What is it about Metro that makes some want to dance?
Metro wants to replace $60.5 million worth of circuits (Examiner)
You’ve finally done it.
After just over two years of tolerating increasingly unreliable service; increasingly higher prices; the prospect that my health or life may be at risk for having relied on you to get to work; an alarming disregard for public safety; a shockingly low amount of transparency; your subpar efforts to police your own property against violence and theft; failing to perform maintenance which could lead to passenger injury; a series of shockingly stupid and shortsighted decisions related to a technology that is supposed to make using the Metro easier; rail and bus operators who clearly have little regard for public safety; pathetic attempts to fool the public into thinking you are running an efficient and competent system; malfunctioning equipment that leaves passengers in the dark about how long their commute will be; and your continued inability to ensure that old and relatively simple technology stays functioning, I’ve finally made one of the most satisfying and liberating decisions since I started working in Washington, DC:
I am quitting Metro.
Was it the combined effect of everything I mentioned above? Astonishingly no. When I look back over the 27 months I’ve lived and worked in this area, I can’t believe that for such a long time I repeatedly paid so much for so little.
It’s not that I was actually expecting things to get any better…I’m not that foolish. I simply considered it a good day if there were no major delays or inconveniences that made me considerably late for work. Maybe it was out of a sense of helplessness that I kept riding. I had somehow fooled myself into thinking I had no other option.
It wasn’t until several weeks ago that I experienced such shockingly rude treatment at the hands of a Metro employee that I realized I didn’t have to put up with this anymore.
To recap: Since moving to Baltimore in August, my fiancée and I would drive to the Greenbelt station and take it to Dupont Circle and Farragut North, respectively (before that, she commuted from Baltimore, I from Springfield).
A few weeks ago, we attempted to get through the gates at Greenbelt, same as every morning. We attempted to get through one gate and it didn’t work (the lights on this particular turnstile weren’t working to indicate if it was directing people into or out of the station, there was however a piece of paper taped to the turnstile with a green ‘X’ on it … this apparently meant the turnstile was not working). So we both tried a different turnstile.
This time the gate opened, but the LED display letting us know if our cards were read properly was not functioning.
In any case, the gate opened and we both went through.
Here is the interesting part: it turns out that my card was not read properly, but I was not aware of this because the gate didn’t close on me and, again, a malfunctioning LED display did not tell me my card hadn’t been properly scanned.
We kept walking towards the (out of service) escalator when we heard someone shout: “do you feel like paying your fare today?!?”
It turns out that this voice was coming from a Metro transit police officer that was accusing me of trying to steal from the Metro by not paying at the gate.
This was a shock to me in the first place that I would be confronted by a police officer like this, but to make matters worse, he continued to very loudly and rudely accuse me of trying to get in without paying.
I tried to explain to the officer that I had no way of knowing my card hadn’t been read, and also that I wouldn’t have been able to get out at my destination without having to take my card to the station manager at Dupont.
This made no difference to this individual.
He told me that he would give me a fine of $50 if ‘we have to have this discussion again.’
All this time other passengers are filing into the station under the assumption that I was no better than a common thief. I repeated that I didn’t know that my card hadn’t been read, but this officer continued to yell at me, and condescendingly explain how the gates work.
We finally walked away, and I took a fairly angry ride to work that day. I of course filed a complaint, and received the standard apology about how this isn’t how Metro employees are supposed to behave and that this person would be reprimanded. He may or may not have actually been reprimanded, but that’s beside the point.
The fundamental question is how dare anyone at the Metro speak to a customer in such a shameful manner? Metro employees collectively should be bending over backwards in their attempts to be friendly and courteous for providing such poor service to the public. If I performed my job the way that many at all levels of the Metro system do, I would be fired.
That experience and subsequent email was the straw that broke the camel’s back and after looking into the matter, I found a way to still get to work, and not have to pay an arm and a leg for horrible service and treatment.
As of Nov. 16, I am Metro free.
Now I know that this solution won’t work for everyone.
For some people, the (usually) bad experience of using the Metro is unavoidable, and for those unfortunate people, I am truly sorry. But for someone who commutes from outside of the District, there is hope.
Yesterday, my fiancée and I drove all the way into the District and parked in a garage close to our office buildings. It took us about the same amount of time to be in front of our desks as if we had driven to Greenbelt and taken the Metro in.
Here is the real kicker though. Between the two of us, our combined monthly Metro-associated cost averages out to about $457 per month. To park in a garage that’s right around the corner from her building, and a ten minute walk to mine, we’ll only have to pay a total of $215. That’s right. Less than half of what we pay to use the Metro.
For less than half of the money, we will no longer have to put up with the litany of horrors I mentioned above, and we won’t have to put up with an increasingly rude and agitated public (no doubt made worse by the realization that they are being fully and wholly fleeced by WMATA).
In the real world, a business is rewarded for competently providing or producing goods and services. Just in the same way that I would be fired if my job performance compared to that of all levels of WMATA, most other businesses that provide this level of service would fail. WMATA however can rely on the fact that most people have no other option to get where they need to go. If you are one of those people who truly have no other option than the Metro, I am again truly sorry. But thankfully, I am not one of those people. And I will no longer throw my hard earned money down the never-ending, spiraling pit of despair that is WMATA.
A liberated commuter
Waiting in the rain for the bus, I was ecstatic when it actually came on time.Other items:
I was taking the L2 north to Chevy Chase Circle and got on at 20th & L Streets around 3:30 pm.
I got on the bus and said hello to driver, as I normally do. I was met with a blank stare.
I got two steps past the driver, and he peeled off, racing down the street.
Because of the rain, the center aisle was wet. And because it was wet and the driver jerked out and race away, I lost my footing.
It was a comical fall. My feet flew out, and I landed on my back and on my laptop. The loud THUNK I made shocked the other riders.
As another rider helped me up, the bus driver just continued his pace and didn't even look back.
Look, I know these things happen, and I'm not the type to complain because of falling because it's wet.
However, the bus driver definitely should have asked me if I was alright.
I hate that bus drivers race off like that, especially when the bus floors are wet.
I see how they wait for the elderly - can't they wait for others as well?
Metro really brings out the worst in people, and I found myself I hoping that one day that bus driver falls and the person responsible doesn't even flinch. Ugh.
I'm going to go ice my back now. Thanks Metro!
I had my iPhone ripped out of my hand while I was on a Branch Ave. train the other night about 9 p.m. It happened in the Columbia Heights station. The person ran at me, grabbed the phone and got off the train before I could follow him.Rider Peter shares a story about how riders intervened, in the absence of Metro employees, to interrupt an attempted purse snatching yesterday morning at Gallery Place.
This happens, I understand. My issue is how long it took WMATA to respond.
There was nobody staffing the booth. I waited for 10, maybe 15 minutes before someone gave me a phone so I could call Metro Police. By then, this a**hole was probably on the other side of the city.
When Metro Police came, about 15 minutes later, the officer asked for a description of the robber. I told him what I remembered -- but it happened in all of 5 seconds. Another rider had seen the incident, and I had their phone number. I offered it to the officer, but he declined.
I pointed to the four security camera screens in the booth and said (twice) "Can we look on there because I'm pretty sure [the cameras] caught him?"
The officer never directly responded to me about the cameras. I think that by the time they arrived, they knew the chances of catching the robber were slim at best.
My issue is not with the how the police handled the situation. It was already too late to do anything. Theft happens.
But had the booth be manned, had there been security on the Metro platform or at the station entrance, then perhaps someone could have stopped this thief.
And what if I had been injured during this incident? How long would it have taken to get help if I'd been bleeding or something?
I was about 20 feet from action, so didn't see the actual snatching, but I did see part of the pursuit.
I was coming off the Green Line on the lower platform and saw two people sprinting toward the escalator that goes up to the Glenmont side of the Red Line platform.
One started yelling "purse, she stole my purse."
The thief ran up the down escalator because the up escalator was already packed.
There was a male rider at the top of the escalator who heard the calls and confronted the thief.
When I made it to the top, he had the purse and had been joined by one or two others.
There didn't seem to be any real fight put up.
At that point, the victim was yelling for police, but there didn't happen to be any.
There were no WMATA folks in vicinity either, nor did I see any heading to that platform.
I think the thief just ran away.
I didn't get a good look at her (I think it was woman, not positive). I have no idea if the victim reported the incident to Metro or not.
The good news is that riders stepped up and got the purse back; the bad news that the purse snatcher wasn't dealt with by authorities and is still, presumably, out there.
Original pic: @victoriaramirez Oh you know, just chillin on the bus with my 4 Loko. #stealth #klassy http://twitpic.com/37r798 #wmataOther items:
The Task Force finds that what may have been an appropriate governance structure for WMATA to build a new transit system in the 1960s is not appropriate to operate today’s mature system.Yes!
In 1982, a study commissioned by the Greater Washington Research Center concluded that while the composition of the Board may have been appropriate to plan and construct Metrorail, “it is entirely unsuitable for overseeing the management of an operating transit system.”In 2038, let's hope we will read a report about marked improvements at Metro, not another indictment of its major shortcomings and inability to change with the times.
I commute from Stadium Armory to Farragut West every day. The other morning, I got to Stadium Armory just in time to catch the beginning of a circuit malfunction delay on the Vienna/Franconia side of the station, meaning all trains headed west were delayed indefinitely.Other items:
After waiting approximately 10 minutes, I used the WMATA mobile site to find that the D6 bus would get me to Farragut Park, so I would just need to leave the station, head up the stairs on the Stadium exit side, and catch the bus.
I walked up to the south (hospital) entrance, where I had entered, and asked the station manager if she would clear my entry fare on my SmarTrip card because of the massive delay and my desire to instead take MetroBus.
She looked at me indignantly, and told me I could just exit normally.
I said I did not want to do that as I had not actually ridden the train, and it was, according to the repeated announcements, continuing to be delayed with no clue about when things would clear up.
Not only would she not adjust my card, she denied that there was a delay AS THE ANNOUNCEMENT [OF DELAYS] WAS BEING PLAYED over the station speakers.
I understand you can’t just come into the station and turn around and expect your money back without riding the train. However, given that there were no trains expected any time soon due to a Metro malfunction and Metro could have easily let me out to catch the D6 bus, I was absolutely incredulous at this station manager’s reaction.
Seeking a resolution other than being held hostage for my entry fare, I asked her who her supervisor was, and was told verbatim: “don’t worry about who my supervisor is,” as she shut the door to the booth and resumed ignoring me at her desk.
Thanks Metro, for being completely unreasonable and indifferent, and at least feigning an attempt at a positive image with customers.
As a fellow Orange Line rider, you may have been part of the "offloading" that took place a Virginia Square the other morning. Offloading is in quotes, because the train started moving again LONG before all the passengers had offloaded. The doors also closed on passengers--including me--during the "doors opening" recording!Has this happened to you before?
The picture attached is of the closed doors on a train full of passengers...
From Metro: "WMATA has found that this [issue] is one of improving communications, not discipline."Metro's top management was caught with their pants down Monday over the escalator cover up. It probably would have remained whitewashed had there not been an incident at L'Enfant.
But the question remains who will be held accountable for this abject lack of leadership and utter incompetence, both of which again drew blood from the riding public.
VTX's findings, combined with Metro's own inspections, affirm that one of the major factors of the state of Metro's escalators and elevators is a result of many years during which there has been a lack of adherence to Metro's own maintenance standards. Metro will continue its focused work until all 588 of the system's escalators and 275 elevators meet the agency's maintenance standards.
The report identifies escalator brake issues among several maintenance issues to be addressed by the agency. Mr. Sarles acknowledged today (Nov. 10) that, while escalator brakes were being addressed as a maintenance issue, greater emphasis should have been placed on brakes as a safety matter and elevated to the Board's attention sooner.
The subjects were observed at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station, Orange Line platform videotaping features of the station and operations of the train. Once aboard an Orange Line train to Vienna they videotaped how patrons oriented themselves within the metro rail car.Here's what Metro has to say about it:
The subjects were attempting to videotape inconspicuously, by holding the camera at their side, between their chest and waist. If you come into contact with these individuals, please stop and identify, and call the Metro Transit Police Department Communications Division at (202) 962-2121
The Metro Transit Police are following up on a report of suspicious behavior reported by a Metro rider last week. As part of the routine follow-up, Transit Police issued a notice to all of its officers to be on the lookout for two individuals who were observed videotaping in Metrorail stations and on trains.
The rider observed the men filming portions of the stations and trains, as well as riders at the L’Enfant Plaza Metrorail station platform and on an Orange Line train to Vienna last week. The men, according to the citizen report, were trying to be inconspicuous, holding the cameras at their sides. The rider was able to photograph the men who were videotaping and sent the photo to the Transit Police.
Based on the photograph and the information received by the citizen, the Transit Police have no reason to suspect the individuals in question about anything specific. The Metro Transit Police did, however, issue the “be on the lookout for” notice, a standard tactic used by police departments to share information with their officers. The notice advises officers to call the Metro Transit Police Communications or Criminal Investigation divisions if they see the individuals.
The Transit Police notice was meant for an internal audience only and was not intended to be a public notice. The incident was not meant to be elevated to a public alert level and was not meant to alarm anyone.
We applaud our customer’s efforts in bringing this matter to our attention and we encourage all customers to report anything suspicious to the Metro Transit Police Department.
Have any of your readers mentioned that the buses are now screaming “PEDESTRIANS, BUS IS TURNING” and then again in Spanish? It’s so loud it wakes me at night and can be heard for blocks and blocks around.Metro confirms this is part of a pilot program.
Why not just put a continuous fire siren on top of them?
Here’s a video of the X8 bus. Note how you can hear it even on a cell phone video from before you can see it to over a block away. I actually followed this bus around Stanton Park and up Maryland Avenue NE until it got to the H Street intersection. It blasts this annoying message at every corner of the park, every time it turns and every time it stops to pick up/let off passengers. This in a somewhat quiet neighborhood. All night.
Obvious signs of conditions requiring immediate maintenance/service address are being overlooked. Some examples witnessed during our assessments of the elevators and escalators include but are not limited to the following:The draft document, which was accepted as the final, according to a Metro source, is dated Sept. 30, a full month before the L'Enfant incident.
- Major amounts of oil and lubricant on step treads and risers. Symptomatic of major leak at drive motor / reducer coupling. (scary)
- Significant accumulation of metal shavings around hand rail newel areas from worn newel wheels.
- Brake pads worn beyond usable life expectancy and out of adjustment allowing unit to freewheel to stop.
- Numerous switches in safety circuits were dirty, out of adjustment, and ineffective. (scary)
- Skirt panels were adjusted too tightly to the steps, creating metal shavings along the step roller tracks in the interior of the unit.
- Hoist ropes severely rouged [corroded] and worn beyond acceptable life expectancy. (scary)
- Sheet plastic being used to protect equipment from water intrusion. This is a critical life safety issue.
I'd say once every ten days, I see a bike that has had parts stolen. Sometimes, there will just be a broken lock where a bike used to be at the New York Ave./Florida Ave. Metro. In the above photo, someone had their back wheel stolen.And a tweet from yesterday:
I lock my bike up here every day with two locks. Still, I feel lucky when I see it in place each day.
It's even more concerning because the station manager is about 30 feet from the bike racks.
@IMGoph multiple bikes had parts stolen at the NY ave station tonight (including mine) IT IS NOT SAFE TO PARK THERE. #WMATA DOES NOT CARETake a look at recent vandalism at the Anacostia station bike lockers.
On the morning of Oct. 26, when I entered the Woodley Park Metro, the long (204') escalators were not working. One broken side escalator was blocked off and the other two were completely stopped.
There was some sort of security officer standing at the top with a walkie-talkie, explaining to concerned tourists that yes, the stopped escalators were not working and they would have to walk.
I started jogging down the middle escalator.
Other people were hiking up both escalators.
Suddenly, a genius Metro employee who was standing at the bottom of the escalators --- without any warning --- pressed a button and the stopped escalators started moving.
Everyone was thrown off balance, but fortunately, no one fell. Several exiting passengers had made it part way up the middle escalator, which (surprise!) was now going down.
WHY wouldn't the Metro employee, as he watched people walk right past him up the middle escalator, remark, "I am about to turn this on; that escalator will be going down, please walk on the left"?
What is the role of the security officer if not to warn people that the escalator might start at any moment?