Thursday, January 31, 2013

How Long Would You Wait Before 'Self-Evacuating?'

Via @mrblackwealth: Stuck in the tunnel on metro power went out, it's so hot the metal sweating.

A smoking arcing insulator set off a perfect storm of Metro fail last night, leaving hundreds stuck on trains underground and thousands stranded up and down the Green Line and near pandemonium at NavyYard.

A Metro source tells me Metro's insulators have been poorly maintained and have accumulated a coating of dirt and dust. This, they say allows them to conduct electricity, which leads to ugly smoking.

While there are differing reports about how long riders were stuck, the conditions inside the stuck train(s) sounded pretty atrocious according to several tweeps.

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said riders "self evacuated" from at least one train and that this added to the delays. He has said this before only to be called on it.

Some tweets cast some doubt on the self evacuation story.

But even if Stessel was telling the truth, Metro's reaction to the crowds gathering at Navy Yard left much to be desired.

Of course Metro communication was a major failure with numerous riders saying no information was available to those stuck on the trains or the masses of people waiting for Metro's anemic attempt to get shuttle service started. Of course, the failure started at the top.

The worst aspect of this whole thing? To me it's that there was a similar incident in July, and Metro promised its board of directors it would do better. It most certainly did not.

All of this begs the question:

Other items:
MTPD behaving badly (City Paper)
Wapo Green Line story

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rolling the Safety Dice on Escalators Again?

Illustration from this event. Photo via Kate

It looks like Metro has been rolling the safety dice again, this time apparently letting three escalators at the Pentagon operate for months despite being overdue for critical annual inspections, according to a source in Metro's elevator and escalator department.

The source provided an email they say is from Metro's supervisor of inspectors to their boss,  the director of the department, the department's number two and several other top people in the department.

The email, which is dated Oct. 2, 2012,  lists the three escalators in question and shows the dates they were last inspected. One unit's inspection expired Oct. 19, of last year, another on Nov. 8, and the third on Nov. 28, according to the email. The escalators are scheduled to be replaced starting Feb. 4.

The email reads:
Here are the last annual inspection dates for the 3 units at Pentagon.
XXX and I spoke and we will stay away from these units.
Inspectors have been made aware not to inspect these units as well. 
The source said that in addition to forgoing an inspection, routine maintenance has not been done. Neither of these practices would be allowed in the private sector, they said.

The source said they would not let any loved one ride those escalators,  saying the brakes are not properly torqued, and they are constantly leaking brake fluid.

If this sounds familiar, remember that back in 2010, after the Rally for Sanity event, an escalator at L'Enfant Plaza went into free fall because the braking system failed. It was later revealed on this blog that Metro knew of the problem and did nothing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Doors Closing: More Metro Extortion

Illustration. Via @monicaarpino Nothing like the breeze of open metro doors - while moving. Red line b/n Van Ness & Tenleytown. @unsuckdcmetro

 From CS:
Anyone who rides Metro knows the numerous issues Metro has with its subway doors. They are forever getting jammed, stuck, or otherwise disabled, throwing trains out of service and delaying untold thousands of people. On a crowded train, the moment of greatest anxiety comes when the door-closing chime sounds, and hundreds of riders catch their breath. Did that door sound funny while closing? How many times will the operator try closing the doors before giving up?

With an automatic system out of service, the doors also open on the wrong side of trains and in tunnels outside stations – is it malfunction or operator error? The doors even open sometimes when trains are hurtling along the tracks. Fortunately, no one has been killed yet.

There can be little doubt the doors are one of the main causes of Metro’s poor service reliability, and that they raise serious concerns about safety, too.

What does Metro think of the door problems? 
First, that there’s nothing urgent about them, and what information that needs to be public is already out there.
Second, that if riders understood why the car doors are so dreadful, that wouldn’t do anything to boost public understanding of Metro operations. 
However, the agency will deign to take a look and see if it can find information it might consider releasing – for $28,066.15.

That’s all according to a recent Metro ruling on a public information request UnsuckDCMetro filed with the agency. Although Metro policy calls for handling requests within 20 working days, the agency took a week shy of two-and-a-half years to deliver its decision. This follows a similar years-in-the-making ruling on another Unsuck request, on the safety of “bellying” older railcars in the middle of trains. For that request, the agency said it would release information for the bargain price of $1,818.

Given the deplorable performance of the doors, Unsuck’s specific request was for:

1. Any reports, studies, summaries, analyses or other records dealing with instances in which door problems have adversely affected regularly scheduled rail service. (Summary material only; for example, not any records dealing with only a single instance of a door problem.)

2. Records dealing with problems associated with Metro’s automatic door system, problems with which culminated in an April 2008 directive that train operators operate doors manually.

Unsuck is unfortunately well familiar with the games public officials play in order to justify withholding information from the public they ostensibly serve. Even by those standards, however, Metro’s response to the door request doesn’t pass the laugh test. Put another way, it’s our experience that some agencies can be clever as they seek to shut out the public. Metro isn’t one of them.

As a result, we’ll add the door request to the railcar bellying request, and ask Metro directors to use their oversight authority to obtain on our behalf the information sought in our requests. If anyone on the board has the chops to stand up to the staff that they’re supposed to be directing (and not the other way around), we’ll make the information publicly available here. (Unsuck also has a third request pending.)

Finally, it’s not clear whether it was intentional or not, but one particular part of the agency’s response to the door request stands out. Metro said it would take 249 hours of staff time to retrieve and review records before release.

If that’s true, and it really takes Metro the equivalent of more than six weeks of work time to scour about for information on door problems, then things are even worse than we thought.

 P.S. – We know that some have suggested trying to collect enough money to pay Metro’s demands. First, that’s a lot of money. But more importantly, all that does is enable them.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Is Metro Taking Sexual Harassment Seriously?


Update From Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS): 
Although these experiences shed light on how WMATA and the MTPD needs to improve in their response to sexual harassment and assault on the system, we strongly encourage bystanders and victims to report these crimes to WMATA and the MTPD. The more we take these crimes seriously, the more WMATA and the MTPD cannot ignore the complaints. Please report online and on the phone. If Transit Police don't respond, please inform CASSwith a tweet @SafeSpacesDC or sending them an email at 
 Please CC this blog as well please.

Metro's much ballyhooed efforts to curb sexual harassment got a lot of press, but it would appear there's still a lot of work to be done to live up to the hype.

From Laura who wrote the following to the Kojo Nnamdi show during Metro GM Richard Sarles' Jan. 14 appearance on the show:
I reported being groped at the Capitol Heights Metro station on Dec. 21. I contacted the Metro police, and they arrived 30 minutes later. I filed a report. About a week later, I received a phone call from an investigating officer who reviewed camera footage at the wrong time of day. The incident occurred at 8:10 p.m., but for some reason, the officer reviewed footage at 8:10 a.m. I told the officer this but have heard nothing since.

Here are my concerns:
Responding officers were only able to arrive by Metro car, which delayed response.
When officers are on the Metro train, they are sometimes completely incommunicado due to lack of radio coverage. That means an officer might be on his own on a car, without the ability to call for backup.
There appears to be a bureaucratic delay in reviewing camera footage.
Signs on Metro cars give a false sense of security that groping and inappropriate behavior will be dealt with.
On the air, Sarles reassured her that something would be done.

It took a further nine days--until Jan. 23--before anyone got back to Laura. Now, more than a month has gone by since Laura was groped.

I asked Laura if it was fair to say it took Metro over a month to take this case seriously.

She said:
Yes. I think so. However, I don't at all fault any of the officers I've dealt with.

Based on the signs in the Metro cars, it looks like Metro leadership/marketing want to give the impression that they take groping seriously. But yet, they clearly don't have the resources to deal with it. The night of this incident, I think there was some type of shooting (I overheard it on the officers' radio), and that's certainly a higher priority. I don't think they have enough resources. But if women don't feel safe on the Metro, that's one more reason to drive instead.
For what it's worth, the perv in question was wearing a FedEx jacket - looked like it could have been an employee jacket. The whole groping thing happened right by a camera. 
Other items: 
Riders stranded for two hours (ABC7)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Reader Making Documentary About Post-Metro Life

Chad's previous post is one of the most read in the blog's history.
My name is Chad Wallace, you may remember reading a guest post I wrote on this blog in September 2011.  I wrote about how frustrated I had become taking the Metro to work everyday and never knowing if the constant delays, escalator outages, and other problems would prevent me from arriving to work on time -- not to mention the round trip price of my commute was costing me over $10 a day.

The main point of my post though was that I had discovered a way to avoid taking the Metro altogether.  A friend showed me how I could ride my bike from my apartment in Alexandria to the school I work at in NW D.C.

This literally changed my life.  I am proud to say that I have not taken the Metro to work for nearly two years.  I ride my bike every day, even when the weather is poor, because my only alternative (taking the Metro) is something I simply will not do out of principle.

I have chosen to not support Metro because of what I consider mismanagement of funds, terrible customer service, and a lack of transparency in just about all aspects of their operations which has resulted in a betrayal of the public's trust.  Boycotting the Metro was an important decision in my life, but it turned out to be only the beginning of my story.  

I am writing to you today to ask for your help.

I want to share my story on an even larger scale. For this reason, I have created a project on the website I am trying to raise a little bit of money to cover the costs of making a documentary. I hope to create a documentary that details how frustrating it was for me to commute to work by Metro, and how this motivated me to start cycling to work instead.

I believe I will be able to convey through this documentary the frustration I and many others have felt as they sit and wait on trains stopped for no apparent reason in between stations, discover an escalator or elevator is out of service, find out the price of their daily commute is yet again going to increase, and the countless variety of experiences with Metro personnel that are just too frustrating to convey through words alone.

My story, which I hope to share through this documentary, does progress from a story of frustration and disappointment to one of hope and perseverance.

When I cut the Metro out of my life and started biking to work, I started to get into better shape and became interested in cycling as a sport. This eventually led me to the sport of Triathlon, and I have now completed three Ironman Triathlons (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, 26.2 mile run, totaling 140.6 miles).

My documentary will consist of three parts: 1) How low my morale had sunk from enduring the frustrations of the Metro -- showing just how frustrating and problematic riding the Metro can be 2) How this frustration turned into a life-changing event which included developing an interest in the sports of cycling and Triathlon 3) Show my daily routine of training for Ironman Triathlons and even document my competition in my fourth Ironman Triathlon for the world to see.  As you can see, this story, which I am proud to share, all starts with what my life was like while I was riding the Metro to work. 

With your support, I can show the world exactly what it is like to ride the Metro day in and day out, and share my story of how I switched over to cycling as a means of transportation and how I became an endurance athlete. 
I believe my story is worth sharing, and I hope you will take just a few minutes to check out my project.  If you are able to support me, I promise you that no donation is too small.  There are rewards for donations of certain amounts, such as a copy of the finished documentary for $25, but even a donation of $1 will help me out tremendously.  Please do not hesitate to ask if you have questions about any aspect of this project or about my story.

Thank you for your time and support in helping me share a story that I know many of you can relate to.


Chad Wallace
Other items:
Good luck finding $26 billion (Examiner)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Elevator Inspector Pressured to Put Unsafe Elevator Back in Service


Update: I've gotten several emails asking, and the answer is no, the source was not the inspector. It sounds like the inspector should be commended in this case. 

The Dupont street-level elevator was recently deemed unsafe by an inspector, but on the same day the inspection was submitted, the supervisor of inspectors told the inspector to put the elevator back in service without any repairs being done, according to a source and documents leaked to this blog.

According to a Metro source, this happened because Metro employs its own inspectors, making them susceptible to pressure by unscrupulous management in what many experts say represents a conflict of interest.

On July 13, six, major--or C-ticket--problems with the elevator were found by the Metro inspector. According to a Metro elevator/escalator source, C-ticket items means the "equipment as unsafe and unusable."

The first four items concern the elevator's governor, a critical piece of safety equipment that, if working, would prevent a free fall, for example.

Below the C-ticket items, there were a further 22 L-ticket items cited by the inspector. The same source says those are "limited use ticket" items for "equipment [that] can be used but needs to be corrected within 30 days."

Some of them are frightening nonetheless, including improper wiring, a fire extinguisher that needs replacing and machine seals that need replacing.

Here's the full inspection report, according to a source:

After the inspection was submitted to Metro via email, the following exchange allegedly took place between Metro's inspector and the manager of inspections (their boss) over ensuing emails leaked to this blog. Here's a screenshot.

Manager of inspections: 
Make all items minor and RTS [Return to Service] ASAP Thanks
I can't do that, it pulls thru the governor. It does not go on safety. If you want to return it you can. But I in good judgment can not make it an L ticket item.
What happened next? (Remember, this was during the closure of Dupont South, adding to the pressure to keep the elevator in service.) 

According to the source, the manager simply found an "inspector that is either influenced by management or just doesn't care" who "went over and re-inspected it, and the elevator was returned to service."

This scenario would be highly unlikely in, say, an office building, where elevators are usually inspected by an outside, independent inspector.

The source added that the original inspector "knows their stuff" and would not have returned the elevator to service given the conditions found.

I showed this to another source who was not familiar with the specific case. They said "as I've told you many times, when Metro says safety first, they mean after expediency."

Given the daily breakdowns, I imagine this kind of thing happening on a massive scale--on the escalators, elevators, buses and trains.

Are the elevators just as screwed?

Other items:
Metro and Washington Post team up to give illusion Metro is doing something
Flat screens coming to bus stops, too (Examiner)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Here's that Metro Suicide Hotline Number

Via @nucgirl82: #wmata- preventing suicides by hiding the number behind Smarttrip machines. #smh

And remember, if you are in trouble on Metro, the number for transit police is 202 962 something something something something.

Other items:
More on the NextBus fiasco (Slate)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How'd Metro Do?

Via: @lizessley @wmata employee helping elderly woman down stopped escalator #Metro #inaug2013 

Inauguration is Metro's Christmas, New Year's, Chanukah and Kwanzaa all rolled into one day,  and it comes only once every four years.

Last time around, they moved a record number of people and gave themselves high marks. They reminded us about it for about three years.

This year, if early guestimates are to be believed, Metro carried about a third fewer people than 2009. (Some say it was 50 percent lower.) Knowing how Metro budgets, they likely anticipated double 2009 levels.

Twitter feedback was fairly mixed, and during a simultaneous signal problem on the Red Line,  a dead train on the Orange Line and several core stations being unexpectedly shut down, for a while there, Metro teetered on the brink of total meltdown.

Metro charged peak fares from 4 a.m. til 9 p.m., and in an informal poll of friends and coworkers yesterday, the most common reactions to that were "gouging" and "a racket." While they moved less people that $1 paper farecard surcharge will likely increase Metro's take.

Other items:
Examiner take on inauguration / Post take
Transit benefits retroactively restored (Examiner)

Friday, January 18, 2013

The First Annual Richard Sarles Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence

Update: A reader pointed out a HUGE omission in this post. Less than two weeks before the Red Line crash,  former Metro GM John Catoe was named best transit manager in the U.S.

 Yesterday, Metro announced that GM Richard Sarles had been among those honored by the National Safety Council as one of 2013's CEOs Who 'Get It,' and  are "recognized for dedication to safety excellence."

Considering 2013 is not even a month old and Metro has already had at least a wrong-side door opening, a derailment, a mega-meltdown on the Red Line that left platforms dangerously overcrowded, an absent station manager during a medical crisis, and numerous reports of smoke filling the stations, the timing of the award is, well, hilarious.

Obviously, none of the judges at the NSC ride Metro regularly (their HQ is in Illinois) because if they did, they'd realize safety is Metro's Lennay Kekua--a great sounding story that's purely imaginary. Every single Metro source I've talked to over the years tells me Metro practices safety when it's convenient.  When it's not convenient, all bets are off.

The NSC's award may have had some significance long ago, but by awarding Sarles, it's hard not to believe that the award has devolved into nothing but PR ludicrousness, a vanity award hollowed of any meaning.

Take 2010's winner, Boeing CEO James McNerney. People are now calling for his head after the company's global fleet of 787 Dreamliners, has been grounded for serious safety concerns. Hopefully, that's not a precursor for Metro and the 7000-series clunkers cars. The NSC curse anyone?

So to recap, Metro union boss Jackie Jeter bagged her hollow "champion of change" award from the White House, and Sarles is considered a safety leader from among all the thousands of CEOs in the country by an important sounding safety organization.

What's next on the Metro award front?

My bet is that foot-in-mouth maestro Dan Stessel will walk away with the 2013 Sexual Harassment Sensitivity Award. Any takers?

It all feels rigged. The B.S. infrastructure is strong, sturdy and loaded up with money while the real infrastructure is crumbling before our eyes.  Metro's just one example.

Other items:
Hope these are better than the new escalators at Dupont S. (WMATA)
Metro has greatly improved the bus maps (WMATA)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Where's the Station Manager?

 January 5, 2013. Via @bomble: Catching some zzzzs at #wmata Farragut north station. L street entrance. Garrett:

Hello Mr. Sarles,

I'd like to report a concerning incident that occurred today at the Bethesda Metro station related to station management and maintaining a continuous WMATA presence. On January 15, 2013 after arriving at the Bethesda station by train, shortly before 2 p.m., I witnessed a woman collapse next to a turnstile and briefly lose consciousness. 

Fortunately, there were about eight riders present and many stopped to assist her. One of these riders had some medical experience and busied himself with assessing the now conscious woman with questions and kept her mind off of what was clearly a serious medical emergency.  Another man quickly got on the phone with 911. Others ran up to the street to flag down a policeman. Someone punched the emergency button at the station manager's kiosk.

By about 2:10, four paramedics arrived and took charge of the situation, and by 2:15, the woman was heading off to Suburban Hospital. It was a quick response and couldn't have gone much smoother.

But there was one glaring absence in this whole process. We never saw the station manager on duty or any other WMATA employee. From roughly 1:55 to 2:20, when station manager Bradley returned (from where I do not know), there was no WMATA representative at the escalator exit to the Bethesda station.  Everything went as it should this time, but what if there were not a handful of unhurried passengers to help out? This young woman lost consciousness, was unable to walk, experienced debilitating pain, and was clearly scared. She was six feet from the kiosk where a manager should have been, and had she been alone, who knows how long it would have taken for her to get help.

I am unaware of your policies on lunch breaks or patrolling of stations. I do not know if station manager Bradley was on break or if someone else was supposed to be covering for her. I understand that there are costs to having people on duty at all times throughout the metro system, but medical emergencies happen. You must have staff present.

I reported this issue to a Metro customer service rep by phone and expect to hear back about this. I will happily provide any additional information you may require.

Other items:
7000-series cars: Expect delays (Examiner)
Why Metro apps suck (WaPo)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Metro Strikes Again in Massive Red Line Fail

 Via @dnunn82@wmata why does Gallery Place look like Inauguration is today?!??

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Another Metro Derailment

Metro sources confirm there was another train derailment in a further safety setback for the the troubled transit agency. The incident occurred Saturday on a non-passenger train at the New Carrollton rail yard and caused major damage.

Three sources confirm a train consisting of an unknown number of cars derailed and was dragged for some distance, causing damage to cars on the derailed train, cars on a train next to the derailed trail, as well as to the rails and wayside track equipment.

One source said the operator, instead of stopping after feeling the increased drag caused by the derailment, sped up making the problem worse.

Another source said that if the train consisted of eight cars, the operator would likely not notice the additional drag.

One source said the damages could be in excess of $7 million and another said "several million."

"As for the amount of damage, who knows for sure," said yet another source. "When you speak of body damage on two cars then that is where the bulk of the cost would be, along with making wayside repairs. That would mean running rails, cross ties, signals, switches, etc. It probably climbed up and over a switch point, so that switch might need replacing as well."  

There were no reported injuries.

In April, a Blue Line train derailed outside of Rosslyn,  and in July,  a Green Line train derailed near West Hyattsville.

Sarles Wants Your Pics

Sleepy sounding Metro GM Richard Sarles made a rare public appearance yesterday to recite rote answers to mostly softball questions on the Today Kojo Show.

During one highlight, Sarles invited riders to send him pictures of Metro employee wrongdoing. Of course he didn't provide an email address (, but it didn't take long for reader Brian to take Sarles up on the offer, CC'ing me.

If you do write the GM, I'd appreciate a  CC so we can see if anything gets done.

From Brian:
Hello Mr. Sarles,

Since you have asked to be alerted to what is happening in your system, I wanted to share with you two serious safety violations I saw committed by your Metrobus operators.

The first involves bus #2108 and is seen in the attached photo. This was taken on Jan. 14 at about 4:22 p.m. on 9th St. N. in Arlington (Ballston). The bus was left empty illegally parked and in front of fire hydrant. The driver was nowhere in sight, I even waited around a few minutes. The picture shows the no stopping or paking sign and the hydrant clearly.

The second incident occurred on Jan. 6 at 3:33 p.m. at  7th and F St. NW (Chinatown) and involved bus #4293. A fire truck was driving Code 3 (lights and sirens activated) down F St., and while 7th St. had a green light. All motorists stopped to let the firetruck through, as the law requires. However, your bus driver decided to cross the double-yellow line on 7th, drive the wrong way up 7th St., where he nearly hit the fire truck head on which was turning onto 7th St.

Mr. Sarles, I am ashamed to live in a city where a service as inefficient as yours operates, however, clear safety violations are just totally unacceptable. I've filed such complaints before through customer service, but nothing ever happens.
Your social media team, including chief spokesman Dan Stessel via @wmata, fails to respond. At first, they would say you did not provide enough information, and then when that is given, they just ignore you. Your customer service team does the same. How can you be proud to lead an organization where there is no accountability?

It is bad enough I do not feel safe riding Metrobus or rail, but the conduct of the operators listed above is reprehensible.

I expect an answer to this note and am happy to provide any more details. 

Other items: 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wrong Side Doors--Again

This post has been altered. The poster of the above tweet wanted their name removed.  I have replaced with a screen shot.

More from Sarah:
Friday evening,  I was riding the Green Line train to Greenbelt, when at 7:15 p.m. at L'Enfant Plaza the door nearest me (the back of train car 1285) opened on the wrong (left) side.

 I'm fairly confident that all doors on the train opened on the wrong side.

A young woman in my car of the train almost exited out of the incorrectly open door - a disastrous situation waiting to happen.

The operator must have realized the error (we certainly had some yelling in my car); the doors were closed, we held for a minute or two, and the doors were finally opened on the correct (right) side.

I wanted to share this experience with you because not only is this a major safety issue, but I simply don't like the fact that Metro put its customers in a potentially hazardous situation.
The wrong kind of openness
April Fools arrives early
Doors open on moving train

Other items:
Metro continues hiring boom (Examiner)
Metro discloses some Red Line crash payouts (WaPo)

Friday, January 11, 2013

'Champion of Change'

Metro union boss Jackie Jeter has been regaled with what appears to be quite an honor.

According to the award citation, she's a "dynamic leader" and someone who ensures "safe and affordable public transportation."

Who thought that?

Click here to find out.

Oh, and here's a choice Jeter quote from yesterday:
"Things have been happening on buses since Jesus was born."
Other items:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sexual Harassment Complaint Ignored

Photo via

This originally appeared on the Collective Action for Safe Spaces website . It is reproduced unedited.
I was riding home around 10 PM last November and was sitting two seats away from an end door on the right side of the car. Caddy-corner to me was a girl a little younger than myself, maybe 20. Across from her, at the end of the car where the random half-wall shows up on some of the older model cars, was an older man. Around the Silver Spring station I noticed that the man was in constant motion – not walking or standing, but he was just constantly moving and staring at me. I couldn’t figure out why until I finally realized that he was quickly rubbing his erect penis, which (due to the angle I was at, I could see) out and full-monty. I was shocked and disgusted.

I tried to take a photo of the man’s face with my phone (sneakily) but I was having phone problems. So, by Forest Glen, I got up and spoke to the girl and told her that there was a man staring and being totally disgusting, and that she should get up and walk to the other side of the car with me. She did, and I got off at Wheaton, the next stop. As soon as the doors opened, I sprinted to the front of the train. The operator saw me running and yelled at me to hurry, but he did wait for me. As soon as I was close enough I gave him the number of the car, the location of the offender, and as brief a description of the man’s activities as I could manage. I’d hoped that the operator could radio ahead to Glenmont and have some Metro cops waiting for them there. He said “I got it,” and the train rode off. It took a few minutes to get out of the tunnel (the Wheaton escalator is extremely long) but once I got to the top I told the station manager what had happened, just in case. She said “Okay, I’m sure they got it if you told the train operator.” No one requested to take my name or contact information. I went home.

A few days later, I tweeted to Metro asking if anything had happened as a result of my complaint. After a rude back and forth, at which point metro informed me “Ma’am I am not the police,” I called the Metro police, but no one had a clue as to what I was talking about. As far as anyone could tell, it had never been reported. I even checked the Metro crime beat when it came out the following month – no report of the crime I had reported, which means the train operator and the station manager didn’t do a thing about it. I don’t know what other options I had – no phone service, shoddy phone, no Metro police around. I told two Metro employees hoping that was the correct course of action. I was wrong.

I’d like to say this sort of thing is an isolated incident, but it is in fact only the worst of the three sexual harassment experiences I have had in the three years of riding Metro.

Other items:
Silver Spring Purple Line station would be 80 feet high (Examiner)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Metro: the Escalator Experts

From Pat:
At about 5 p.m. Monday, the descending escalator at Minnesota Ave. did not have a graceful failure.

I couldn't tell if it had a failure of a roller bearing or wheel in the guide tracks of if it somehow snagged on a comb plate but, it sure looked bad.

Fortunately no people appeared to have been hurt.
Other items:
Metro's updated track work calendar (WMATA)
Transit group questions future of Silver Spring transit center (Examiner)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Riders Repeatedly Locked Out of Station

From Reece:
Three times during the last month, the person who is supposed to open the Dupont Metro station in the morning has arrived substantially late.

This has made a lot of people late for work and otherwise caused great inconvenience.  This person should be fired.  The normal chain of command is obviously not working.

Two of the times were weekdays, and once was the morning of Dec. 29.

The first time, there was a large crowd of angry people, and a Latino guy, who was relying on the Metro, mentioned he was going to get fired if he arrived at work late one more time (which presumably he did).

Meanwhile, people getting off the train at the Dupont station were, quite ridiculously, stuck behind the other side of the closed gate.  These repeated consequences are ridiculous for one Metro employee who got out of bed late.

I've already complained to Metro about this, but don't actually expect them to do anything.  

Other items: 
2014 budget does not recommend fare increase (PDF/page3/WMATA)

Silver line will bring big bus changes to NOVA (PDF/WMATA)
Another suicide (Examiner)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Metro Toons

Thanks to Matt for the submissions. Check out his other work here.

Other items: 
Man robbed at gunpoint during rush hour (Examiner)
"If I had to get on the Metro every day, I would die." (Examiner)
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