Friday, December 4, 2009

Metro Has a Sad

Metro is in deep financial doo doo.

This time, there's no simple answer. Service is likely to be cut, fares are likely to be increased and more worrisome, capital funding might be drained as an easy "out."

Metro management, the Board and the jurisdictions have kicked the can down the road so many times that politically expedient options are hard to see, and some unpleasant decisions are going to have to be made.

Metro places a lot of the blame on the bad economy
, which certainly is a factor, but it's not just that.

Unreliable and unfriendly service, unsafe practices and unwise spending, along with a bad economy, all form a perfect storm that is repelling passengers from what used to be among the prides of this city.

These days, it's stories like the one below that sum up the sad state into which Metro has fallen. The story is not catastrophic--in fact, Metro delivered them from A to B--but we think commutes like this are likely to become less the exception and more the rule.

From reader "Medea":

Yesterday morning, I was riding the Red Line to Silver Spring from Rockville. The trains were already backed up due to a problem at Bethesda, but when we got to Grosvenor, I smelled smoke and stood up and said "Fire!" just as the train operator told us to exit immediately.

We moved fast for sleepy people, and I saw that one of the rear cars was smoking. It smelled awful.

While we were waiting in Grosvenor, the station manager started bitching at us over the intercom for asking what was going on.

They pulled the crippled train into the switchback, and we got on the next train.

That one made it to Bethesda when the driver started asking passengers in one car to close the doors manually or he'd have to offload us.

But we made it, and no one even had to get out and push.

Best ride in the nation, indeed.


Anonymous said...

AMEN! I think you have expressed my fears exactly -- if WMATA is at the brink of a downward spiral. I hope they start making better decisions!

Anonymous said...

It doesn't help that at the Woodley Park Metro station off-peak fares were being charged last night.

My normally 1.65 commute showed up as 1.35 at the faregate (6pm). As did the person in front of me.

Anonymous said...

They need to get their act together!!

When are the street cars in operation??

Anonymous said...

if metro had shown ANY sign of doing ANYTHING better, they might be able to raise fares without too much moaning. sadly that ain't whats goin on.

dcgrrl said...

Metro's letting the business they know best slip through their fingers. All these "extra" bus lines around town should belong to WMATA...

J. Thomas said...

Wait, I'm confused.

Didn't they *just* want to raise salaries a little bit ago?

Anonymous said...

Metro's Board needs to be replaced.. Jim Graham has been an embrassment to the city. too many decision behind closed doors...too many optomistic revenue forcasts just bad budgetting by staff and bad governace

Anonymous said...

With budgeting strategies like this one, they are really on a roll... an EYE roll...

Metro riders not tossing cards with cash on them
December 7, 2009 - 9:33am
on WTOP posted from:
Information from: The Washington Examiner,

It used to be that Metro expected 5 percent of fares wouldn't be used. (AP) WASHINGTON (AP) - Metro riders are leaving less money on their fare cards.

Metro says the shift means it cannot count on an estimated $11 million in next year's proposed budget. In the past, Metro banked on the fact riders would throw away fare cards with a few cents left......


Anonymous said...

LOVE the photo! I'd give that kitty a hug. Not metro but I would the kitty.

Anonymous said...

oh no! Not only the Wash Post - Now WTOP is pickin on Metro. They has a sad. Again. AND they got a Senator in on it too! (Must be those aliens taking over of course since we all know Metro is jes' fine... )

Senator rips Metro at congressional hearing
December 10, 2009 - 1:55pm

WASHINGTON - Lackadaisical. Passive. A pattern of lip service.

That's how Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) described the management at Metro during a hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday.

"My observation of Metro management is they think that having a meeting about the problem is solving the problem," Mikulski said.

The stinging criticism....

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