Monday, August 20, 2012

Band-Aid Approach

On August 14, the Tri-State Oversight Committee (TOC), basically the Riders Advisory Council of "oversight," provided an update on a spate of recent "troubling" events with Metro, including the following:
  • Doors opening off-platform (both confirmed and unconfirmed instances)
  • Escalator safety, including August 7, 2012 trip and fall accident
  • July 14, 2012 Rail Operations Control Center (ROCC) power outage
  • The July 6, 2012 Green Line train derailment attributed to “heat kink”
  • The July 3, 2012 self-evacuation of passengers from a stalled train, partially attributed to a loss of power from Pepco and the severe weather that plagued the Metro region.
  • Four instances of the loss of friction rings (brake discs) from Metro trains from December 2011 through June 2012
  • The May 29th striking of a WMATA employee by a train at Shady Grove Yard

While the TOC said Metro is "committed to addressing these critical safety-related issues," it also added the following:

While TOC does not directly investigate incidents or implement corrective actions, it does maintain the authority to reject WMATA’s factual conclusions and proposed reactions when the agency has not sufficiently addressed all potential root causes or areas of concern. With respect to the incidents listed above, this step has yet to be taken. TOC will continue to work with WMATA to monitor these cases to a final resolution.

The overall language is couched, but those last two lines certainly would seem to point to Metro inaction regarding bringing several serious incidents to closure. It would appear that the TOC is giving Metro a warning shot, telling them to fully address these incidents or face ... I'm not sure. Perhaps the Metro would like to clear these items off its to do list before the impending FTA audit.

According to several Metro sources, addressing root problems is never a priority. The goal is to get the immediate problem fixed as quickly as possible, check the box as "done," and move on without regard to any potential systemic issues that might be causing the problems.

"I spend most of my time putting on Band-Aids so the trains can keep moving," said a Metro source in the crucial Automatic Train Control department. "No one is looking at the big picture about why there are so many f*ck ups, and if you bring it up, you get slapped down."

Other items:

RushPlus a minus for some Orange Line riders (Examiner)

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