Thursday, September 23, 2010

Decision to Pull 4000-series Prompted by a "Number of Incidents"

WMATA still hasn't learned how to be open and honest, particularly about one of its biggest sore spots--the fricking doors!

In today's prepared testimony by Tri-State Oversight Committee (TOC) chair Matthew Bassett before the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and DC Oversight, it was revealed that Metro appeared to hide critical safety information from riders and the very group meant to oversee the safety of its operations.

Just prior to the July 4 weekend, Metro made an announcement that it would pull all of the 4000-series cars "to address a possible short in the car door circuitry that could cause the doors to open while the cars are in motion. The removal of the cars was not prompted by a particular incident, but performance tests and observations conducted by Metro's operations staff."

Sounds proactive, right?

According to today's testimony, the TOC wanted more information about these alleged performance tests and observations.

Metro couldn't seem to get its act together to come up with a simple answer to a relatively simple question.


Perhaps because, according to the prepared testimony, "one particular incident did not motivate the decision to remove the 4000-series, but rather a number of incidents." This information, it turns out, came from "front-line personnel during an Aug. 10 railcar maintenance shop visit," more than a month after the TOC made its initial request for information and weeks after the cars were "cleared" for service.


Metro appears to have flat out lied to the public and kept its oversight body completely out of the loop the entire time.

Bassett's prepared testimony, which you can read here, cites some positive steps Metro has taken toward a safer system, but revelations like this could undermine it all. Another case of one step forward, two steps back? Remember this case of Metro BS?

We don't know how many times we'll have to dredge up interim GM Sarles' bold, yet apparently meaningless statement, but here it is again: "I don't want to hide problems. That's the worst thing you can do."

Prove you mean it!
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