful service and increasing expenses.
The other day, Unsuck had the pleasure of riding in a hot car, but there was a twist. An acrid burning smell engulfed the car at every station. Fearing dehydration and asphyxiation, we gave up a prime spot and switched cars at Foggy Bottom. At Smithsonian, a Metro worker came into the hot car and told everyone to get out.
According to Metro, as cited on the DC Paratransit Info blog,"on a hot, humid day, approximately 4% of our 1106 cars experience HVAC problems."
That seems kind of low, but what gets us even more hot under the collar is thinking about how Metro has failed to evolve over it's near 40-year life.
We know why Metro put AC in the cars, but was any thought ever given to a backup plan that wouldn't involve taking scarce, crowded cars out of service?
Most other subway systems we've ridden, including in Japan, where it gets very hot, usually have small windows that can be opened, which at least creates a breeze and makes the heat bearable if the AC goes down.
Why was this never thought of and implemented here? Is this something that will be added to the 7000-series cars? Doesn't look like it. It can't be a liability issue, as both Chicago and New York subways have windows that can be opened.
How many times in the past month have you been dealt a hot car?
For readers on Twitter, if you find yourself in a hot car, tweet the car number along with "#hotcar @metroopensdoors"