Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Poor Baby Metro

Metro, according to some.

Yesterday, of all days, was a distasteful and odd day to pick a fight with us for having the audacity to even TALK to a Republican, but we suppose those in Metro’s pocket couldn’t help themselves. After all, it was a shameful day for the dwindling few Metro apologists.

Anyway, we opted for total silence yesterday out of deference, but today, we wanted to have a little fun.

The 2010 Unsuck DC Metro Award for Unintentionally Hilarious Blog Post goes to Greater Greater Washington (GGW) for its penetrating "Is the Washington Post too negative on Metro?"

Go ahead, wipe up the coffee you just snarfed.

Take a moment.

Dry the tears.

Yes, that was really the question posed.

Stop laughing!

Seriously, stop.

If you're looking for an example of how the Post, just like GGW, pedals softly on Metro's dysfunction, check out the ‘tude from union ringleader Jackie Jeter, which was never reported by either outlet--or any other for that matter. Just to underscore, she and her hubby are the head of a major union here in the DC area, and the price of her workers is a major reason WMATA continually finds itself in a budgetary pickle. She regularly testifies before congress. She is a key player when it comes to Metro, yet she apparently accuses those who question her authority of being racist. In the Unsuck book, that is news. Apparently not to the those mean ol' Metro bashers at the Post.

But getting back to the business at hand, we want to be the first to thank GGW for enlightening us about all the terrible things we’ve done to destroy Metro and hurt its feelings. If we'd only known Metro's sucking was our fault all along, we'd have stopped the blog long ago.

Thanks to GGW's infinite and unassailable wisdom, we feel gutted knowing we've dedicated so much time and effort only to accomplish nothing but being "destructive.":(

To re-educate ourselves, we decided to try on a pair of GGW glasses so that we could see Metro correctly, for its own unique--and expensive--inner beauty.

It was an amazing epiphany. Check it out.
  • Massive, complex fare hikes became welcome lessons in common sense and budgeting.
  • Texting bus drivers and sleeping operators became pranksters having a laugh.
  • Surly Metro employees became comedic geniuses. (When they say 'f*ck y'all,' they really mean 'thank you for your patronage.' When they punch McGruff, it's funny. When they keep their jobs after doing such things, it's a real hoot.
  • Broken escalators became a chance to get a little exercise and extra motivation to lose those stubborn love handles.
  • Boiling hot, hermetically sealed Metro cars became free saunas, and our complexion improved markedly from sweating out the toxins we'd inhaled after an ol' Brakey McSmokels train had passed.
  • Packed station platforms became a chance to mingle with our fellow riders, all of whom constantly sing Metro's praises.
  • Track fires, in winter, became a welcome opportunity to warm our hands. In the summer, they were like having our own 4th of July, almost every day. Terrific!
  • Door problems reminded us to seize the opportunity.
  • Derailments became exciting joy rides.
  • Free bus rides became a badge of honor around the office water cooler.
  • Burny brake smell became the sweet fragrance of a well oiled machine.
  • The lack of schedules taught us how to relinquish control and embrace the unexpected.
  • Offloads became a chance to admire the uniqueness of a strange station.
  • Metro nausea became a welcome appetite suppressant.
  • Single tracking became a chance to ponder eternity.
  • Delays in both directions became a great excuse to cancel unwanted social commitments.
  • Stopping for what seemed like an eternity in a tunnel gave us a chance to admire what an engineering marvel of the '70s Metro really is.
  • Delays? Who cares if you don’t have a job and don't need to be anywhere on time?
  • A Metro employee doing their job became a hero
  • An uneventful commute became reason for heartfelt gratitude.
  • Any fault of Metro became a reason to shovel more money at it.
  • Metro's attempts to protract the legal battle over the deaths of 6/22 became a fantastic opportunity to learn about the American legal system.
Thank you GGW. You’ve been so right about Metro for so long.

It is all basically fine.

We will continue reading your posts on Metro to remind us of that. We are really looking forward to your next installment in a long series of posts from Craig Simpson, the Legislative and Political Representative for ATU Local 689.

We ALREADY agree!

OK. Now we’re feeling a bit guilty about bashing poor, helpless baby Metro. We’d like to retract any sarcastic/snarky comments for fear we've saddened a Metro employee and/or staff member past, present or future.

There there Metro.

Other items:
Fairfax sends letter asking McDonnell to reconsider (Examiner)


Chris said...

For this, Unsuck, I (heart) you!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Love you Unsuck! *flings panties*

Anonymous said...

GGW has it's place, but doesn't seem to know it.

Dear Mr. Alpert. You don't speak for all of us. You make good points at times, but you're not working to unsuck Metro. You're enabling it.

Fire the Jeters.

Anonymous said...

I actually did snarf my tea several times.

KellDC said...

OMG Best slam e-ver.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious and well said! We who are appropriately shamed (not really) salute you Unsuck!

Anonymous said...

Fire the Alperts too! (I don't think I will stop laughing all day now...) Go Unsuck!

Anonymous said...

And now.. even now!... there is a wondrous delay on the Orange line at Ballston. Oh happy moment. As I have learned from today's post, a chance to ponder so many things in life. How lucky we are.

We few. We happy few. We band of Unsucks.

Travis said...

This post is so full of win. Love the picture.

You can never be too hard on something that is supposed to be a public service.

Anonymous said...

Okay, you're right. Let's fire McGruff and his ilk, comrade. Close some egregious loopholes, like the overtime counting in pension calculations. That would be great. Did that:

a) put more 8 car trains on the Orange Line during rush hour?

b) retire those 1000-series train cars any faster?

c) pay for the safety equipment that would let Metro go back on auto-train control?

d) stop the dickbags who are SURE they can smoosh onto a train that's past capacity from causing a door-breakage that causes a lot of those offloads that eff up Metro during rush hour? Or the "sick passengers?"

e) magically recruit a workforce who puts up with the surly, entitled citizenry of Washington with better cheer than current workers for what? 20% less? 33%?


Autumn Banter said...

Love, love, love this post!! Thank you Unsuck!!

Anonymous said...

I love how at Peak of the Peak at Chinatown (around 8:45) and it took over 10 min for a Yellow Line train to showup. If things continue at this rate after the fair hike I may just give up on the metro and start taking the VRE (Union Station to King Street).

Anonymous said...

Well indeed, Anon 9:31!

"Be surly to everyone because they are surly to you, surely enough because surliness strengthens the customers endurance of challenges thereby enhancing their endurance for life's daily struggles!"

That fits! Another bullet in the list.

I is so happy!

Anonymous said...

I just submitted this complaint to Metro. Let's see if I get any response. Almost getting killed by a bus is a near-daily experience around Dupont Circle, so I'm glad I finally managed to get the bus numbers.

This morning, June 23, 2010, the G2 bus # 3767 failed to stop at the stoplight on the south side of Dupont Circle, nearly plowing into pedestrians who were crossing in the crosswalk. Immediately thereafter, a northbound 42 bus #6370 which was stopped partially blocking the crosswalk on the southeast side of Dupont Circle accelerated even though it had a red light, running the red light in order to turn right and again nearly plowing over pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Anonymous said...

"e) magically recruit a workforce who puts up with the surly, entitled citizenry of Washington with better cheer than current workers for what? 20% less? 33%?"

@ Anon 9:33

Well, not hiring such a high percentage of ex-felons and convicts would be a start.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy Unsuck as much as the next guy - but seriously, it's just a forum for bitching about Metro - there is nothing constructive here in the posts or the comments. At least GGW attempts some serious analysis. I come to Unsuck if I want to commiserate about my commute. I go to GGW if I want to discuss solutions. That doesn't mean I agree with everything at GGW, but at least there is a focus on fixing things, and not just throwing a temper-tantrum. Both sites serve a different role, so why try to go after each other like a couple of 3rd graders?

J said...

You know, when it goes back to the issue of the driver who was recently reinstated after a fatal accident last year, I have to say, I understand why it happened. A lot of commenters on other sites seem to ignore some of the basic issues.

Basically, the arbitration committee decided there wasn't evidence to prove he was negligent (I think Metro suspected he ran a red light). While that's awful if true, how would you feel if you got fired from your job for a supposed violation even though an independent panel said there was no evidence of a violation, and your employer couldn't prove it? There are certain crimes (often sex offenses) where the mere *accusation* is enough to destroy someone's life, even if they are completely innocent.

Now, on the other hand, I *DO* ultimately think the guy shouldn't be employed by Metro. Why? Because if Metro thinks his actions were negligent, they should certainly be allowed to fire him. Unfortunately, Metro gave that power up when they agreed to arbitration as they have.

So, yes, I think it's terrible, but I also understand the union, and, sadly, Ms. Jeter's point of view. Even though she's rather crass and offensive about it. This is why Metro is going to have problems like this: they have responsibility, but no authority.

Anonymous said...

Right on brother! Tell it like it is! Great post!

Anonymous said...

Just in fairness, I would point out that Unsuck has presented positive items about Metro experiences. Unfortunately, the negative carries the day, at least these days, but positive reflections of Metro are there, too.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:12 - I have been writing to my Senator and Congressmen almost daily for the past two weeks. I have been contacting Metro (including the unpleasant Jeeters and Sarles). I get responses that are incomplete sentences, answers that have nothing to do with the subject in question and comments about slavery whihc was never mentioned nor implied.

To my Senators I do reference this blog for their use as it contains a lot of current information about the "real picture" as compared to the type of unrealistic info Metro is publishing.

If you feel this blog and postings are such a waste, I must ask - why are you wasting your time reading it?

Posted by a subway/bus rider who has almost been killed 4 times in 5 years by metro employees. Each time Metro was contacted. No action by metro or the union was ever taken on those who nearly killed me.

Right OFF brother! Way off.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:42

I never said it was a waste. I said it serves a different role. And ,as a matter-of-fact, I said exactly why I read this Blog - to commiserate.

I've been commuting daily by Metrobus and Metrorail for 4 years now, and used Metrorail for non-commuting purposes for 10 years prior to that. I've lost count of the number of complaints I've filed, the number of times WMATA has nearly killed me. I've given public comment to the WMATA board, to my County board, as well as my state senator and delegate, and US Senator and Representative about WMATA's situation. I've also contacted the Union regarding a variety of employee issues. I'm ignorant of WMATA's problems. I experience them myself.

I've been reading Unsuck for about 2 years, and GGW for the same amount of time - I'm quite familiar with the content and perspectives displayed on both.

This site is a rough compendium of qualitative experiences with WMATA (highly skewed towards Rail ridership and negative experiences). The fact is, in a system as large as WMATA, it's easy to find something everyday that goes wrong or upsets someone. GGW's content is more about quantitative analysis and the expression of real, feasible solutions to WMATAs myriad of problems, but is not a compilation of complaints.

Like I said originally - both sites serve a purpose and both sites are open to criticism. Bickering with one another regarding different approaches is just dumb. When you need to blow off steam - go to Unsuck. When you want to have a real conversation about solutions - go to GGW.

Anonymous said...

You had me at unicorn...

Anonymous said...

Who's bickering? The post I read at the top is stating very concrete, verifiable facts with a humorous bent. It is called satire.

Hey! Does that count? Do we get a bullet for it? :-D

Anonymous said...

emilyhaha, they had me a snarfed. The word alone cracks me up!

Matt said...

How constructive is a war of the blogs? You missed the chance to be the better man and not reply with a post like this, Mr Unsuck.

Maybe you and David Alpert should actually, you know, sit down face to face. What a concept.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe you and David Alpert should actually, you know, sit down face to face. What a concept."

Not possible. Unsuck is scared of revealing his identity.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more with your post! <3 You, Unsuck! Those GGW people clearly don't ride the orange or red line on a regular basis. This system and its employees, including those unions who continue to do nothing but squeeze money out of wmata for their mediocre employees, are nothing but a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Superb! :)

Anonymous said...

Instead of griping about the salaries of workers who are paid in line with other transit agencies, how about getting the states to put as much money into transit as they put into roads? Then we could all win.

J.D. Hammond said...

I used to really love GGW, but it seems like it's decided to concern itself more and more with engineering counterspin and less and less with the actual urban policy issues I started reading it for. I don't know why this has happened, but if I wanted to hear this much about how a rival site sed a bad wurd and should have cep its mouf shut, I would read Media Matters with much greater frequency than I do.

J.D. Hammond said...

Oh, speaking of which, David, that must be you at 11:41, complaining about "griping" rather than addressing anything that's been said about the incredible malfeasance of Metro employees! What's with all the complaints about complaints and arguments about arguments in lieu of substantive critique?

Anonymous said...


GWW is has become an apologistic windbag just like WMATA.

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