Friday, September 10, 2010

Been there, Done that

Yesterday’s posting on a potentially catastrophic incident in which a Green Line operator opened the doors on the wrong side of the train created a bit of a dust-up, with Metro unwilling to provide details the riding public surely is entitled to know.

You want more information, Metro said, file a public records request – thereby underscoring, once again, the agency’s reluctance to share important info with its riders.

One of the questions arising from this serious safety breach is whether there may be some automated system for monitoring door openings, or mis-openings, as the case may be. As Unsuck observed, “the public has a right to know what goes on, especially when there's a danger of people being dumped onto the third rail.”

Well, it turns out Metro has recently had a chance – via none other than a public records request – to deliver a pronouncement on how seriously it takes letting the public know about door problems, including serious concerns about an automated door system.

The result is predictable, if not pretty.

Part of the records request was for expedited consideration, in order to try and avoid the swamp that most public record requests get dumped into. After taking more than twice as long as its public records policy provides, Metro denied the request for expediting the handling of the request.


Because, according to Metro, “information regarding the Metrorail train doors is already in the public domain.” Despite thousands of door-related delays in recent years, not to mention the potentially deadly Green Line incident last month, Metro said there is no urgency to inform the public about Metro door problems and its failed automatic door system – the very thing that has forced Metro into the manual door operation that led to the Green Line incident.

That’s right, folks. Move along. Nothing to see here. Whatever you need to know, rest assured, Metro has already laid it out there for you.

It’s hard to fathom the arrogance and disconnect from reality that goes into a decision like that, not to mention what Metro thinks really WOULD rise to the level of something urgent or worthy of disclosure to its riding public.

Once again, we see why it’s important to watch what Metro does, not what it says. The GM has said that covering up problems "is the worst thing you can do.” Yet given the chance to make good on that declaration, Metro has instead made its familiar trek to the bunker.

Also by CS:
Other items:
Metro yanks 99 buses from service for fire risk (WMATA)
4th MetroAccess driver this year charged with sexual assault (WMATA)/Examiner take
Major closures Columbus Day weekend (WMATA)
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