“Today, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) released proposed recommendations regarding Metro’s rail service after the SafeTrack rebuilding initiative. Communications Director Kevin Harris released the following statement in response:
“Our position on WMATA’s late-night service has not changed: soon after SafeTrack, late night operations should resume. As the nation’s capital and home to over 670,000 residents, we need a Metro system that works for everyone – residents, workers, employers, and visitors. That means having a Metro that stays open late as the region continues to grow. The staff recommendation falls far short of what we owe all riders: a safe, reliable system that meets their needs.”
“This month, a new series of anti-harassment PSAs launched on the Metro and Metrobus system. The project is a collaboration between Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS), Stop Street Harassment, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
Please see the statement below from Jessica Raven, executive director of CASS, on the campaign and its significance in light of the recent spike in incidents of harassment against DC’s Muslim and transgender communities:
“Now, more than ever, our work to build safe public spaces is critical. Within the past few weeks, we’ve seen a spike in reports of harassment across our city — especially targeting people of color, LGBTQ and gender nonconforming people, and people who are part of multiple marginalized groups. Harassers take advantage of trains and buses as environments where their targets can’t easily escape, making public transit an important space to address the problem.
The new awareness campaign has three goals: (more…)
“Metro to remove 4000-series railcars after safety concern identified
Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld today ordered the immediate removal from service of all 4000-series railcars following the identification of a potential safety concern involving the train’s automatic train control (ATC) system that could result in a “false indication” to a train operator going undetected.
Metro’s ATC system keeps trains properly spaced and a safe distance from other trains by displaying “speed commands” on a control panel in the operator’s cab. When operating in “manual mode,” the train operator responds to the speed commands, which indicate the train’s maximum authorized speed relative to the train’s location and distance from other trains. Train operators receive “zero speed commands” — indicated by a double zero — when the train is not authorized to move (i.e. the equivalent of a “stop signal”).
Albeit remote, Metro railcar engineers believe the potential exists for an undetectable failure of the 4000-series ATC system control board that could result in improper speed commands being given to a train when a 4000-series car is in the lead position.
“Today’s action is being taken in an abundance of caution and, while we believe that the risk is small, it is a risk I am unwilling to take,” Wiedefeld said. “Everything we do here is going to put safety first, no matter what.”
As of 3:30 p.m., Metro is in the process of removing 4000-series cars from its mainline tracks. The process is expected to take several hours. (more…)
The bystanders who stood up for the guy being verbally attacked are my new heroes. The guy yelling is an ass (I recommend watching the video above, because the WaPo story doesn’t do it justice)”
Another reader writes:
“After [Thursday’s] altercation and several leading up to this week; I am seeking any advice/opinion I can find. The issues on metro (for me specifically) used to be few and far between…an issue I could seemingly avoid or somehow convince myself it was too infrequent to take immediate action. I say…just get home, take your dog for a walk and forget about the negativity.
Unfortunately, the metro buses have become increasingly hostile based solely on the color of skin since the election results this week.
This particular occurrence was on the back end of a double connector bus, X2 line; Three females, roughly 15-16 years of age. They got on the bus two stops after me in Chinatown and for the next 20 min until my stop ..they purposely sat beside / behind me…leaned extra hard into me at every ‘bump’ or turn (sometimes there wasn’t even a turn) and called me every white slur name they could think of …I put in my head phones to drown out the hate but I could feel her head close to mine in the seat behind me and she continued her mission to make me feel less than. When I ignored the comments she threw her trash into my seat. As I stood up to get off at my stop her friend blocked me in my seat so the other friend could scream ‘I know you’re a trump supporter **** insert words of choice’ …As she stood up and puffed out her chest…ready to fight… I knew any response/correction to her statement would be ignored and feed into her anger. Three against one..my odds weren’t good and fighting isn’t really my thing..Luckily the bus was crowded enough once I pushed my way around one person, there were several people now between us and I could exit the back door. I didn’t notice any adults on the bus make an attempt or comment to stop their behavior…equally as disappointing. I never know when a situation on the metro bus will escalate and violent behavior will follow…there seems to be no method of proactive protection on the bus lines and major over crowding during metro work. The road to Jan’s inauguration will be a long journey…I don’t see our communities frustration subsiding any time soon. (more…)
“IT IS time to consider a radical step to arrest what looks increasingly like a death spiral for Washington’s transit system: federal intervention and control. It is not just folly, but willful neglect, to wait any longer to see if Metro’s problems will somehow solve themselves. They won’t.”
What do you guys think – can the Feds save Metro? Or is there still time for General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld to make the necessary fixes?
“Calling it a Reality Check Budget Plan for FY18, Metro officials will present an austere recommendation to the Board’s Finance Committee at its meeting Thursday. The budget downsizes the workforce by an unprecedented 1,000 positions, cuts certain employee health care expenses, and rightsizes rail and bus services to support current ridership.
In preparing the $1.8 billion operating budget, General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld directed his executive team to fully fund key safety improvements, improve track and train reliability, sharply cut management and labor costs, outsource functions where possible, improve maintenance personnel productivity, and scale train and bus services to match existing ridership demand. The budget also funds stricter fare enforcement, a plan Wiedefeld calls Fair Fare Collection.
“Metro has to face reality when it comes to what the region says it can afford and direct those resources to best serve the riders we have today,” said Wiedefeld. “This plan has Metro doing everything in our power to get major expense categories under control while improving safety and making the trains run on time.”
After accounting for $50 million in projected savings through management and labor actions, Metro balances the budget through shared contributions distributed among all Metro stakeholders. While reducing its reliance on federal grant funds by $35 million, the operating budget assumes $60 million of grant funding of eligible maintenance expenses. Forecasting ridership that is down more than 20 percent from 2009 levels, rail service would be reduced, making trains less frequent during peak and off-peak travel times, but more reliable through aggressive rail car and track maintenance. In addition, about a dozen low-ridership bus routes are proposed for elimination.
As proposed, rail service beginning July 1, 2017, would operate as follows: (more…)
I usually like to bring cash to top off my SmarTrip card when it’s running low, but I forgot to grab a 20 out of my closet this morning so I used my credit card at the fare machines on the 7th Street side of the Shaw station.
First try: “Not approved.” Thinking it was a fluke, I tried again—no go. I moved to a different machine, same result. Gave up and got on the train anyway, since the $4 I had on my card would cover a one-way trip.
Got a text from Bank of America a couple minutes later with all three attempts listed as suspicious activity. BofA declined one of those attempts, but the second and third (one of which rang up as $0) were both approved by the bank, although the SmarTrip machine said they’d been declined.
It’s been said that when the going gets tough, the tough whip out their phones and fire off some snarky tweets. (more…)
Thanks to a reader for sharing a note sent to Metro about “a U Street Metro attendant who did something positive and deserves to be commended for it. It was simple, but meant so much to me:
I can’t thank you enough.
It may have been a routine thing for you, but your act of kindness meant the world to me.
I dropped my scarf while running to catch a late train, and you called after me as a man (whom I wish I could also thank) was returning it to me. I didn’t understand you at first as you yelled to me, and may have even seemed annoyed or ungrateful, but the fact that you made sure I received it was very much appreciated. I didn’t even fully process it until after it happened. You could have shrugged your shoulders or cared less, but you didn’t.
A very close friend gave the scarf to me many years ago, and I would have been devastated to lose it. The simple act of calling after me meant so much, and your kindness made me reevaluate my interactions with others. (more…)
“Expect large crowds, fewer trains and major delays along the entire Red Line.”
And may God have mercy on our souls.
Although GoDCGo offers (among other alternatives) something that just might be good for our souls:
“You can walk anywhere, but you can also take this opportunity to use the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Take it during the day for a direct route, about 3.7 miles, 82 minutes walking. This trail is accessible via the NoMa, Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland, Union and Takoma Metro stations. The best route on the northern side is on the Metropolitan Branch Trail toward MBT Stairs, see instructions here. The best route on the southern side is on Galloway St NE see instructions here.”