38 Comment

  • I was on the train behind the ones with door problems at Judiciary Square. We sat for at least 15 minutes in the tunnel waiting for them to either fix the door or offload so we could become the first train after the mess to pick up the stranded at JD Square, and then arrive at Gallery Place. When we got to Gallery Place it of course was untenable. Couldn’t exit the train because the platform was packed. After those of us who could finally made our way to freedom, I noticed there were two metro police officers just being there casually walking in the open space, seemingly not able to do anything efficacious to help solve the mess.

    If I ran metro and this happened with the frequency that it does, I’d have the authorities clear the platform, halt entry into the station, and form a “line” and only let folks into the train loading/unloading area that can be accommodated, wheel chairs, elderly, cane carriers, those with small children, get entry first. The free for all mentality with no management or authority intervention is just nuts. Complete chaos, riders feeling they are trapped, no feeling that there is any sense of anyone having the ability to manage it.

    But we all got home safe and sound, right!?

  • maxwell smart

    It’s exactly these situations which promoted me to give up on Metro over a year ago – it’s either bike, bus, or car/cab for me. The panic induced stress of never knowing if I am going to make it from A to B alive on WMATA is too much. At this point, I am hoping that with the reduced local governement funding, the inability to find a new manager and the recent FTA report, that WMATA completely crumbles – what little of it still actually functions that is. It’s embarrassing that the nation’s capital was one of, if not the worst, metro systems in the US.

    • If you’re truly avoiding Metrorail because you fear for your life, you should know that Metrorail is much safer than car/cab and bike.

    • Accountering

      So you are honestly hoping that Metro just ceases to exist? You think it would be in your (and the regions) best interest to literally just let our 100 billion dollar asset just crumble and disappear? I can’t believe this is a serious comment.

      • Accountering, I think people are highly skeptical that the solution is to give these people more money when they have proven time and again that they will mismanage it and outright use it for the wrong purposes. How long have been doing weekends now, and the reports coming out of NTSB, FTA, etc are showing that not only is there a huge backlog of maintenance, but there are very unsafe conditions and practices that have proliferated even after the 09 and Jan 15 disasters. The Post mentioned something about the control center people not even having checklists, manuals, and certifications- they do it all based on what they think is right “in their head.” Sorry, I don’t usually curse, but WTF?!! WAY BEFORE we talk funding, we need to talk management and personnel. I think that is why some of us would like to see Metro blown to shreds so that the government is forced to address it. Right now, we’re limping along and no one is making a move to improve things. Even if we get a top notch new manager, there is too much of a bad culture deeply engrained in this organization that is proving its undoing.

        • I highly doubt Accountering is advocating that we should “throw more money at the problem.”

  • I don’t even know what to say anymore. Metro needs to stop being a jobs program. We tried it, but it’s been a disaster. It’s time to make this an actual transportation system. Declare bankruptcy to get out from under the yoke of the union (and all its crazy work and pay demands), fire the board, and start over. Could we just fire everyone and hire a Japanese contractor firm to come in until they can hire a good workforce who won’t commit criminal negligence with this system?

    • This is the best suggestion for rehabilitating metro I’ve seen so far.

    • I’d be OK with a Swiss management team, those people know how to run a train system!

    • THIS

      Cut back on back office management first, and add more to the “front line”. I know a few people who worked there and did nothing. But they worked in the back office.

      Add more bodies to the stations and maintenance. Run more trains. It reminds me of many US school systems that spend most of their money on back office administrators rather than front-line teachers.

  • Gallery Place-Chinatown is easily the worst designed station in the entire system. Putting the transfer point at the end of one track creates these ridiculous bottlenecks. Whomever designed this should be out of work.
    Also, they need to put the countdown screen (which shows the train length!) on all ends of the Red Line track. A major issue is that you don’t know if the next train is 6 or 8 cars, so everyone transferring from the Green/Yellow lines rush to the middle of the Red platform in order to “guarantee” that they are on the next train. If people knew that the next Red train was 8 cars, they would spread more evenly along the platform and not create such bottlenecks. Ugh, WMATA! 😡

    • maxwell smart

      Or even better – build a below-ground passage between Gallery Place and Metro Center so that people trying to transfer from Blue/Orange/Silver to Green/Yellow don’t have to ride the Red Line 1 stop to transfer. They figured that out in NYC long before the DC Metro was a twinkle in someone’s eye. That alone would reduce a lot of the issues at Gallery Place.

      • +1 the passage-way could be expensive, but in the long run, it would alleviate congestion on the red line between Metro Center and Gallery Place.

        • But the wear an tear on doors, escalators and other infrastructure due to crowding will likely be more. Plus – it’ll only become more necessary with time and also more expensive. Just build it already.

        • In the meantime, WMATA should allow for above-ground transfers between the stations like they do between Farragut North and West.

      • samanda_bynes

        or even better, have one escalator for people who specifically stand still on the left side that leads directly into a meat grinder.

      • I think the passageway is a good — though probably impractically expensive — idea.
        Are there people really riding the Red Line for one stop to get from the Blue/Orange/Silver line at Metro Center to the Green/Yellow line at Gallery Place? What with the wait time between trains and the time to traverse the platforms, wouldn’t it usually be more efficient to just transfer at L’Enfant Plaza?

        • maxwell smart

          I have seen it happen

        • People are definitely riding one stop on Red Line to transfer between Gallery Place-Chinatown and Metro Center. I saw it EVERYDAY when I commuted via Metro. People will wait in a climate controlled Metro station rather than deal with the heat/cold of walking a few extra blocks.

        • I see this every single day, especially in the morning when it’s not that crowded and it’s clear the same people getting on at MC get off at GP.

        • I’ve commuted to Bethesda everyday for the past 4 years either transferring at Metro Center or Gallery Place and people definitely do this. Unless you have a disability, idk why you would choose to fight the crowds at either of those stations if you can just get out and walk a few blocks….although, in the evenings a lot of times it’s people who are here for Nats or Caps games and they have no clue how far apart the stations actually are.

          • “idk why you would choose to fight the crowds at either of those stations if you can just get out and walk a few blocks” — Your fare will be considerably lower if you don’t exit the station than if you do. (Unless they’ve got Metro Center and Gallery Place rigged up like they do for Farragut North and Farragut West, where I believe you can “transfer” aboveground without the system considering it as two separate journeys.)
            “in the evenings a lot of times it’s people who are here for Nats or Caps games and they have no clue how far apart the stations actually are.” — Agreed. And even if they did want to try walking it instead, it would be easy for them to get lost once aboveground.

    • djdc

      I’ve seen this design complain often, and it’s not the fault of an incompetent designer. There are legitimate reasons behind it — I believe the underground foundations of the Portrait Gallery and the need for a tight turn are part of it. Anyway, there are explanations you can find on the web or in Zach Schrag’s book.

  • samanda_bynes

    gotta bike or walk. feel bad for dudes who gotta come in from VA.

  • this picture makes me so glad i can ride my bike.

  • I Dont Get It

    I’ve been cabbing in the morning and leaving a little early in the afternoon to avoid the Red Line peak. Just cannot handle Red Line nonsense right now.

  • I was in this mess yesterday. Total gridlock. Nobody could get off of the platform because there was such a large crowd coming from the green/yellow transfer trying to get onto the platform. I squeezed on the 8th car of a red line train because that was the only car that I could access, trying to transfer from the green line. Everyone packed into the car like sardines and by the time that we got to Farragut, there was a person in my car vomiting near the middle door…

  • This is indirectly related, but I’d love to know the % of people in the metro area who could effectively do their jobs by teleworking. I suspect the number is pretty large, and if that’s the case I don’t understand why all employers dont have a well thought out telework program. This should be a common feature, like paid leave. If more people teleworked at least they would suffer less Metro.

    • I think the issue relates to the CYA nature of management. If they can’t physically see the bodies working, they can’t control them. If they are not controlling the staff, then what’s the point of your job?
      This is an issue in both the private and public sector.

      • Yeah, true, although there are lots of ways to monitor/control staff (which makes it sound like employees are prisoners…which is kinda true) remotely via IM/email/texting/phone. I think many employers are too slow to catch up with the way people want to work now – and ultimately I think people will bypass these outdated companies for ones with modern policies.

      • Ugh totally agree. I could do most of my work from home. Most office jobs are all about meeting deadlines and completing projects on time, not actually working 40 hours a week so why does it really matter what time of day you’re doing something or if your body is at a desk for 8 straight hours? Although, I guess a lot of people like having the structure or they’d never get any work done…

  • Gave it up, some six years ago. Never looked back. Crime, safety concerns, broken equipment, nasty employees . . . . DangerRail $ucks!

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