Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If I Ran Metro, I Would ...

Yesterday, @datawench complained that the PIDs (the signs that used to show train arrival times) were so full of advisories that actual train information took forever to cycle through.
@yatesc reacted by saying "Let this be a lesson to all of us: the less important something is, the more likely it is that Metro will tell you all about it."
They also said
that getting rid of all that superfluous data would be a day one job if they ran Metro.
What would be the first (one) thing on your agenda if you were Metro's king (or queen) for a day?
This assumes current GM John Catoe would already be gone, so firing him is not a valid answer.
Go ahead, be creative. You can dream bigger than 10-car trains, or go with something more modest and feasible.
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Anonymous said...

Know this won't happen in my lifetime, but LOOP LINE!!

jamsmcm said...

flat fare, no swiping at exit gates

Joseph Henchman said...

- Fire Catoe.

- Create different general managers for bus and rail so they can focus on the quite different problems. Create different boards for operations and rail for the same reason.

- Pay the escalator and elevator repair people per working escalator and elevator, rather than by the hour or by the year.

- Set up a management system where each employee must set (with their supervisors) measurable expectations, and their bonus/pay increase depends on achieving them.

- Create (or if it already exists, advertise the existence of) an ombudsman to receive rider complaints and act on them.

- Lay out a long-term vision for Metro bus, rail, and streetcar, including infrastructure improvements for the existing system. Metro's not going to get money until it explains what it do with it.

Brian said...

More trains on weekends/off-peak hours!

DCU_Phan said...

- Longer trains.
- Working AC.
- Drinks without fear of being ticketed.
- Seats along the wall (instead of rows).
- Better farecards (if my farecard comes within 3 feet of my iPod it de-magnitizes and I lose $18 unless I feel like going to Metro Center).

Anonymous said...

Force every person on Metro's board to spend the day riding Metro or Metrobus.

CS said...

Metro, unfortunately, has many problems. (And I say this as a Metro supporter.) But after riding the system daily for 11 years, I have become convinced that a single problem lies at the root of everything: Organizational culture. Simply put, in the minds of too many employees, Metro exists not as an organization whose mission is to transport people safely and quickly, but instead as a jobs agency. If there can be jobs, and a transit system that works well, too, so much the better. But whatever the mission statement at Metro headquarters might say, the actual on-the-ground attitude does not put transit first. (This situation, by the way, is not unique to Metro here in DC; see, e.g., DC public schools.)

How else to explain, for example, the rudeness and sullenness that riders so frequently encounter? Or that following one of the mother of all Orange Line meltdowns not long ago, the best a Metro worker could do at Vienna, as very unhappy people came streaming off the platform, was to stand silently and defiantly while handing out complaint forms, refusing to even speak with passengers? Or that a 10-car train could get out of the railyard without anyone noticing? Or that people keep getting killed on the tracks? Or that mere days after the June tragedy, we see bus drivers texting and using the phone. Or...

This is not to slight the talents and efforts of ALL Metro employees. There are some very effective employees, such as the gentleman I often encounter afternoons at the Judiciary Square station. Or the occasionally helpful train operators who deliver instructions to passengers that go beyond the useless boilerplate that is scripted to be read aloud.

But based on my experience, such experiences are the exception, not the rule. So until Metro fixes this most basic problem with its organizational DNA, it will be difficult to make substantial improvements. Several years ago, before ridership surged, Metro could paper over this problem, because there was enough slack in the system to accommodate it. Today, however, any slack is long gone, and the problem is on daily display, sometimes to comedic effect, but other times, taking the form of great tragedy.

So that's what I would change if I were king for a day. Solve this issue, and all the others are easy.

Anonymous said...

No more rush hour fares on the Red Line until it's FIXED!!

Anonymous said...

- Stop the annoying elevator announcements. Maybe ONLY show the elevator closing announcements on a display near the elevator, that way only the people needing to use the elevator (and the only people who care) can see the message.

- More trains on the orange line. I can't tell you how many times I get on at Foggy Bottom to a crowded orange line train after 2 nearly empty blue ones pass by. In afternoon rush, if you are on an orange line train to vienna, look at how many get off at Rosslyn -- very few. Because any smart rider will going to Rosslyn will take Blue so they can have a seat rather than pack in an orange line car like sardines.

- Don't tell me how you "regret any inconvenience." The message is so impersonal and pathetic that it just makes everybody mad when you say it, the fake politeness is not appreciated. If anything, it should say "we regret that we'll have to charge you rush hour fare this morning for your 1 hour commute, but tough luck."

- Every station manager should be able to process Metro SmartTrip cards, you can't tell me that Metro Center is the ONLY station that has a computer and a SmartTrip reader?

- Ditto on the organizational changes. Board members of Metro should be forced to ride Metro on a regular basis, then they will see the problems themselves.

- Give the train operators a course in customer relations. It is rude to have train operators threaten to take the train out of service when the doors don't close. Just because the train doors are having problems on a 20 year old car does not always mean somebody is holding the door open.

Anonymous said...

I'm taking a less 'holistic' approach then the above poster. If the metro could have more capital without actually raising fares and spend it to improve the system then I think we'd be in a better place. So to increase spending capital I would:

- Remove all carpeting from the trains. Keeping them clean them is an expense we don't need.

- Remove the cushions from the seats. Again, an unnecessary expense to maintain.

- Cover the metro in advertisements. Everywhere and anywhere. If there is a space to put an ad there. Put it there. I don't mind sitting on a McDonalds bench if that means saving a dime.

- Allow vendors to sell products in the metro stations

- Install toilets in the metro stations that you have to pay to use.

- And mostly, take a good hard look at the pay structure of the WMATA employees, especially at the top.

brh said...

Revert to the old 'Doors closing… Bing……… Bong!'

Anonymous said...

All great suggestions, Metro, you reading this???

c.j. said...

make fares free for all high school students (not just those from MD), and discounted for college students in the area, as well as teachers.

Dave Stroup said...

Anonymous said...

"No more rush hour fares on the Red Line until it's FIXED!!"


Aaron B. Pryor said...

If I ran Metro, I would amend the mission statement to make it clear that, above all, its primary priorities are the safety and comfort of its passengers/customers. More lines don't achieve this. Nor does a driver flooring it to make his schedule. Metro needs to state boldly and then to act to see it out that the safe, comfortable transport of its passengers is tantamount.

Anonymous said...

I'd invert peak hours. It's stupid that residents have to pay for the system through taxes AND then again a ridiculous amount through the fare. Why not just make Saturday/Sunday the expensive days when the tourists are here? That never made sense to me anyway.

yatesc said...

Focusing on reasonably easy fixes for day one:
* As I said on Twitter, take all the cruft off the PIDs.
* Enable weekly/monthly/yearly passes for SmartTrip cards. (It's preposterous I have to get a paper ticket (!) every week (!!). FYI, my daily commute costs $45/week, weekly passes are $39.)
* As above, I would mandate that every Metro manager or executive *must* ride MetroRail / MetroBus, walk, or bike to work every day.
* Agree to release all rider data to Google Transit and any other services, free of conditions, and sack the consultants hired to try and monetize it.
* Tell the advertising department to begin inquiring about selling more ads on Metro railcars and busses. Where would they like to advertise? How much would they be willing to pay? (As someone stated above, I would also happily sit on a McDonalds-logo'd bench to take a dime off of fares.)
* Begin a policy to fine the hell out of Metro employees who park in the kiss-and-ride spaces. Sack them if they persist, but ensure they get free parking in the regular lots. (Metered spaces generate more revenue. Also, it's against the rules.)
* Enable overnight parking at *all* Metro stations with parking, but charge them more than $4.50 for it.
* Find out how much a 'Secret Rider' (like the shopping and dining equivalents) program would cost. Secret Riders would get comp'd Metro fare, and would take notes on how well drivers handle their cars (smooth rides, professionalism and warmth in announcements, etc.) Give monetary rewards to drivers who score highly.
* Hire (or have a contest, or something) some intrepid graphic designers to revamp the MetroBus route planning materials.
* Maybe 10-car trains are out of the question, but what about 4-car (or 2-car!) trains during the weekends? How much would "shorter cars, more often" cost?
* Institute a policy that any service outages (even mundane stuff like escalators breaking) will be explained thoroughly on the Metro website, and archived indefinitely. (Hopefully putting an end to Metro's nasty habit of hiding track sensor failures and the like.)
* Finally, make it clear that Metro's #1 priority is, and will henceforth always be, safety.

Anonymous said...

Amend the Metro Board rules so that all members may not own cars and must use public transit for 100% of their travel needs.

Put video cameras inside metro train operator booths and station manager booths.

Get Metro on Google transit.

Lobby for reform of the Tri State Oversight Committee (like giving them more resources and power than a summer intern).

Anonymous said...

No rush hour charges for non-rush hour service. Reverse commuters wait longer and pay the same as those going in the direction of rush hour.

Anonymous said...

I would look at the possibility of implementing express stops on the most popular and crowded sections during rush hours (eg., Orange Line in Virginia). I know the NYC subway uses a combination of express and local stops on their lines. The Metro subway system is certainly not as large as the NYC system, but express service may offer some benefit here. For example, imagine seeing an "express" Orange Line train leaving DC and only stopping at designated express stops at the outer VA stations (West Falls Church, Dunn Loring, and Vienna). Not only would the riders who get off at those stations arrive quicker (because the train wouldn't make all of the stops in Arlington County), but it would give riders a choice (either get on a local train that makes all of the stops or get on an express train that handles certain stops). This seems like a good idea to me, but I'm sure Metro will find some sort of excuse claiming how impossible this is to implement.

Anonymous said...

If I ran Metro I would: a) fix the horribly formatted auto-reply to the web site complaint form, and;

b) FIX FIX FIX the escalator leading to the Ellis Road side of New Carrollton. For YEARS now it has not run in the PM two days in a row, let alone a full week.

To make it a "truly Metro moment," there is but ONE BAD SMALL elevator when that escalator is dead. The elevator can hold 8 people tightly. It is rickety, shakes badly, smells like urine & chlorine. There is NO other way up to that side of metro and of course they never post notices that the escalator is down. (Probably because it would take up all of their message sign time as it happens every 48 hours.)

Yep, I complained with the website form. Nope, I get no reply nor see any improvements as usual. It's been what now... 1977 this all started for me....

Alas.. alas my as...terisk I WISH I ran Metro! Even for one day, I'd get improvements done all over.

Anonymous said...

Express trains sound helpful, but they would run into regular trains stopping at all the stations, unless you timed it so that wouldn't happen, but then, you would hold up traffic. The only viable alternative would be to create seperate, express tracks. But I don't even want to see the cost figures on this idea.

It sucks that rush hour fares are higher, esp. because it rewards tourists and punishes the taxpaying commuters who already subsize Metro, but you have to think about supply and demand. This is hour all pricing mechanisms work. In fact, it actually helps to reduce the number of passengers during rush hour by pricing certain riders out, so that only the people who value the ride more (i.e. those who have to get to work) will use it.

Lastly, so called "reverse commuters" should not get a reduced fare. It isn't about 'rewarding people for not crowding trains.' It is more costly to the system to run trains below capacity.

Anonymous said...

I've ridden the NYC subway and have never been held up on an express or local train because of the other type needing to stop. Ok, I shouldn't say never, but I was held up once for... 30 seconds?

Anonymous said...

I would post large billboards and posters on all train cars stating:

This is NOT your bathroom or dressing room!
This is NOT your mommy's house!

Please do your overly personal and visually unpleasant activities at home. We're a train service for Pete's sake!

Tim said...

@ Anonymous: Yes, NYC has express trains on some services, but that's only because they run on their own tracks. On the west side, for example, the 2 and the 3 run on the express track while the 1 runs on the local track. You'll notice that there are four tracks running through those stations; the DC Metro only has two parallel tracks in each station. To run express routes would require either a separate, dedicated express track or some very complicated side-track solutions. As of right now, the Metro just isn't set up for express tracks, and to do so would require a huge expenditure.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, they could have semi-express trains on the current tracks by using "skip stop" trains (they do this on Philadelphia's subway) -- trains stop at every other stop, but on an alternating basis. Of course, such trains would all stop at "key" stops like the transfer stops and other busy central ones. Since all trains are hitting similar number of stops, they won't run into each other.

Dan Franzen said...

If I were beginning an entirely new system, rather than repairing (!) Metro, there are two biggies I would enact:

1) The platforms and cars would be designed so that passengers exited the train on one side of the car and entered it from the other. So you'd have, right to left, platform, track, platform. Your down escalator/stairs would go to the platform on the right, and your up escalator/stairs would come from the one on the left. With this, you would avoid people pushing to get on or off a train, to some degree. Less chaos would mean a shorter time spent in the stations, as operators wouldn't have to reboot the doors because some yoyo was trying to push in. Less time in stations means a greater likelihood that schedules could be maintained.

2) The train doors would be designed so that they opened vertically, rather than horizontally. This would keep people from trying to squeeze on to a train at the last moment, which inevitably delays everyone - person gets stuck, or the door gets jammed, etc. People would be less likely to try to get onto a train if part of a door were coming up from the floor AND part were coming down from the ceiling - they'd have to launch themselves horizontally. I'm not sure if this design is physically possible, although it seems like it could be.

Dan Franzen said...

To fix current Metro:

1) Rewrite the in-station announcements to be more concise and illuminating. For example, we don't need "attention station managers and passengers within the Metrorail system"; only those people can hear the announcement, anyway. We don't need to hear the incessant "is that your bag?" announcements, either. And we don't need to hear how Metro regrets the inconvenience. If they truly regretted it, they'd make sure there weren't so many of them.

2) Change the in-car announcements from the operator to an automated system. Look, the stations don't change. The side on which the doors open does not change (with some exceptions). And the operators' announcements are frequently unintelligible. This is due in part to a really horrible audio system and in part to some poor enunciantion by the operators. So let's just make that part automated. If the operator doesn't need to worry about saying "This is the Red Line to Shady Grove" all the time, he or she will have that much more time to, you know, operate the train. Automated announcements on an improved audio system would be easier to understand for everyone, and the operator could always override it for odd announcements, such as "this train will bypass Medical Center" or "this train will be out of service at Rhode Island Avenue because of a door malfunction" and so on. Tourists, also, would be better served by understandable in-train announcements.

3) Incease signage on the sides of trains. Often, the lead car has only the sign on the actual front of the car, and nothing along the side, so if you're at the end of a platform and want to know if this is an Orange Line train or a Blue Line train or if it's going to Shady Grove or to Grovesenor, you're out of luck - the platform signs are too far away, and the electronic sign on the side of the train is on the next car.

4) Increase platform signage as well. There is usually just one on each side of the platform. Since the trains pull all the way into the station, people at that end of the platform cannot see the sign and can't know how long until the next train arrives.

5) Automated operation for arriving at a station. The platform length never changes, and yet the operators never seem sure about when to stop. How often does a train pull into a station and stop, only to lurch forward three or four more times? "This train will be moving forward, please stand by," says the operator. Why can't they get it right the first time? An automated system would, in theory, handle this. Look at Japan's train system - there are railings next to the platform that indicate where the doors will line up. Since the platform length never changes, and the train length will be either 6 or 8 cars (more the latter, I'd hope), why can't this be done here? An automated system would sense that the train has passed X point as it enters the station, alerting it to begin braking.

Anonymous said...

If I were "King for a Day" I believe I would:

1. Fire all supervisors who had a drug problem.
2. Fire all supervisors who were prior inmates.
3. Fire all husband/wife 100,000.00 salaried employees.
4. Fire "club members" who get promoted unqualified.
5. Fire supervisors who harrass great workers with great records.
6. Fire supervisors, superintendents with BAD driving records who drive Metro Cars (liability)
7. Fire lazy, sleeping, employees
8. Fire unqualified "girlfriends" promoted.
9. Fire cleaners for trains who just sit and don't clean.
10. Fire the Board of Directors
11. Recruit unemployed applicants in all (3) jurisdictions.(Not just MD and DC)
12. Hire consultants qualified to take over OCC
Central Controll.
13. Request a Congressional independent investigation and oversite on spending all of Federal Funding and multiple grants.
14. Fire employees who can't understand english speeking training instructions causing problems.
15. Promote qualified, educated personel.
16. Mandate and enforce Federal Diversity Compliance in all departments.(Not diverse hiring done)
17. Fire train drivers who close the doors on all races of customers.
18. Promote train conductors who give clear, direct information in a pleasant manner.
19. Search the globe for a new leader for WMATA!

Karen said...

Agree 100 percent with Dan Franzen's second post, especially point #2. I have never understood why Metro doesn't use automated station announcements. The operators are too often inaudible, unintelligble or just plain wrong. (Like the Red Line driver who pulled out of Dupont Circle saying "Next stop, Bethesda," which set off a panic among the tourists who thought they were on the wrong train.) As an added bonus, we would be spared from hearing "Judish-uary Square" and "Grove-snore."

Point 5 is also valid. I now live in Japan and can attest that things work a lot better when passengers line up at the spots where the doors will open rather than filling the entire platform, then frantically shoving the 10 feet to the nearest door when the train arrives.

Anonymous said...

It's a rather difficult thing to fix, but working in the Jackson Graham building and out it the field I see lots of things that need fixing.
1)Demote all current low level supervisors and mid level supervisors. Employ outside talent for the supervisors and integrate them into the work force. Have the managers on site managing the employees! There is man power but lazy man power (called the metro culture)managers will make sure the work gets done and point out (in writing) what needs to be done. Employees if unsupervised will leave a big job rather then report it. Make sure the job is done right! That will save you millions.
Scrap most overtime as it's badly abused. The union will fight, on that one, but we did sign a no strike clause. Again who runs the place, greedy, lazy employees or WMATA? Again millions in save.
Advertise, Advertise, do mailers give free rides whatever it takes to up the ridership.
Safety: Start with having everyone in uniform with their safety vests on. It's no big deal but in an emergency it is. Now there is no evacuation plan, (least I've never been taught it, but I did ask. Make evacuations plans, drill, drill, drill. Have every employee sign in with the station manager. Put a camera watching the room where the station manager sits (keyosk I believe) Have a second feed to the camera's set up in an extra room at every station and have security WATCH them, besides just recording them. Let the Station manager manage and put an employee out front to help customer in a uniform that says customer service. Slowly switch out the camera's to color then as money permits upgrade the other alarm systems and monitors. Have police at EVERY station or Security randomly stop people and check their bags.
Log complaint's on station manager and send out warnings if they point to a problem area.
Retire some of the mid/level/high level managers and higher someone with the actual credentials.
Make the board accountable and make them available to employees who have safety or money saving issues.
Fire the dead wood or light a fire under them and things will get done, but boy will you catch it. Isn't safety job 1, no but if you use common sense and review supervisors credentials and you may be shocked with the inside buddy thing that goes on. That is why you need to bring in outsides to work for the good of our patrons. Make the place look secure and that is half the battle, now it's an accident just waiting to happen.
Bring in security consultants, from home land security even and work closely with them.
If this is done, simple as it is, you would have a kick butt system that identifies problems before they are too far gone to fix. This would save Millions upon Millions. It's amazing what a little spit, polish, tough nose can accomplish. In the end it's simply DOING THE JOB with the emphasis on why we are there. To SAFELY move passengers. To be told "that's not your job. Don't worry about the riders, or the classic, "what do you want me to do?" Get back to basic's and make safety BIG deal.

Anonymous said...

Great ideas all around.

In addition, redesign the cars. Three doors for cars that are so long is not efficient and is a significant cause of delays. 4 doors per side would be fine.

In addition, bench seating would be fine, there is no good reason to have seats the way they are now.

Anonymous said...

Adding extra doors is not feasible until you get new cars. I think they should overhaul the cars like the do the buses. Rebuild them, they are safe as long as they are not running into one another. Fix the communications and analog problems then you would be on the way. You could redesign for seating if you overhaul the cars. They have the space to do that.
Barbi Rose

Ben Schumin said...

Regarding rebuilding cars - they do. The 2000 and 3000-Series cars all recently came back from a major overhaul, where the cars were stripped to the frame and just about every system was replaced. You will know you're on one of these cars because the car numbers start with a "2" or a "3", and there is an "AC" beneath the car number on the exterior.

Anonymous said...

- rather than buy those stupid segway pods, take that money and hire (or rotate) someone from the very functional, faster, cheaper, safer (although maybe not clean) NYC subway system and give them overhaul authority. The DC system is far smaller and less complicated, it should be a piece of cake compared to NYC transit ... and yet it isn't.

Anonymous said...

Make sure that the Red line never had two consecutive Silver Spring trains in a row, but sometimes allow two Glenmont trains in a row.

Make sure that there was always at least one escalator running up, so that passengers with heart problems would not have a life threatening situation walking up the escalator.

Anonymous said...

If I ran Metro, I would have more Metro cops riding the rails. The few times I have seen a cop on the train, he got off after about two stops. People should not have to spend their hard earned money to ride the train only to be harassed by other passengers or listen to loud, unruly teenagers.

Anonymous said...

Someone may have already mentioned this, but I think Metro needs to conduct periodic emergency response drills. When the train wreck occurred in June, I did not see any Metro personnel trying to implement some type of control or provide instructions to passengers. I apologize if I am wrong, but passengers were wandering around aimlessly and relying on other passengers for information. No one tried to direct passengers onto the shuttle buses in an orderly fashion. Instead, passengers were bum rushing shuttle buses left and right. It’s fortunate that no one was run over by a bus!

Anonymous said...

Have more cops/security or better yet Terminators ride in the actual cars. Tired of being hounded for money, seeing people toss their food trash blatantly on the floor, or having to deal with bunches of teen thugs being rowdy on the rails.

To the above poster who said have doors close vertically rather than horizontally, that gave me a good laugh. I had an instant vision of generic DC businessmen diving through the closing crack Indiana Jones style and then at the last minute turning to get their hat/briefcase/iPod/work badge...

Anonymous said...

No more trains that turn around at Grosvenor or similar stations. I understand the theory behind it, but really, all it does is pack the trains that go to the end of the line and send an empty every other train down the tubes. Then, that empty train delays the packed end-of-the-line trains at those mid-way stations.

Anonymous said...

Add Platform Managers to restrain (literally, if necessary) those idiots who think they can smoosh in. I have been on so many trains off-loaded because of ego-loaded people. A cheerful Platform Manager could get people to move to the middle of the car better that Anna Automatom, as well.

Anonymous said...

5A ways to improve the 5A to Dulles:
1. Install a ticket machine at the stop. That way, people could pay their fare while waiting for the bus, rather than clogging the entry when the bus arrives. This also would permit the use of credit cards, so people (particularly foreign visitors) don't need to ask fellow passengers to break a twenty.
2. Modify the schedule so that it runs MORE frequently on weekends and holidays (when non-business air travel increases), rather than less frequently like other Metrobus lines.
3. Regularize the seemingly arbitrary schedule to something that can be summarized in a few words, like "every 20 minutes."
4. Express from Rosslyn to Dulles, at least some of the time. How many people ever get on/off in Herndon?
5. Prohibit bags so big that they block the aisle. Or at least prohibit them in the front half of the bus, so that others can board.
5A. How would I pay for the increased service? Raise the fare. The 5A is less expensive (in some cases, much less expensive) than the fare from most of the 10 busiest U.S. airports to downtown (see list below). A fare increase to $5 would still leave it in the middle. (And if you raise the fare to a nice round number, you can do without suggestion 1. Note how many fares on the list below are round numbers.)
Fare from top U.S. airports to downtown:
ATL 2.00
ORD 2.25
LAX 7.00
DFW 3.75
DEN 10.00
JFK 7.25
LAS 2.00
IAH 15.00(!)
PHX 1.75
SFO 8.10

Anonymous said...

Here is how I would Un-Suck METRO
1. STOP the Commedia dell'arte
3. DEDICATED Funding
4. RESTRUCTURE Collective Bargaining Agreements
5. ESTABLISH Best Practices Review
6. IMPLEMENT State of the Art Technologies
7. DEVELOP 10 year $300B Master Plan for Capital Program.
8. SHAME/HARANGUE/EMBARRASS Politicians to Fund Capital Program.
9. WORK across political lines in non-partisan way
10. TALK the TALK, WALK the TALK
18. LISTEN to Contrarians
19. RESPOND to scurrilous attacks immediately
20. SUPPORT hard-working employees

Anonymous said...

Create reserved parking garages so the paying subscribers aren't screwed out of a space before 10am by illegal occupants.

Anonymous said...

Fix the darn escalators faster. Van Ness Station escalators have been out of service for so long. Both on the platform and then again at the top tier to exit. And there only seems to be one guy working on things at a time - slower than a snail. Come on guys, wrap it up!

bmfc1 said...

Stop charging Glenmont and Shady Grove customers the highest fares on the Red Line while getting 50% of the service. If there's a good reason to turn trains around at Silver Spring and Grosvenor, and I'm not sure there is, then don't charge anybody going past those stations for a longer ride when we get half the service.

bmfc1 said...

Provide accurate message boards. When I walk into the station, I need to know when the next train is leaving and not learn about elevator outages in other states.

Also, "2 Minutes" has become "2 Minutes or less." E.g., trains have left Glenmont with 2 minutes showing on the board.

Anonymous said...

Limit station names to 20 characters. No slashes or hyphens allowed. Nothing that can't fit on one line on a map. Return all station names back to their original names. Start with Woodley Park, the one that started it all.

(Yeah, trivial, I know. But annoying)

Anonymous said...

"Amend the Metro Board rules so that all members may not own cars and must use public transit for 100% of their travel needs."

That is fucking stupid...

Anonymous said...

I f I were King for a Day I would scrap the Union Officals who go on You tube and look like they have a bad hang over. I would request an independent investigation of the Union and an independent investigation of Metro. I heard they missed out on grant money because the did not use the grant money before the deadline.

1. Scrap current financial managers and hire competent advisors.

2. Hire new staff in HR who will hire all races. (NO diversity!)Hire VA DC MD

3. Husband and wife team on the UNION Board must go! (Should be illegal) Husband and wife self promoted in Metro conflict of interest and making over $230,000.00 a year.)

4. Hire a CEO from outside the US. (Preferably not AA.)

5. For employees who want to be promoted to qualified position must be given the opportunity. Regardless what position they were hired.

6. All managers who have been caught on drugs, fire them and do not rehire them. These jobs/positions are safety sensitive.

Anonymous said...

Metro should consider these following:

-Eliminate the no eating and drinking rule, allow vendors inside of stations. Also increase the penalty for litter and add more trash receptacles.

-Get rid of the carpet in the subway cars.

-Make the system 24/7 within city limits/bust segments. This means between 12am-5am Sun-Thurs and 3am-7am on the weekends red line train would only operate between Dupont Circle and Silver Spring, Green line between Anacostia and Fort Totten, Yellow line between Mt. Vernon Square Reagan National Airport, Orange line between Ballston and Minnesota Ave, and the Blue line wouldn't have any service at all. Trains could run a headways of 30-45 minutes to it wouldn't interfere with nighttime maintenance and trains could single track longer lengths without disturbing trains in the opposite direction. During this time metro could charge a $5.00 flat fare.

Anonymous said...

Stop blasting out my eardrums by using their horns on the trains for crowd control, especially at Metro Center. Oh, and put in poles to hold onto in the newer cars -- that seems to have escaped their demented moronic minds.

Anonymous said...

The DC metro system needs serious upgrades and restructuring.
It's very slow, inefficient, very expensive and very limited.
What is needed:
1. Beltway line which connects all other lines.
2. More trains to reduce waiting time and the time of travel.
3. Cheaper fair. Create a weekly, monthly and yearly card, the more you buy the less you pay per travel. Also combine travel fair for different transport to make one card covering everything like it is done in Europe.
4. Extend metro lines, make it more convenient for
people of the suburbs. Only than they will start using public transportation instead of their cars.
6. Government should support public transportation. It is a significant part of an infrastructure of any developed country, not just a business.

Anonymous said...

Fix Nextbus! Every time I call from the bus stop to find out when the next bus will arrive (as the slogan promises me) the sound of cars passing by in front of me causes the system to make up completely random responses that were nothing like what I actually requested. Here's how a typical call goes:

Nextbus: Welcome to real-time next bus. Please enter your stop ID number.
ME: saying number
NB: I heard you say "Goodbye." Is that correct?
ME: No.
NB: Please enter your stop ID number.
ME: saying number
NB: I heard you say "Goodbye." Is that correct?
ME: No.
NB: Thank you for using real-time Nextbus. Goodbye.

Trying again:
Nextbus: Welcome to real-time next bus. Please enter your stop ID number.
ME: saying number
NB: You said [stop number]. Is that correct?
ME: Yes! (hopeful, excited)
NB: Would you like information on a specific route?
ME: saying route number
NB: I heard you say "Goodbye." Is that correct?
ME: No. (dejected)
NB: Thank you for using real-time Nextbus. Goodbye.

Anonymous said...

Don't charge rush hour fares when not delivering rush hour service! This could be handled by software.

Anonymous said...

When reporting that kids are fighting on the platform or that you're getting hassled on the train, empower the metro police to *not* say, "Sorry Ma'am, I can't do anything."

Anonymous said...

Random thoughts about Metro Rail, mostly from the never-been-worse RED LINE):

1. Let there be LIGHT ! It's long past-due to get over the modernistic "architectual marvels" that the stations are supposed to be ---put on some LIGHTS!

Farraghut North is unacceptably poorly-lit to have to stand around under as you wait and many others are this way, by design and also poor bulb replacement policy.

This is also a big problem once you're on the train. From too many seasts, many folks cannot figure out what the stop is - the announcements are not always clear or the speakers well placed.

Also, more signs should be up so that you don't have to hope there is one more identifier.

This is not always a problem for me but many newer riders and tourists and on some days, myself, cannot make out the stop.

Also, Farraghut North now seems permanently in a state of crumbling decay. Roof sections missing, a big cordoned-off area ( a collapse?) ...It's looking and feeling very "3rd World." Factor in the escalator work and it's beyond tacky - just sad.

2.) Homeland Security announcements! "HULLO, This is Janet.." Puh-lease. We do not need to her Big Sister's burly reminder that we are reduced to having our fellow riders be the security on the trains.

Yes, awareness is helpful, but it is no subtitute for a comprehensive re-think enforcement strategies, some of which are ignored for political reasons. I also don't want the rare private moments we have be a place for grand-standing politicians.

Anonymous said...

3.) Step up the no food/ drink policy. I heard about that girl being arrested years ago for french fries and all of America laughed at DC's tough policy.

But now I get why it came to that. The ilk that eat on the train largely only understand harsh penalties, not good will and courtesy.

I rode the NY and Boston trains for years and was surprised when I moved here that it was restricted. Now I see the genius of it. The problem is, it's getting to look like the worst of the trains I'd see up there.

Especially on Fridays and weekends (when a party mood prevails, I can tell that the train has just been frequented by unruly ("urban")) teenagers by the time I get on at Farragut North to Shady Grove. That spot that also doubles as the end where a conductor sits tends to be loaded with fast food wrappers , spilled snacks , Iced tea cans, soda, etc. And yes, graffitti, pardon me, "graphic art."

4- More uniformity in station announcements and commentary. Some offer too much detail and I tire of hearing each new rider welcomed with a " Good Morning..." as well-intentioned as that is. 97% us could care less about long-out-of-service elevators and escalator updates, too.

5- Conductors: Don't speak at the wrong times, such as at the same time as the recorded "door closing - step back." There is a squawk that is produced when both happen at the same time.

On another note, don't remind us we are "customers." It's sad to think I pay for "the Metro Experience" and at a prety penny at that, about $15 a day if I use the parking lot. (An outrageous daily sum)..Call us "riders" like other transit systems.

6- Work on SMOOTH stops - ONE that is. The herky-jerky ride is very unpleasant. It feels like Amateur hour. As a former city bus driver in NY, I was trained to stop smoothly,to not spill the "champagne glass" on the hood. That's hard with the braking systems of a train but much more can be done. Know where the end is and then learn how to break on time to land there.

7. Make the conductor position a better skilled , higher prestige position for serious people, not "working single mom" employment plan. Make it a sort of "Captain"-level responsiblity you might find on an airplane.

I've ridden many subway / rail systems around the country - this is the most undependable and least confidence-building riding experience I have found. Impressions matter.

The Metro Experence" (for so many well-documented reasons) has been all down-hill in the 5-6 years since I moved here and began commuting Monday to Friday. Here's hoping for a turnaround!

Anonymous said...

a fairly easy thing to implement would be a rider reporting scheme where riders could call, email, tweet, or text metro police or the conductor when someone is doing something illegal on the cars. this would improve efficiency and reduce costs of policing to target infractions immediately.

Anonymous said...

Turnstiles. Why aren't there regular turnstiles that don't take forever to open and close? installing those stupid domes on the card readers doesn't make the gates open and close any faster.

The gigantic boxes that house them and separate aisles...narrowing those boxes would easily allow for another aisle to be placed on each side of a gate. they are unnecesarily wide. And why does every station need two swinging door gates? If someone is appropriately being waved through, they can just be waved through on ONE SIDE. Put in another turnstile instead of the swinging walkthough. This would allow for at least two, maybe three additional gates to be in use. That is about a 50% increase for high volume times when everyone is trying to enter/exit through 4 gates.

Anonymous said...


Some of us have to walk quickly and up hills before we enter the metro and when we get on the train to a big wave of heat it is very uncomfortable. It is also a safety hazard. The temperature on the train should not be above 80 degrees when the temperature outdoors is over 40.

If this continues I will wear a bikini and bring a beach towel.

Anonymous said...

Get those idiots with their damned bicycles OFF the escalators!

Ms. Blasé said...

Reserve one or two cars per train for riders 18 years old and older so that people who don't want to be around rowdy teens and crying babies can finally have a little peace.

Anonymous said...

Send the P17, P19 and W13 down the Anacostia Freeway rather than have them fight through traffic on S. Capitol. And as a result, extend the A9 to Oxon Hill Park and Ride to connect with them.

Anonymous said...

Not send out Pilot Project invitations without having my S@%6& together!
I received an email to participate in the add value to your smartbenefit card online.
I normally use a transit chek visa card to do this at the station. So imagine my joy when I got the email inviting me to do it online.
Joy quickly turned into epic fail when I discovered I can't use my transit chek visa with lots of money on it to pay for my online smartbenefit purchase.

Of course a call to the smartbenefit helpline netted nothing but bullshit, with the lady stating it is not our fault. I hope I hung up the phone extra hard in her rude damn ear!

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