Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nats/Metro Stories don't Add Up

Yes, the Nats should fork over what basically amounts to pocket change to keep the Metro open for their fans, but Metro is not exactly playing ball with their customers either, according to Eric:
I don't know why they're not telling the truth, but just wanted to tell you that the Nats and/or Metro is not telling the truth about the times of the last train leaving Navy Yard.

Two pieces of evidence: The Metro website says the last train leaves Navy Yard for Greenbelt at 11:39 but has "no Red Line transfer."

But that's impossible, since the last train leaves Gallery Place, the Red Line transfer station, for Shady Grove at 12:02 and Glenmont at 12:08.

The ride from Navy Yard to Gallery Place is eight minutes.

The math doesn't add up.

There definitely is another train that leaves after the 11:20 train that they are telling fans to take, and it should transfer to the Red Line.

Even more evidence that there's something going on: If you look at all the Green Line stations after Navy Yard (toward Branch Avenue), they all say that the last train to Greenbelt leaves later, 11:24 from Branch Avenue, 11:37 from Congress Heights, etc. And unlike when the last train is listed for Navy Yard and Waterfront, it doesn't say that there is "no Red Line transfer."

Odd, isn't it, that there's no warning about not being to transfer to the Red Line from the Green Line on the last train if you get on farther up the line, but if you get on at the Ballpark, all of a sudden you can't transfer (or Metro is just really screwing with their customers.)

Of course you can transfer--it just seems that Metro doesn't want to possibly not be able to fit everyone on the last train, or they're lazy, or something--but they're not telling the truth.

Personally, I feel that this is on the Lerners--Leonis, Snyder and various organizations in town being willing to pay if they want to keep the train open.

Only the Nats owners are apparently too cheap--or just don't care enough about the fans--to keep the Metro open on the rare night that something like this happens.

But I still am puzzled by why Metro/the Nats are telling people to leave 20 minutes earlier than they really have to.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Station Manager Indifferent After Alleged Assault


From John:
On Sunday at 1:45 p.m. at Waterfront Metro, while waiting for the Green Line toward Chinatown, I was assaulted.

I was leaning against the rail at the bottom of the stairs waiting for my train when all of a sudden I got sucker punched from the back on my right temple.

My glasses flew off my face. My vision is really bad without my glasses, so the first thing I thought was to find them.

I was looking around for them on the ground while three people casually and slowly walked up the stairs, sort of trying to gauge what my response was going to be.

I found my glasses halfway up the stairs, so the person who assaulted me must have grabbed them in the same punch and threw them. The three were chuckling to themselves and then hurried up the rest of the stairs.

They didn't try to steal anything. Not sure what the hell they were thinking. Maybe they were just bored and wanted a laugh.

The three were Waterfront area black kids, in their late teens or early twenties. One of them was wearing a white t-shirt that was a Southwest crew/gang shirt.

I went to the station manager and told her I just got assaulted by the kids who just walked by her and that I didn't know if they left the station or went back downstairs on the other side.

All the manager said was "Oh yeah, they just hopped the gate."

She did not give a flying f*ck what happened.

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)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Add 48 Minutes to your Commute--in the Parking Garage

Via @dcmetrosucks: @wmata @fairfaxpolice almost 30 min and we are still not moving at south Vienna park garage

Apparently, Metro has been taking riders hostage in the Vienna parking lot for the past couple days.

From Aubrey:
The newest parking garage at Vienna was an absolute madhouse yesterday. After work, I walked to the parking garage and up to my car. As I left the stairwell, I noticed a long line of cars winding up the entire structure. They were not moving slowly, they were not moving at all.

I got in my car and patiently waited in my spot. Fifteen minutes passed, then 20 then 35.

At this point I had not even been able to move out of my spot, and the line of cars in front of me had moved a grand total of one car-length.

I called customer service. The first number I called rang for about three minutes straight I let it ring – nothing.

Back to the drawing board. I looked up and found the number to the administrative office. Someone picked up, and I politely asked for someone I could talk to that had any leverage at the Vienna station. I was given a number and called parking. The woman who picked up there was uncooperative from the get-go. I always like to remain as calm and pleasant in these situations as humanly possible, because people are more apt work with you.

I began by telling her what was going on and recommended someone take a look at it. Obviously, she hadn’t listened to a word I had said because she replied “Well, have you tried holding your card to the target again?”

It took me a couple of moments to process this response to which I replied “Oh no, ma’am, I think you misunderstood me. I haven’t even been able to get out of my parking spot, much less down to the turnstile.”

Again, apparently not trying to process what I said, she asked “well, what’s the problem?”

I was starting to get annoyed, but didn't want to show it.

I replied “I honestly have no idea, as I said, I can’t even get down there to check it out.”

She responded with “Well no one has called in with a problem, and if I don’t know what it is, I don’t even know that it’s a Metro problem.”

I told her “I’m surprised that this is the first you are hearing, but I’m sitting in the middle of it, and I can assure you there is definitely a problem!”

This is where I started getting really frustrated. She said “Well there is nothing I can do if I don’t know what the problem is.”

I asked her “Can’t you call and send someone from Metro over there to check it out? There is definitely a problem, and there are a lot of angry people in here." (I'm thinking she must hear the horns blasting in the background at this point.)

She rudely argued back and forth a couple times saying that there was nothing she could do, while the tone of her voice sounded much more like “there is nothing I feel like doing to help you.”

Finally, very obviously irritated, she said “Ugh, I’ll call the attendant” and hung up the phone.

By time I got out of there, I saw two attendants working on the SmarTrip targets. My entire wait was 48 minutes.

Metro – this was the last straw. I’m not paying for this kind of service/customer service any longer. You just put one more car on the already crowded roads during rush hour.
From Eric:
Second day in a row there was only one working exit booth for the entire garage. One exit is shut for construction so we were down to two exit booths, but now it is one.

Useless lady refused to call her supervisor and told me to.

Another guy was a little more convincing, and the arm is now raised. Traffic is backed up to the roof.

Other items:
Metro refuses to share "mystery rider" program details which YOU paid for (Examiner)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

99+ Problems

Update: Here's a post comparing problems between May 2008 and May 2010.

Thanks to FixWMATA for letting me cross-post.
WMATA provides a Daily Service Report (HERE) that tells a story of all of the problems their trains experienced each day. I went through July’s reports (July 1 – July 31) and tabulated the data. Here is what I found (the larger numbers):

120 WMATA trains experienced “brake problems” in July.

90 WMATA trains simply “did not operate” in July.

83 WMATA trains experienced a “door problem” in July.

63 WMATA trains experienced an “equipment problem” in July.

63 WMATA trains had their schedule or route adjusted (ie “expressed”) in July.

40 WMATA trains experienced an “operational problem” in July.

31 WMATA trains experienced a “signal problem” in July.

21 WMATA trains experienced a “sick customer” in July.

10 WMATA trains were delayed due to “police activity” (including suspicious bags) in July.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Riders Reportedly Injured as Escalator Breaks

Photos via Kate

Update 2 from another escalator expert:
What came loose is considered the decking. The decking should be secured by screws to prevent this type of accident. I do not know if this unit was serviced shortly before this accident or not.
Update from a source very familiar with escalators:

Sounds like someone didn't put screws in it.

First off there should not be jagged edges or gaps on an escalator for a bag or clothing to catch. Second, the decking is supposed to be screwed down.

It's too bad more people had to get hurt.
Some other good photos here and here.

Monday, August 6, 2012


August is a slow month. A lot of my sources are on vacation, so I'm going to take a little time off myself.

I'll still be on Twitter, Facebook and if (when) there's some major news, I'll be back.

As always, your submissions are encouraged: unsuckdcmetro(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Other items:
OT galore (Examiner)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fleecing or 'Fraud Prevention?'

Photo via Flickr

From anonymous:
Attempted to get a refund for three defective Metro train cards totaling around $17, which can only be done at the Metro sales office at Metro Center.

The sales person told me they can only refund one defective card per person per day.

I stated that I don't live near Metro Center, rarely come through and had to make a special trip to get my money today.

TOO BAD she said. So now I have to pay to ride to Metro center to get a refund for bad cards, two more days. So ridiculous.
Metro says the reason for the policy is:
Note that to prevent fraud, customers may exchange only one farecard per day.
What do you think? Is this a way for Metro to keep their money or to prevent fraud?

Other items:
This is a "possible" door opening (Examiner)
Dulles Rail board denounced as dysfunctional (Examiner)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Setting the Tone?

Click for larger

The above was posted on the ATU Local 689 Facebook page and has been there for days. No one, including union president Jackie Jeter, who is active on the page, has flagged it.

I hope it's not representative of the tone the union is bringing to the negotiating table as it attempts to iron out a new contract with Metro.

Other items:
Fairfax OKs Columbia Pike streetcar (Examiner)
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Site Meter