Monday, March 16, 2009

Another Scare Tactic?

An article in the Examiner caught our eye this morning. The title is "Metro officials warn of more fires, delays, trash as budget is trimmed," and cites "Metro" as saying "railcars and tracks would be cleaned less often leading to messier trains and more track fires caused from discarded newspapers."

This certainly sounds scary, and according to the story, "loose papers and debris helped spur a series of track fires in 2007 that waylaid riders for hours."

We're very wary of this claim, especially since there's no name attached. Our guess about what all this hoopla is? Metro is trying to scare you and is laying the groundwork to dip into the stimulus money to close the gap because no one on that board wants to make any tough choices regarding service cuts.

If newspapers were really that much of a danger, could Metro be considered negligent letting a "known" danger go unchecked? If newspapers are such a potential hazard, why does Metro let them be handed out for free knowing a certain percentage of people will just dump theirs?

And about the filth, by almost anyone's account, the one problem Metro really doesn't have is that it's dirty. Just check our very scientific poll over to the right. Only two percent say filth is a major problem with the system. We'd gladly take more filth if it meant better function.

We doubt you'll see more fires, but Metro's list of shovel ready improvements is going to take a $29 million hit is our bet.

Other news of note:
McGruff incident must've caused this.


Steve R. said...

totally agree with this assessment. just another game.

Anonymous said...

I agree that they are probably trying to scare people by emphasizing the safety issues if they do less maintenance. But just because they are trying to scare doesn't mean it doesn't also happen to be true. I would much rather pay an extra 10 cents (as would a huge number of the respondents in the highly scientific poll at the right) if meant they didn't have to cut things like cleaning. I don't want to have to wade through more newspapers, not mention the other nastier stuff people leave behind, especially on the weekends. The cleanliness is one of the things that keeps metro more civilized than most other American transit systems.
As for why they allow newspapers to be handed out for free near stations, it might be because they would have a major First Amendment problem if they tried to ban it.

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