I leave before rush hour and reverse commute from Judiciary Square, where I live, to Rockville, where I work. At this time, all trains go to Shady Grove, or at least they are are supposed to.
Twice last week, some trains only went as far as Grosvenor, leaving us long distance travelers stranded on the platform at 6:30 a.m. watching as every single other passenger in both directions was served over and over (three trains to Glenmont to my zero Shady Grove trains). And yet, we long distance riders pay the most!
The other morning, when I arrived and the sign said 20 minutes until the next train, I complained to the station manager. Her response was to shrug, turn around and close the door.
During my long wait, announcements were made about Blue Line delays but never once about those of who had been stranded waiting for trains beyond Grosvenor. Running trains on time and communicating with passengers isn't a budget problem. How can they get away this? When you leave your house at 6-something in the morning, 20 minutes is everything.
BTW, Metro's response to this was:
Red Line trains run to Shady Grove just as they do to Glenmont, during rush hour they are scheduled every six minutes. Every other train stops at Silver Spring and Grosvenor.From Ben Schumin:
If your reader has a concern or complaint, he should call our customer service department.
Metro's fare structure is for the most part based on a boarding charge plus distance traveled. If you are traveling to Forest Glen, Wheaton, or Glenmont, you're paying a pretty penny for service, and only getting half as much as the folks below you. From Metro Center during rush hour (before greed-of-the-greed, pardon me, "peak-of-the-peak" was implemented), it costs $3.70 to get to Forest Glen, $4.10 to get to Wheaton, and $4.55 to get to Glenmont. For that cost, every other train terminates and returns downtown well before reaching the final three stations. Let's talk about a parity issue for a moment, here. Those of us who pay the most for Red Line service get the least amount of Red Line service. That doesn't seem a fair bargain.
Add to that my belief that Metro was bluffing the whole time when it came to their threatened service cuts. They were never going to cut service, because it would have been political suicide for all the board members (even though a few of them need to commit political hara-kiri - yes, I'm looking at you, Jim Graham - and leave office). They did, however, play the public like a violin, getting people to say that they would be more than willing to pay higher fares rather than see service cut. And that gave them carte blanche to institute the second "Metro's largest-ever fare increase" in a row this week (2008's fare increase was also described as Metro's largest).
So needless to say, I'm a bit annoyed. It's time to discontinue the Silver Spring turnback in regularly scheduled service. Send all the trains to Glenmont. I pay substantially more per ride than someone going to Silver Spring ($3.25 from Metro Center to Silver Spring vs. $4.55 to Glenmont), and therefore for the amount I pay, every regularly scheduled Red Line train should go there to service these riders, who spend more to fund Metro's services than someone going to Silver Spring.
This is also why we need to go to a flat fare. Metro will run trains at a given headway to the outlying stations regardless of whether there are five people on the train or 500 people on the train. Likewise, they will staff all the stations and run all the utilities regardless of how many people are actually on the train. Thus it costs Metro basically the same to take someone from Metro Center to Gallery Place as it does from Metro Center to, say, Takoma, because the train will be run in service to the end of the line regardless of passenger load. Therefore, everyone should pay equally for the provision of the entire service. That also gets into the idea that transit is a public good, and therefore everyone should help pay for it. Because the best place that I could afford is way out in the suburbs doesn't mean I should be punished for it. Seriously.
Metro's new door-to-door service goes horribly wrong (WUSA)
Local transit agencies feeling pinch (Examiner)