Thursday, January 6, 2011

Potty Post No. 2: Pooprise

A former Metro operator wrote in with a grateful note for bringing the toilet issue to light. According to them, there's hostility directed at operators who ask for "personal" breaks, which might include going to the bathroom.
Sometimes, Central Control tries to intimidate operators by asking their name over the [radio] when they call for a bathroom break on the train. This may be recorded to see if you continually ask for a personal break. One operator I knew asked for a personal break daily because he took medication.

This is an intimidation method to deter train operators from asking for personal bathroom breaks.
But according to one purported Metro insider, it's not always a lack of time that leads to tunnel abuse. The below is from the blog, allegedly written by a retired Metro worker with 27 years experience. Warning: It's not good mealtime reading.

Case in point – after years of effort we were finally able to convince management to install an incinerating toilet within about 150 feet of where the inbound end of a train in the pocket track would be. It can be seen from the platform end gate (outbound end, outbound track). Some operators still used the pocket track as their personal toilet. I got so disgusted that I used some fluorescent orange spray paint to write “Bathroom – 150 Feet >” on the tunnel wall. My “sign” was removed but the problem continued.

I even considered buying one or two of those fake surveillance cameras and installing them in the pocket but never did.

At one point, after we had complained to the superintendent of A99 about the unsanitary working conditions, my coworkers found some newspaper stuffed into one of the “block boxes” at A11. [A block box is a red steel box with a Plexiglass front that is used to store equipment to mechanically operate and lock track switches in the event of a failure – so that trains can continue to move safely until ATC is given permission to work on them]. The ATC techs assumed that someone had just stuffed the newspaper in there to prevent it from blowing around and had meant to return and remove it. It turned out that a disgruntled operator had defecated near our switches, wiped his/her ass with the newspaper, and then stuffed it into the block box for my coworkers to find – and unknowingly remove with their bare hands.

Yep, that’s the union brotherhood/sisterhood you hear so much about.
Other items:
January night maintenance schedule (WMATA)
January weekend maintenance schedule (WMATA)
Man indicted in Metro bomb plot (WaPo)
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