Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lurching: a Created Danger?

This happens all the time. I've seen people fall, nearly fall and one woman get slammed into a pole.

I'd say the operator announces an impending lurch about one out of five times.

What have you experienced?

From M.:
The other day, I was on an Orange Line train toward New Carrollton, heading to work. The train stopped at Farragut West, and everyone started making a move for the door. This is where a lot of people get off.

Out of nowhere and without warning, the train suddenly jumped forward, throwing people against one another. One poor older woman fell hard to the floor as the contents of her bags scattered all over the place.

People were stunned and trying frantically to grab onto anything.

Then the doors opened, and we all did a double take and those who were getting off did.

The woman who fell looked completely scared, and a kindly man offered her a seat.

I don't think she was injured, but still.

The train couldn't have moved more than a foot or two.

For what?
From JC:
I wrote Metro Customer Service this morning because my girlfriend nearly smashed her face into a pole because the train lurched forward again after it came to a complete stop - after we got up.

I think they're missing my point (especially since they didn't address my point in their response below) that stopping and then lurching is far more dangerous than just being off their stop mark by a few feet.

This is a perfect example of bureaucracy placing an arbitrary rule above common sense.

They should just teach drivers (or have drivers skilled enough) to stop within a few feet (give or take) of the mark, and if they're within that zone, just stay there. I can see if they miss it by twelve feet, but having a train begin to move beneath your feet as you begin to stand and move is REALLY dangerous.

It's very real danger they've CREATED. I'm not sure what freak accident they're avoiding by pulling up that extra three feet avoids, but I'm sure the chances of it are minuscule.

Instead, Metro is putting riders at risk of injury every day.
Metro's response to JW:
Thank you for contacting WMATA's Rail Transportation Customer Service Department and sharing your Metrorail experience with us. Metro sincerely regrets the negative experience you have encountered while riding our rail system. Your complaint has been registered and made available for review. Due to trains being manually operated the rail operators must pull both six and eight car trains to the front of the platform to ensure they are birthed properly at the same time, our operators are instructed to ensure the safety of passengers at all times. It is our procedure that rail operators make an announcement to the passengers that the train will move. We are listening to our customers and will continue to strive to provide reliable service. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us as your comments help us to identify where additional improvements are needed.
I've written about this issue before. Basically, the operators are afraid of getting dinged for being off a few feet, so they inch the train up. The Tri-state Oversight Committee offered their take, but after being jolted many times by trains inching up, I'm not sure the means justify the ends.

Other items:
Bravo! Metro opens emergency door, Stessel masterful as ever (Examiner)
Aiports authority drops labor agreement for Silver Line (WaPo)
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