Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ride 'em Cowboy!

Our ride in today was nothing that remarkable. No major delays, no breakdowns, but yet it still somehow captured the general unpleasantness of the whole Metro experience.

We were coming from Foggy Bottom this morning . Now you'd think the Foggy Bottom station would work through the crowds since it is served by two lines. Think again.

When we got there at about 8:15, it was obvious there hadn't been a train in a while. The platform was quite crowded, and there were a lot of people anxiously looking down the tracks wondering where the next train was. You immediately sensed Metro was at it again.

Finally, after about 6 minutes, an Orange Line train arrived, but it was filled to capacity. A few moments later, a Blue train came along, also fairly full, but with enough space to squeeze in a few.

Here's where the fun begins. We've talked a lot about the jerky ride Metro offers, but this Blue Line train was a whole new level, more akin to what you'd expect if you were a rodeo rider. At every station the train the departure was so fast, so sudden that it whiplashed many, causing many to nearly fall as they grabbed for anything to help them brace. This happened every time and a few more times for good measure during our unscheduled stops in the tunnels. The stops were almost as bone rattling. Yee Haw!

To top is off, we had an extremely officious driver who seemed to enjoy barking to the passengers about how if we didn't step away from the doors, we'd have to put the train out of service. Yes, it has come to threats.

Now we're not looking for a luxurious ride. It's mass transit, and it's really not made to be enjoyable. We don't expect velvet ropes and Champagne, but the "service" Metro offers is beyond unpleasant. We just don't want to arrive to work with a sore neck and blisters on our hands from having to hold on so tight! Then again, maybe we should just be thankful the train is moving.

We're going to need an entirely new level of public support for mass transit in this country over the coming decades, and we feel Metro is discouraging many from championing public transport. Think about this: The population of DC turns over at an incredible rate. We'd love to know what kind of mass transit ambassadors Metro produces. Our guess: not very good ones.

Other news:
Metro has issued its March track maintenance schedule, which definitely could come in handy for planning ahead.

Not sure what to say about this.

This could make Metro's life 1/3 easier.


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised hitting a police officer is not cause for immediate termination.

Anonymous said...

The Metro ride seems to get more jerky by the week. i don't know if it's that the drivers dont know how to drive, but it's crazy.

Anonymous said...

You want to hear about jerky....I was a passenger in the front car of the metro train collision (red line) back in 2004. The impact caused me to fly out of my seat and my head to violently snap from right to left. The next day I could not move - I had to receive several weeks of physical therapy just to get right. Every time the train waits too long at a stop or pauses in the tunnels, it brings it all back.

Anonymous said...

I am lucky enough to get a seat on my most of my metro trips. Downside is I always have bruises on my knees and arms from the jerky stops and starts that bang me into the seats and window ledges.

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