With each Metro screw up, I get several emails saying we need to boycott Metro, and yesterday's "minor derailment" makes me think it's time to do something.
For almost three and a half years, I, along with many of you, have been publicly (and rightfully) shaming a "transit system" gone totally amok. Over and over again, the same stories gush out of Metro: more accidents, more waste, more theft, more obfuscation, more marketing, less reliable service, less safety and higher and higher fares.
And the cherry on top of this whole sh*t sundae is that no one--from the top to the bottom--is ever held accountable.
Nothing changes other than the fares.
The Board, which ostensibly is supposed to oversee Metro, has abrogated its responsibility and, like a junkie (and most of the media in this town), is totally dependent on Metro staff for all of its information.
This little nugget in a recent Washington Times article illustrates just how hoodwinked we all are about the Board's oversight role and why I'm pessimistic about real change.
Metro Board of Directors determines agency policy and provides oversight for its funding, operation and expansion, but its members declined over the past two weeks to discuss the series' findings, instead referring inquiries to Mr. Sarles or to Metro’s public affairs office.Say what?
That's not the way it's supposed to work.
Here's what Metro's website says about the Board's role:
The Metro Board of Directors determines agency policy and provides oversight for the funding, operation, and expansion of transit facilities within the Transit Zone.Seems like Metro has its governing board wrapped around its finger.
Are there other groups that might offer hope? The NTSB? Nope. TOC? Nope. FRA? Nope.
As one retired Metro worker says, it's like Metro is a 51st state, with its own rules, answering to no one.
It's all the more frustrating when Sen. Barbara Mikulski from Maryland, someone the media calls, one of "Metro's toughest critics," praises Metro's leadership for bringing a "new day" when we all know it has been business as usual at Metro ever since the New Jersey regime took over.
No one who can effect change is listening to us.
So what can we do?
You could sign a well-intentioned petition. But if nearly three years of constant shaming doesn't make a difference in how Metro operates, I don't think a petition will either. Still, sign it. What the hell, right?
A one-day boycott is an option many throw out there, but I'm not sure it's the right way to go. I'm not sure it's wrong, either.
Mass fare evasion is another idea some have offered up, but I see a lot of downside to that as well.
Many said they'd toss in a few bucks to buy an ad on Metro that would humiliate them, but Metro is immune to shame. They have none.
Frankly, I think we need to do something, but I've thought a lot about it, and I'm stumped about what the best course of action would be.
What could we do to attempt to force the fundamental change that's needed at Metro and the way it is governed before someone else dies under a morally and financially bankrupt system?
Share your ideas in the comments, and let's come up with a plan.
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