Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Offload Revolt?

UPDATE: This has happened before. (h/t CS)

We've all seen an offloaded train pull out of a station and keep going. Are riders starting to refuse to offload?

Reader Joey noticed signs of a possible revolt and raises a good point about Metro's entry/exit policies:

Metro Center was already packed when I arrived yesterday, and the train that pulled into the station several moments later was full.

The expected crush to board ensued, someone refused to get out of the way of the door, and a packed train was offloaded onto an already-packed platform.

Some people appeared to be ready to remain on the train.

That seems a likely result of the offloading policy. Everyone knows they put the train back in service a stop or two later.

Because of this, though, all the trains tailing that one were held up while they made sure the train being offloaded was empty. I think it's likely in the future that riders will revolt and refuse to leave the trains en masse when an offload is announced because of a door problem.

I decided to hop a train in the opposite direction and get back on the Glenmont train at Farragut North.

It took me 10 full minutes to get across Metro Center because of the crowding, and there were still people sitting on the "offloaded" train on the other side.

On the way back, it took about 15 minutes to get into Metro Center, and the platform was still packed.

Interestingly enough, over half the people who got on at Metro Center got off at Gallery Place. While the (possible) pedestrian tunnels are years away, isn't it feasible for Metro to allow someone to exit and enter a different station within, say 15 minutes, to make Metro Center and Gallery Place just a little more tolerable?

From now on, I'll just walk from Metro Center to Union Station. Sure, that's almost half my commute, but the loss of frustration will be worth it.

Other items:
Metro scrambles to fill budget gap (WaPo)
"Metro Germ Patrol" Pt. 1/Pt. 2 (WJLA)
November track maintenance (WMATA)
Delays on weeknights (WMATA)
Metro seeks input on X1,2,3 (WMATA)
Ride-On joins Google transit (GGW)


A.Smith said...

Well, a revolt is surely possible as we know the station manager/workers won't be moving to do anything and where's Metro Police, ever?

The offloading policy is b.s. as far as I'm concerned.

Lt. Cccyxx said...

Agreed on the offloading policy.

I've also been shocked at how long people will wait, and how tightly they will crowd the platform, just to go the three blocks from Metro Center to Gallery Place. I mean...15 or 20 minutes? I'd rather pay the extra money myself.

A policy like the one suggest, if properly publicized, could help on those busy/screwed up days.

Anonymous said...

I was on the first car of that train and someone did want to try to start a revolt. They got off the car like a good passenger but they were ready to pretty much give Metro crap for allowing this train operator to do what he did. I had gotten on at White Flint and the train was acting very gimpy there.

If it was a falling behind schedule problem, announce at Farragut North the train is going express to, say, Judiciary Square. That way the transfer passengers and those who need Metro Center/Gallery Place can get off and the people with MARC/VRE connections and others can not have their days ruined. Instead, this is more a "let me piss off hundreds because I'm having a bad day" problem.

Anonymous said...

Allowing someone to exit Metro Center and reenter at Gallery is a great idea, but there's one slight problem with it. It would require Metro to work and think creatively, so forget about it.

Anonymous said...

The Smartrip upgrade that has now been delayed again would have permitted programing such a change. However, the current technology does not allow it--no walking transfer between Farragut North and Farragut West--at least until then.

Anonymous said...

Circulator bus to Union Station works too. Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

I'm in on refusing to get off.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous

I counter by saying we can walk transfer between stations by simply going out the non-pay gate and entering through the non-pay gate. If Metro won't set this up so it works then we may as well just start doing it ourselves.

Brian said...

Of course, the commotion from refusing to get off means the entire track is blocked up, which means every train behind yours now is getting delayed, and the entire system takes a crap.

Is it retarded for an operator to toss everyone off the train? Yes, absolutely. Is throwing an equally childish tantrum about it and blocking up the whole Metro system going to help? No. Just let the operator have his/her little power trip and wait a few minutes for the next train.

homertuck said...

Did anyone else actually read that article in the update, detailing the similar event that happened in 1999? It is very, very similar to what we're experiencing with Metro today - a malfunction with the circuits caused drivers to have to manually operate the trains, riders are complaining of huge delays and frequent train breakdowns. That was 10 years ago and yet nothing has changed!

Anonymous said...

What's that bout Metro revolting? Ba-dum-bum!

Anonymous said...

Happened just this morning.

Anonymous said...

As former train operator, I'm seeing two possible problems here.

1. the train was expressed. Stupid, because they never allow more tham one stop to be skipped. It takes longer to make the announcements and get everyone off than just making the stop. :(
2. A real mechanical problem that may be fixed. Either while the train is moving, by a supervisor or mechanic. In which case, it's in everyone's best interest to put the train back in service. ;)
The big problem is the revolt. Won't do anyone any good. Creates bigger delays, and someone could get hurt.

Thant's just REALLY STUPID!!!!! :(((((

Ben Schumin said...

The point of revolting and refusing to be offloaded is not so much to get where you're going, but rather to draw attention to the poor state that the system is currently in, and considering how much we pay to ride the system. Mucking up the entire system for yet another offload is possibly just what's necessary to get people's attention and spark real change.

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