Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Metro's New Openness: Delayed, Disrupted and Offloaded

Someone over at Metro really doesn't want to follow the GM's advice to be open and honest with riders about problems.

Back in August, we asked Metro about severe slowdowns between East Falls Church and West Falls Church that had been reported by several riders.

Metro gave a vague answer that made the slowdowns seem like nothing to worry about.

Well take a look at what they have to say now:
Trains to share one track between the West Falls Church-VT/UVA and East Falls Church Metrorail stations on weekdays

Orange Line trains will share one track for four hours a day between the West Falls Church-VT/UVA and East Falls Church Metrorail stations on weekdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Sept. 27 through Oct. 8, because Metro will install new cross ties and new rail in that area to improve service reliability by allowing trains to operate at normal speeds.

Metro has identified an immediate need to replace cross ties and upgrade its track between these two rail stations. By completing these necessary repairs, Metro will be able remove speed restrictions that are currently in place between these stations.

Metrorail customers traveling between these stations should not anticipate any delays because trains operate approximately every 12 minutes during this time frame.

To alert customers about this upcoming daytime work, Metro will make train and system announcements, issue e-alerts and post signs at the affected stations.
We confirmed with Metro that the August slowdowns and the newly announced daytime track work are related. The slowdowns have been ongoing, to varying degrees, all this time, according to rider CS.

Way to communicate with your passengers in an open and honest way, Metro. Were the ties and track issues immediate or not? Was it ever dangerous? How come all on-train announcements made by operators during the past 6 weeks seemed purposely vague? Why didn't you tell riders what was going on?

This is the third case this month in which Metro appears to be hiding things.

There's the ongoing struggle to get information about doors, automatic train control and the bellying of the 1000-series cars; Metro's reluctance to talk about a recent incident in which the doors of a train were opened over the third rail; and finally, Metro's BS implying there had never been issues of 4000-series car doors opening while the train was in motion.

Next time we hear an innocuous sounding announcement from Metro, we're going to wonder what's really going on.

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