Thursday, March 10, 2011

Miserable even by Metro Standards

From CS:
The scheduled time on Metrorail from Van Ness-UDC to Vienna/Fairfax is 46 minutes. Here’s how the Ms.’s hour-and-forty-five minute commute went on Friday, in a tale that stands out even by what have become Metro’s woeful service standards.

Red Line, Van Ness: Bad start – 10 minute wait for train shortly before 6 p.m. Inexcusable on a Friday night during peak-of-the-peak. Train already menacingly crowded.

Sick passenger #1: What appeared to be a sick passenger at DuPont Circle caused train to hold six or seven more minutes. With the delays, train even more jammed, and driver had repeated trouble closing the doors.

Offload #1: Mob scene at Farragut North. Doors won’t close. “I’ve had enough!” train operator declares, ordering offload.

Desperation (actually, survival) move: Fearful of even worse mob scene at Metro Center, with likelihood of waiting several trains before successfully transferring to the Orange Line, the Ms. dumps the Red Line, leaving Farragut North and walking over to Farragut West. (Without paying extra fare, if you’re curious; fed up, the Ms. passed through those swinging, non-fare gates at each station. Paying for the privilege of having to hoof it seemed crazy.)

Next problem: Track circuit failure on the Orange Line near Ballston. Trains slow to a crawl and hold in stations for lengthy periods.

Sick passenger #2: Amidst the tumult, woman faints in car. More delay.

Offload #2: Train offloaded at West Falls Church.

Capping it off: Creep-and-crawl into Vienna, where stacked-up trains delay arrivals at end of the line.

Well, there’s an hour of the Ms.’s life she’ll never get back. Just another deposit into the great Metro Time Sink Bank.

Meanwhile, I’m afraid it’s time to call out certain Caps fans. Don’t mean to tar all with the same brush, but on Caps nights, when fans jam the inbound Red Line from Shady Grove, the red-jerseyed masses routinely overcrowd trains and cause offloadings. Caps fans plainly contributed to Friday’s problems. Yes, the train doors are terrible, and that’s a big part of the issue. But some fans’ behavior, in prying and holding doors open, and thinking it’s funny, is part of the problem, too. One time earlier in the season, Caps fans managed to take successive trains out of service during rush hour. Time to face up that some fans need to grow up – it’s not always about you.
Other items:
London Underground offers refunds for delays longer than 15 minutes (BBC)
Pipe design flaw could make it harder to extinguish tunnel fires (Examiner)
Fight reported at Glenmont Metro (WaPo)
Metro removing asbestos from Farragut N. and Union Sta. (Examiner)
Duh (WaP)
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