Friday Quesion of the Day – How’s Your Experience on Metro?

Photo from PoPville flickr user Bogotron

Yesterday I mentioned that I attended a blogger round table discussion with WMATA chief John Catoe. Then we all learned he was resigning. But many of the bloggers were expressing huge complaints that they personally faced and/or problems their readers have faced. Granted I don’t ride the metro that often anymore, but still I have been very happy with the Green Line/Yellow Line service. Knock wood, knock wood, I can’t remember the last time I encountered a big problem. Though when I was taking the Orange Line I do recall numerous occassions when I wanted to never ride metro again.

So I guess this is a multipart question – first do you think metro is doing a good job in general since the tragic metro crash in June (if you do have problems please mention which line you have problems on)? Second, do you think replacing the WMATA chief will improve the service? And third, given the budget problems, would you rather see a 10 cent increase or a reduction in some service lines?

82 Comment

  • Junk the present system. Start a Regional Transportation Authority or Metro North/Port Authority as in Chicago, or NY etc. Something that can tax on its own rather been this silly creature beholden to DC, MD and Va.

    • Can anyone tell me why the city is putting in a streetcar system when the metro is so messed up? Why not just make the metro more awesome and have more customers?

      Do we need yet another option of crappy transportation service?

      • Because WMATA and DDOT are two completely separate entities. DDOT is running the streetcars for DC only, while many of WMATA’s problems stem from it being a tri-jurisdiction entity. The city doesn’t run Metro.

  • whatever they do — for goodness sake DO NOT cut service after 9 PM …. scr#@ Graham .. I can afford the 10 cents … if the trains run every 30 min I will give up on Metro

  • I love how i always see metro workers standing around doing nothing.

  • I will pay the 10 cents. No schedule cut!

  • Well I definitely would not want reduced service because I find myself waiting a while for trains anyway, but overall I’m satisfied with Metro.

    That said, safety is probably more important than saving 5 minutes a day in travel time, so I’d actually be curious to hear what the status is on the track/sensor problems that caused the June crash?

    Maybe the info is around I just live in a bubble or something…but I remember for a while they were manually driving the trains. I understand that given that the sensor system is apparently not very good, but it seems like manually driving the trains might not be the safest thing either.

    • they’re still operating in manual mode. NTSB still doesn’t know exactly what went wrong. my guess is they’ll never know, so i’m not sure what it would take to get metro to get off running on manual, but i don’t really have a problem with it. the problems i encounter seem to be with train/car malfunctions in general (doors not behaving properly, etc.) also, way too many of the people manning the booths are flat out rude. i remember one eurpean tourist asked one of these folks a question once at mcpherson square and got a typical rude response, and couldn’t believe a subway worker would be so blatantly lazy/rude. i felt bad for him, but all to often, that’s metro.

  • No service cuts! Particularly late at night. If I wanted a half hour between rides I’d take the bus. I’ll pay the ten cents. The red line’s been ok but the audio system in the cars still sucks and the drivers, although they have improved, still do not get on the speakers enough to explain why they are just sitting there at the station and not moving. A little conversation goes a long way in preventing a bad mood from getting worse.

  • I wish they would enforce the rules, I am sick of having to smell peoples McDonalds and avoid sitting in what previous passengers left on the seats or floor. I also dont want to hear how bad your musical taste is when you decide that the best use of your phone is to play 30 second clips of shitty songs.

  • On my regular commute, I travel early rush in the morning (between 7 & 8am) on the Green/Yellow 14 stops. For my evening commute (between 5-6:30 pm) several days a week I have a 17 stop commute after a transfer to the red line and then a final evening post rush (8-9pm) return home of 6 stops and a transfer to a crosstown bus. I would much rather pay the additional 10 cents than have my commute lengthened by increased headways.

    As for the service I have experienced, I have had the occasional off load due to malfunctioning doors or trains and encountered a few delays while on the train, but in general I have smooth commutes on the Green/Yellow and slightly less smooth rides on the red line. No system is perfect, but if it becomes more time efficient to ride my bike, I will be getting a lot more fit and Metro will be losing my $9/day.


  • Metro is in a true crisis. They haven’t officially determined a cause of the crash, so they’re still running manually. The ten cents is not nearly enough to prevent service cuts, but declining ridership makes a bigger rise nonfeasible.

    It’s a false choice. We’ll get both fare raises and noticeable service cuts, certainly within a year.

  • Not sure why anyone, especially anyone who read this blog, waits for a train or bus anymore now that you can track real-time arrivals on the web!

  • I generally don’t like the Metro. I’m lucky enough that I live near my office so I can walk or ride my bike. It’s somewhat dirty. It’s either extremely packed or late. I don’t understand why it doesn’t run overnight as there are riders who live in MD and VA that need to access the District at various hours. The workers seem generally lazy, equipment is always under repair, and don’t even get me started on all the accidents. The only thing I do like about the Metro is that I’m 4-5 stops away from the airport, which is convenient when traveling. I agree with the first post regarding a regional transit. Coming from Chicago, I know a good transit system when I see one. Don’t get me wrong they all have their issues at some point, but Metro takes the cake for me. Don’t ride it, if I absolutely don’t have to.

  • I used to walk to work….30 minutes each way. I didn’t even know how to catch a bus, and my forays onto the metro happened every 1 or 2 months. Since November, however, when I moved to Petworth, I have been taking the green line to work. My only issue thus far is with Chinatown/Gallery Place and the red line. Sometimes, it is such a hassle to get on and go two stops (Farragut North), I just walk the 20 minutes to work instead. Plus, it reminds me of when I used to walk everywhere….that was the best!

    I may get a bike this spring, so I’ll have another option, especially when the weather is nice.

    • I’m doing the same commute. Grrr, Gallery Place is f’in madness.

      I will admit though, when it’s reasonable outside, the walk from Mt. Vernon Square to Farragut is pretty nice (always taken when I hear of delays before getting to Chinatown).

    • I don’t understand why they only run 6 car trains on the red line during AM rush hour. I have the same commute-transfer from green to red at Gallery Place and then get off at Farragut North. It is rare that I am able to get on the first red line train that comes by since the platform is so crowded. Last week I managed to get on the 5th train that passed by.

  • I was not expecting so many people to advocate against service cuts because I figured most people ride during rush hour and dont care about the service post 9PM. Personally, I dont care about service cuts but since most of you do, I will just suck it up and pay the extra 10 cents. I dont know about everybody else but I have to pay 4.35 each way to get to work (Columbia Heights to Franconia Springfield). Thats almost 9 dollars a day and that shit adds up.

  • houseintherear

    My station is Shaw, and I don’t see a lot of issues on the green/yellow lines. There are longer waits for trains lately, from what I can tell.

    I’ll pay an extra $.10, sure, but only if it means better service for the entire city.

    p.s. It would be a nice change to pay a flat rate per ride… But I know it’ll never happen.

    • It does seem there are longer waits on the G/Y lines. I, personally waited 8 minutes this morning at 8:00a — which is smack in the middle of rush hour. That train was packed.

      Sadly, your 10 cents won’t make for better service, it’ll just stop the bleeding.

      Also, switching to a flat rate would screw us that live in the city.

  • This morning it took about 15 minutes to get from New York Ave to Union Station, because a train at Union Station had to be offloaded. This is the third time this week this happened.

    I don’t think ten cents will help. The last fare/parking hike didn’t.

    I live in Maryland and take Metro to work. I need to find a new job closer to home that I can drive to.

  • I haven’t had any problems with the service so much. But whats the problem with all the escalators recently? I swear whoever has that repair contract has quite the racket going.

    • For REAL. I’m pretty sure ever single escalator at Gallery Place has gone out this week. Combined with the packed-ness, it’s been real.

    • Metro escalator repairs are not contracted out anymore.

      Escalator repair work is done in house by Metro union employees.

  • can anyone tell me why the YELLOW line goes to Ft totten NOT DURING RUSH HOUR?
    Seriously MTA? Lets not run the line longer when there is more people and you can alleviate some of the uber-congestion on green line during rush hour. Lets instead have empty yellow trains terminating at Mt.Vernon and just CRAM the green line but then when no one is riding THEN run two trains for the busiest stations.

    And I LOVE how the green line full of passengers stops to let the empty yellow train crossing the track go first.

    I also LOVE how the train stops at the station and then needs to move 8 inches — I am aware it makes aLL the difference in the world.

    Finally, I love waiting for a green line train for 13 minutes at 11 pm and then stopping between stations while being informed there is a train ahead of us at the station. Really? This train was just standing there for 15 minutes?

    • Well, the answer to your first question is: not enough train cars. Sad but true. I agree, though, that corridor needs way more service during rush hour. Will point out though, that the move during off-peak was to shorten headways through the corridor off-peak; before, 12-16 minutes was standard at any time other than rush hour.

      Your last point – I’ve definitely experienced that, and it definitely makes no sense whatsoever.

    • There is also a need for Yellow trains to head south across the Potomac. If you make the yellow go all the way to FT, which is the only other place they can switch directions aside from Mt. V^2, you’ll just get people going the opposite direction complaining as much as you.

      Ridership is greater on the track south of Pentagon than it is between FT and the Convention Center. So it makes sense that WMATA makes the choices it does given the trains they have.

  • dear metro,
    add a colored car at one end of the train with no seats, just hand rails for bikers, wheelchairs and bulk standing traffic during rush hour. make bikers pay extra to bring their bikes on the metro if you have to.

    • THIS is what they should waste their money on?

      Why dont you put your bike on a truck on a ship and combine even MORE modes of transportation. Just RIDE YOUR BIKE where you want the metro to take you…

  • First thing: Metro loses money with every rider anyway. Your ticket covers about 50% of the cost of running the system. The rest is made up for in subsidies from the 3 jurisdictions. So late night is exceedingly expensive on a per rider basis. I’d be surprised if the union didn’t negotiate a higher salary for the late night shift. I understand the drunk vs. metro argument and agree, but I think late night should be a surcharge to have reliable service since it’s a smaller group of people.

    Second thing: The $0.10 is to stop the bleeding. It doesn’t restore the system to financial solvency. Don’t expect things to get any better, expect things to get “less worse”. Metro’s employees aren’t getting any better until DC gets new WMATA board members who are less union friendly. Also, Metro needs more “beat cops”. The Orange line has always been bad, but it’s awful with the HS kids right now. Potomac Ave metro is a thieves playground. I’m sure GP is the same. I think WMATA and DCPS have to find a solution for identifying and monitoring kids. Kids will be kids, but right now their is no one enforcing any kind of community behavior because they travel in packs.

    I haven’t figured out exactly why a 6 car train costs any less than an 8 car train, but I smell BS. If I were metro and I wanted more money, I’d make it as uncomfortable as possible for the existing ridership.

    When metro was first started it was a class act. While the NY subway was turning into a moving ghetto in the 80’s, the DC subway was safe and clean. We’ve lost that edge and I’m afraid that it will take a long time to get back. I’m 100% sure that until we select new rep’s in DC, the problems will persist.

  • I’ll pay $.10 more. I really only have two specific complaints about metro – first, the planning of the Gallery Place station was not good. Trying to transfer from Green to Red is a nightmare. Second, I don’t understand why the yellow line trains only go to Mt. Vernon Square during the evening rush hour, but all the way to Ft. Totten during the off-hours. Oh, and I also can’t believe the escalator at Gallery Place is STILL broken. So I guess that’s three complaints.

  • @Ragged Dog: 6 car trains use 75% of the traction power (power to move the train) of an 8 car train. Also, during weekend service from 2-3AM, the rush hour fare is charged. Personally I think they should extend that to maybe midnight, I’m not sure how that would affect late-night ridership though.

    @Anonymous 9:01AM: There are not enough trains to run rush hour service to Fort Totten AND keep the time between trains short enough for rush hour.

    Service on the Red and Orange lines sucks during rush hour because they’re running the trains in manual mode. They just can’t run the trains as fast or as close together in manual mode as with the automatic train control. Hopefully once NTSB releases their report on the crash WMATA can get some capital funding to fix the train control system. The Green/Yellow lines haven’t been impacted by this as much because the trains are more spread out during rush hour.

    • whats the point if the yellow trains arrive often if they are EMPTY. Maybe then the green line could come slightly less frequently but it would make the commute better for MOST passengers

  • I don’t ride Metrorail as often as I used to, but it seems like lately, almost every time I do use it, there is a delay. Like Wednesday evening at 5:30, when a Shady Grove-bound train didn’t arrive at Farragut North for 10 minutes, and because they were so packed, I had to wait for the third train before I could board. Now I realize this sort of delay isn’t the end of the world, but when I used the trains on a daily basis five years ago, this sort of delay was MUCH rarer than it is today.

    Not being able to rely on Metro to get me to work on time everyday without leaving extremely early is why I drive to work now. And I know I’m not alone.

  • My commute to and from Chinatown used to suck until I moved to Ft. Totten. Now I have my choice between Green and Red (and yellow during off hours). I nearly always have a seat. I may be in the minority, but Metro isn’t that bad unless it is outside of rush hour…or if you are on the Shady Grove side of the platform at Chinatown during the evening rush hour. Since they started pulling the trains all the way to the front, the platform is beginning to look like the thunderdome. Far more dangerous than a door opening in the tunnel.

  • I bought a car because Metro’s service is so unreliable. If anything, they cause more congestion on DC roads than they alleviate with the way the buses operate. I haven’t been on the Metro in over 2 months and I live within walking distance of a station. Until things change drastically, I will continue driving to where I need to go.

    • that just makes no sense. A bus twice the size of the car carries the same amount of people as 20 cars. Even if they went 10 mile per hour and stopped at every block it would still be less traffic than with all those people driving.

      • Not even remotely true. Traffic lane obstructions cause knock on effects. Look at the highway. You put another 100 cars on the highway, and everyone just moves slower and is more crowded. You have someone slam on the brakes and come to a full stop every mile, and all of a sudden you have a mess.

        • Right.. The point is NO (or much less) CARS. ARe you too good to take public transportation?

          • I think Ragged Dog was agreeing with you that buses alleviate congestion.

            And a bus actually holds as many people as like 50 cars, given that most of those cars you see on the road during rush hour have one person on them.

  • Agreed on Ft. Totten being the answer to all transit woes — living on multiple lines is the key to metro happiness. I’m satisfied with the service overall. Are there times when it could be better? Sure, but that’s true with pretty much everything. I’m not in favor of fare hikes, but i’ll pay them. It beats driving any day of the week.

  • I come into the city from Bethesda and am slowly but surely losing my patience for the Red line. Do I really have to wait 8 minutes during morning rush hour? And I am SICK & TIRED of weekend construction! Finish it up already!

    And don’t get me started on the Bethesda escalators. I don’t mind short ones, like Gallery Place, but this one is a different story. A few months ago there was a day when neither the elevator nor escalator were working. I’m young, I’m semi-in shape, but if I was 45 years old? I’d be stuck down there!

    /end rant/

  • I took the train from Fairfax to Petworth every day for over a year.

    There were always delays. People kept commiting suicide on the Orange Line.

  • I have no problems with metro, its not the best or worse metro I been on. I can’t help to laugh at the people complaining about 8min and 10min delays. I can see complaining about 20min or more. I have had train delays in Chicago and NY.


    check it out!

  • 1) I think metrorail has done a good job in general since the crash (I ride the red line in a reverse commute), sometimes the long evening waits for connections to the green line are a pain but I see that as due to insufficient funding not poor management, definitely nothing that would cause me to take up driving. 2) No – Catoe’s departure will probably make service worse if anything. 3) I’d prefer an increase on rush hour fares to anything else (while I can pay 10 cents more perhaps many in the city can’t).

  • I’m tired of over-crowded buses passing me by on the coldest days of the year. But I’ll pay 10 cents to keep even this crappy service because I can’t imagine the service getting worse. And it beats hailing a cab when I can’t take the cold or the delay in my commute!

  • also…

    OH MY GOD you guys complain a lot! first of all.. EVERY MASS TRANSIT SYSTEM IN THE WORLD has delays/repair etc. issues. I think dcmetro does a good job of warning us if there will be track repair…

    also… stop whining. NOW! you all sound like a bunch of frikin spoiled children.

    dc metro is cheaper than most other systems i have used — NY, London, Paris, Tokyo… and its safe and relatively clean. If you hate the trash you see in the trains/platforms, i dont know, try PUTTING IT IN THE TRASH.

    you people who say “WHAAA it took me ten minutes to get to union station from new york avenue” — you will NEVER be happy in life. period.

    sorry… i just get worked up. i think we should all be grateful we have metro at all.

    • I’m with you, Tony. I like reading what people have to say on PoP, but the consistent moaning is something I can’t understand. Are commenters this way in person, too? Because if so, I’d rather not meet them. It seems to be a product of affluence, the spoiled American children who want everything their way, and NOW.

      You people need to get some perspective. Go live in Haiti for a while and count your damned blessings. I am happy for the little things every single day. I suggest you miserable, unhappy jerks do the same, or just slit your wrists right now.

      • Go live in Europe or Some asian cities and tell me you shouldn’t complain. Europeans have 100x better mass transit and it’s much cheaper.

        Just cuase you have it better than 3rd world doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try for better.

        • It’s not a matter of “trying for better.” And it’s not just a matter of mass transit. It’s the culture of complaint, the constant pissing and whining about silly things, that is rampant here.

          The espresso isn’t hot enough! My shirts have too much starch! They’re not putting in a French restaurant above the Petworth metro! January has been too cold!

          Boo hoo. I’d rather be stupid and happy than a finicky wuss like many posters here.

          • Public transportation in this city is pretty much the only thing I openly complain about. (If a city like Moscow can operate a world class metro system, DC should be able to figure out how to do it, but I haven’t gotten the impression that the people in charge have looked to better systems to figure out how to do it. I’ll stop complaining when they improve the service I’m paying them $6/day for.)

          • the way i see it is if the whiny people keep complaining then things will get better.
            and i don’t have to be a whiny ass to enjoy that stuff getting better.

            it takes all kinds of people to make the world go round. even whiny people.

  • I live off the Green Line, but I own a car and drive to work (in non-metro-accessible Arlington). Although it is frequently much faster to drive places in DC rather than take public transit, it is also frequently more costly ($17 garages), time-consuming (hunting for a 2 hour zoned space), and annoying (traffic) to drive in this city. Given the option of driving or taking the metro, I would gladly pay a metro fare and take the time to ride the system in DC, delays and all. I wish it ran 24 hours. I wish it didn’t take me 45 minutes to get to Foggy Bottom (where I do occasionally work – I can drive there in 15, but can’t park), but at the same time, I’m quite thankful that I have the option of leaving my car at home when it comes to running errands and going out in the city.

    I’ll take a 10-cent fare hike, and hope that mitigates some of the service cuts – although I own a car, I’m not driving to go out for drinks, taxi cabs aren’t in my budget, and I don’t like riding my bike on the street late at night. Metro it is.

  • Oh hell, here come all the complaints.

    Myself, I have been riding Metro every work day for over 11 + years. I take the Green line and before that opened up I took the bus – S2, S5, etc. I have been off loaded, delayed, stuck in traffic, missed trains, missed connections, smashed on the head with an empty pizza box, threatened by jerks and psychos, etc. But I think there is no better way to commute to work. I get sick of the rowdy “youts”, the folks eating on the trains and those morons on their cellphones, talking loudly or playing music out loud from them. But, well, that’s what it is like living in a densely populated city. Sure Metro has problems and they need to be addressed. But it seems to me that the main problem is that folks from the inner suburbs and outer suburbs just resent talking public transportation and so the slightest delay or mishap is the gas to their smoldering fire. People tend to forget how much the Metro is used (daily ridership 998,000) , second behind NYC (7,430,400) and before CTA (676,000) – but there is a little less track than the CTA and quite a few less stations and a lot less lines. take a look:
    So it gets crowded. Also folks in DC tend to commute at the same time – between 7 and 8:30am and 5 – 6:30pm. Mainly because that fits the Fed. Govt. core work hours and other DC businesses tend to follow those guidelines. Some of the crowding could be lessened by employers offering some flexibility.
    Metro was not really designed for what it now is – an inner urban subway system, people going from one part of DC to another. It was designed to bring commuters into DC for work and take them back out to the ‘burbs afterwards (that’s why the cars are more like “train cars” with seats, as opposed to bench seats – the first thing they need to change about the car designs – more bench seats). It used to do that very well, but now the city and needs have changed. With that in mind, I think it handles it pretty damn well..considering how it is ham strung with the silly political situation that it often is in.

  • I’ve been taking metro for years and dont have major complaints other than what seems like incredibly frequent maintenance work at times when I want to get places. I commute by bus and generally I’m happy except all the traffic which I mostly attribute to stupid commuters driving in. If they make any changes it needs to be to expand service not cut it except maybe in very off peak hours. I would happily pay $2 a trip for an on-time functioning metro system.

  • Metro needs massive capital investment. There simply aren’t enough trains. I’m lucky because I live in Petworth and have a short commute with no transfer, but I feel sorry for the Orange and Red line commuters from outside the city.

    For the long term, demand for transit will only rise as we are likely to move into an era of structurally high oil prices. Transit was neglected in the past years of sprawl and overconsumption. We need a massive nationwide investment in all our systems. We’re leveraged to the automobile in an unsustainable way.

    I lived in Houston during the gasoline spike of 2007 and that was a major burden on everyone for a city with massive sprawl and inefficient transit.

    On an individual level, commuters should lobby their individual workplaces to implement teleworking at least one day a week.

    And for all you scab f@#$%ks who blame the workers, think about this: don’t you want well-compensated, healthy workers driving your trains and buses? That only makes sense.

    • Oh please, cry me a river. The Transportation Union owns at least 50% of this mess. Saying “I can’t do my job because I want to get paid more is BS”. The workers metro has are fully capable of running a better show, but they chose not to because the TU tells them they’re getting screwed and they all win their appeals when metro management tries to discipline them for messing up. It’s an attitude problem and more money is only a temporary fix for a bad attitude. Being replaced tends to sharpen the mind a lot more permanently.

  • I’d rather pay 10 cents and maintain the current service level.

  • I agree that the yellow line should turn around at Ft. Totten 24/7, rather than just off-peak. Yellow line trains at rush hour are empty, and green line trains are packed. Running the yellow line a couple extra stops would alleviate that, as 75% of green line riders have exited by Petworth. The yellow line is over-served and under-used, and in a system as crammed as this one, that’s inexcusable mismanagement.

    That’s my main complaint. It’s galling to wait 10 minutes for a green line train, and watch two mostly-empty yellows roll past in the meantime.

    I still think that metro is a relative bargain, for those of us who live in the city. (can’t speak for the higher fares paid by folks who live further out.) Semi-realistic improvements I’d like to see include escalator repair, better security, and better late night service.

  • I sort of agree with the sentiment about people complaining about having to wait 8 minutes! Um, in NYC (which I always seem to hear people saying is soooo much better) I would routinely have to wait that long in rush hour. Also, in the evening it wouldn’t be uncommon for me to wait for a few trains to go by before I hopped on one due to crowded trains. I waited many a time for 30-45 minutes for a train to come.

    There were delays, transit work, and trains that would stop service right in the middle and everyone would have to unload and wait for the next train. A constant barrage of people begging for money, unheated and non-air conditioned platforms…. the list goes on and on. Train cars that smelled so bad from 1 homeless person riding in it that no one could even ride in one whole train car. The station closest to my apartment smelled like human shit all the time.

    I thought I was living in some sort of fantasy world when I moved to DC.

    As a frequent bus and metro rider the 2 things I would really like to see are 24 hour service and unlimited monthly passes. Yes, I wouldn’t mind a fare increase.

  • As i said below.. whats the point of making the yellow go often if it is empty?

    • It looks empty to you only because you’re not seeing the part of the yellow line that people are riding.

      Sure, there’s nobody on the yellow line to Mt. Vernon when you see it waiting at Gallery Place. Take a look across the platform at all the people getting on the train to go south into Virginia. That’s the part of the system the Yellow Line serves during rush hour – people going from the southern part of the system (Blue/Yellow) and transferring to the red or orange/blue at Gallery Place or L’Enfant to get to the rest of the system.

    • Emmaleigh504

      I wouldn’t have to change trains is the yellow went all the way to the end during rush hour. I would love that. I could miss the Gallery Place cluster fuck all together.

  • Overall the DC metro is great. Y’all are just a bunch of whiney bitches

  • I’m generally happy with the service – Over 10 years riding now – 8 on the red line and 2 now on the Green – and the “major” incidents over that time are far outnumbered by a generally reliable service.
    My complaint about the Green line is the same a few others have mentioned – that the yellow doesn’t go further in peak hour. The Green line is super crushed!! Even if they ran 4 car trains further than Mt Vernon it would help.
    I would pay 10 cents more.

  • Some of the problems people seem to be experience – Not enough cars/bus leading to overcrowding, construction, not enough cops, maintenance of cars/tracks, etc.- relate back to money. And the current funding system/stream worked better when the system was smaller and serviced fewer people. Now that system/stream is frayed and alternatives seem to be a non-starter for multiple reasons.

    Obviously some problems like rude managers and some safety issues are a management issue that could be dealt with better management. But no matter who the manager is, there will be issues that can’t be fixed only possibly mitigated to a certain degree without money. Any system that handles that many people is going to have constant problems so if anyone is expecting 4 min waits with the ability to sit and 100% working elevators/escalator, no maintenance delays, 24-hour service, etc they are fooling themselves.

  • No one has ever hit me over the head with a pizza box. I guess i really have nothing to complain about.

  • The cost of electricity to run an extra car is a miniscule part of the overall budget. The cost of the driver is the largest outlay when the train is moving… by FAR.

    If the cost of a 6 vs 8 car train was such a big deal, then metro could run a 1-2 car train off peak and save a bundle.

    • The could, except for the time and labor it takes to decouple cars, which is a significant line item. The thought of moving to only 6-car trains was to alleviate this.

  • At least there are no panhandlers and beggars on the trains, such as in NYC. I wonder if Metro just shoos them away.

  • PoP do you know if there are/ why there are no tolls in the entire metropolitan area?

    With this, the public transportation authority could improve service, increase ridership and reduce fees.

    I know commuters will obviously HATE this but for one it is better for the environment and two it will make the commute easier and better for the entire city assuming no corruption and extended service (though the city may have to improve service preemptively). Thoughts?

    • MD and VA congressional delegations block this every time. I’ve never seen a toll on a city street anywhere in the US, only highways. If you tax the bridges, it’s unfair to VA commuters and they’ll all be driving 3/4 of the way around 495 to come in from the MD side.

      My nonscientific poll of cities I’ve lived in is that public transportation works when you spend 2x as long trying to find a parking spot as your total commute time.

  • After years of riding the metro every day to work and back, over an hour door to door and through price increases to a final total of $6.40 (if I didn’t detour) a day, to travel from the NW to Bethesda, I broke down and started driving. I get there in less than half the time (generally 25 minutes vs 1hr10), park for a dollar less, and my stress level is so much lower during the mornings and evenings. I couldn’t be happier and I doubt I’d ever go back.

    My gas usage may be more than a dollar a day, but only by pennies if that, and I’ve reclaimed an hour of my day at the very least.

  • I’ve been commuting by Metro for the last five years. I took the bus to work my first three or four years in DC and hated the banana bunching.

    Good points of Metro:
    NextBus! I lurv this service. I live almost a mile from Metro and usually walk. But with this bitter cold, the NextBus has been a finger-and-toe saver. (even thick gloves can’t protect fingers)

    Usually the Red Line is reliable.

    Bad points:
    It just feels like it’s been falling apart for the last year. In the last month, I’ve seen more offloads on uncrowded trains because of door defects. The smarttrip decals are peeling off the scanner. I’m glad I don’t ride the orange line because it feels like there is at least one announcement a week of delays on it. Everything seems dirtier and grimier. The platforms are more crowded because the trains seem to run less frequently.

  • My understanding is Metro was never designed to handle the current volume of users (especially rush hour users.) What can you really do when there is no third track to use as an express line? (they did not leave space to build third track) There is no quick way to address an out of service train so as not to interrupt service = flawed planning

    I am only recreational Metro user since I commute out of DC by car. It works great especially for Gallery Place, Ball Games etc. It is cleaner and quieter than NYC. Better than Marta (Atlanta) How does it compare to BART / Chicago?

  • I am Happy overall, but ever since they switch to manual the trains throw you around, it used to be smooth ride. Also, getting in/out of the Red line trains at Gallery place can be very dangerous. The platform gets so crowded that people can easily fall into the tracks, especially if some sort of panic develops. I think they can better control the flow by having exiting people walk one side, and the rest on the other, also the use of 8 car trains during rush hour will definitely help by providing more room and preventing accidental fall into the tracks.

    • The red line platform at Gallery Place is getting dangerous. Waiting for the train this morning, nearly got pushed into the tracks due to the crowding (of course, there was a train that went out of service at Judiciary Square, leaving us with no train for 15 minutes). And by nearly, I mean, I was flailing to stay balanced after getting pushed. At the very minimum, they should have the train only pull up even with the rear (on the Shady Grove side; the Glenmont side is less terrible in this regard), where the junction to the green/yellow transfer lies. But that would make sense, something WMATA hasn’t really been good at lately.

  • I have very few complaints about the train service. I think that with the increased volume of passengers using the Green and Yellow lines, they should have the Yellow line going to Fort Totten all the time, not just during “off peak” hours.
    My biggest complaint is with what I call the Washington Metro Escalator Repair Full Employment Program. I’ve lived in Petworth for 4 years and for most of that time at least one of the escalators at the GA Ave/Petworth metro has been out of service. About a year ago, they were taken out of service for several months for a complete overhaul. I assumed that this meant they would be functional when they got back in service. No such luck. It seems like some of the escalators in the Metro exist primarily as a means to keep escalator repair people employed.

  • Extend rush hour yellow back to the full extent of it’s route. The crush of people on the green from the Convention Center to about Columbia Heights is crazy. Extending the yellow just to even U Street would make thing so much more balanced.

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