Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When's WMATA Going to be on Intervention?

We posed that question yesterday on Twitter. It was a joke, but like most jokes, there's a kernel of truth buried underneath the snark.

The question was in response to news broken here that a Metrobus driver was allegedly involved in a minor hit and run. The driver dinged a car, basically.

A lot of us have done that, but this driver's instinct was to bolt! That's a huge red flag and yet again speaks to a sickness deep within WMATA.

Sure, a fender bender is not quite like falling asleep behind the wheel or texting while driving, but it's yet another example of how many Metro workers seem to think they're above the law. (Obligatory KFC link Yes, that's an all-time fave.)

It's a dysfunction that plagues Metro. Yeah, yeah, a few bad apples, blah blah, but c'mon. How many bad apples are there? Way more than there should be.

During the Metro Board meeting with the NTSB on Monday, which was largely a snoozefest, NTSB members stated it was important to distinguish between simple mistakes, which we all make, and willful disrespect for standard operating procedures and rules and regulations.

Our understanding of what the NTSB said is that a worker who makes a simple mistake while basically doing the right thing should not be punished, but that a worker who willfully violates rules should have the hammer fall on them--hard.

And it's here that WMATA, more specifically, the union that represents the workers, breaks down like a Red Line train at rush hour.

We've lost count of the number of Metro workers who FLAGRANTLY violate the rules, get caught and end up back on the job. It's unbelievable how many there are, and we probably don't know a tenth of it.

While the NTSB members were speaking to this issue, the silence of the WMATA Board was deafening. They had nothing constructive or proactive to say about it.

They're paralyzed on this topic.

Sure, Metro has a lot of problems, but until the quality of the WMATA workforce is discussed openly, without kneejerk charges of racism, WMATA will continue to be a substandard mass transit system.

Other items:
Funny Metro cartoon (Examiner)
Do federal workers really deserve transit perks? (Examiner)
Dulles may shift Metro plan (WaPo)
More trip planner hilarity (Emilyhaha)
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