Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How Does Metro Handle the Unexpected?

Did anyone else find Metro's response to the struck passenger accident on Monday inadequate?

From Meg:
While cooling my heels in a restaurant nearby Van Ness Metro, after being forced to offload and exit the station, I was the one who tweeted the "Formula" that might be used if Metro were to grant a zero-fare exit when they require it: =IF[(mandatory_offload = "yes") THEN (fare_charged = 0)] (or something like that).

Listen. I understand that stuff happens that is beyond Metro's control. I understand that Monday's man vs. train happened at the worst possible hour. I have few complaints about Red Line service - it's mostly reliable during the hours I travel. I believe the mess on the platform at Farragut North is all for the greater good and have patience when I have to pass through those very narrow areas next to the platform. I don't grouse when I have to carry my wheelie-bag down the escalators.

That said, it seems to me that if they're going to offload a train and require passengers to hop on a "shuttle bus" (placed in parentheses because I saw neither said bus nor any attempt at crowd control when I emerged from the station), they shouldn't charge you to exit. I assume they don't charge on the bus bridge - but I don't know as I've never taken one. I understand they can't just open the gates, they have to track your card, but would it be so hard to program a rule for a certain station within certain hours that those exiting are noted as exited and charged $0?

My other concern was that the best info I was getting Monday was via Twitter, and not @wmata either. The news sources had their facts confused, too. Some said single-tracking was occurring. Some said stations were all closed. Some said the bus bridge was between Van Ness and Bethesda, others said Medical Center (which made no sense). I finally decided to enter the station about 30 minutes after another rider posted a twitpic of the super-crowded platform at Van Ness. It was as if the whole thing never happened except that I got home at 8:10 instead of 6:10.
From Anna:
After the man was hit at Friendship Heights Monday, at about 5 p.m., a large crowd (maybe 30-50) formed at the bus stop outside the Tenleytown station, on the side by Wisconsin Ave.

From talking with different people, I learned the Friendship Heights was closed, and there was supposedly shuttle bus service towards Friendship Heights and Van Ness.

Well, there were a few buses going toward Bethesda, but none going downtown.

Plenty--at least 3--out of service buses went that way, though!

Van Ness is a mile away, and it was over 100 today. So, rush hour was spent on a dangerously overcrowded bus as people piled on the regularly scheduled 36 get to Foggy Bottom.

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