Monday, May 16, 2011

Sarles Talks 7000-series Cars, Farragut Virtual Tunnel, Changing Fare System

At a May 12 speech before the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, Metro GM Richard Sarles elaborated on several issues of interest to DC commuters.

At the 9:06 point, he talks about the coming 7000-series cars, which he promises will be the "best cars in the U.S., I guarantee you."

Along with automated, audible announcements, there will be lighted signage that tells you the next station. Thought we already had that.

Just please, please don't upholster the seats or keep anything resembling the current seating configuration, Mr. Sarles.

At the 11:20 mark, he talks about the possibility of a new fare collection system and a simplified fare scheme, though he offers no specifics other than to say his grandchildren laughed at him trying to figure out the current fare system.

At 17:42, he talks, again vaguely, about improvements to Union Station, mentioning also that 12 stations will be improved--at least given better lighting--annually.

At 18:22, he says the Farragut "virtual tunnel," which will allow people to transfer between the two Farraguts without paying exit and re-entry fare, will be in place this fall.

At 18:48, he says there's currently no proposal to close Metro early on weekends, but he does say that there might be periodic early closings so that work can be done to keep the system in a "state of good repair."

At 20:35, he looks 15-20 years into the future when it is predicted that ridership will be at inauguration levels every day. He says currently there's no money to improve the power supply so that every train in the system can be an 8-car train.

He adds that in the medium term, work can be done to enhance the bus system to take some of the pressure off the rails. He says the buses can carry a lot more people, especially if the planning of routes is approached differently, including dedicated bus lanes and paying fares off the bus, like with Metro rail.

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