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“Farragut North Can’t Figure Out Escalators”

by Prince Of Petworth June 22, 2016 at 3:40 pm 23 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

This is Farragut North at K Street this morning. Three escalators: one going up (packed), one broken (empty), and one going down (empty). However, there is a huge line all the way down through the turnstiles to the train platform to exit the station. Yesterday, the station manager actually had to shut down the turnstiles and force people from this exit because it was too crowded. Seems like a real waste. No one is working on the broken escalator (gee, wouldn’t that be a useful staircase!) but there are four metro employees standing around escalator drinking soda. Wouldn’t it also be possible to turn off the down escalator and let people walk up/down since there are so few people entering the station? While today and yesterday were particularly bad, the escalator management at this station is a daily issue (and if you met the station manager, you wouldn’t be surprised why). There have been mornings where two of the escalators are going down with no one on them and one going up with a long line. It’s this sort of poor management that again demonstrates to me that without cleaning house at the station management level, we’re throwing good money after bad.”

Side note: Metro GM appoints new chief operating officer:

“Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld today announced the appointment of Joseph Leader as the new Chief Operating Officer (COO) in charge of rail, bus and paratransit services, effective August 1. Leader will also provide executive management of Metro Transit Police, parking and support services.

After 30 years in transportation operations, Joe recently served as a consultant to the General Manager/CEO on rail organizational and fleet management as an associate for Bianco Associates.

“Working with Joe on restructuring Metro’s rail operations gave me an opportunity to learn his strategic approach to operational safety, day to day safety culture, and his customer service orientation, which are consistent with the way I want Metro to conduct itself moving forward,” said Paul J. Wiedefeld. “I am pleased that Joe sees us as an organization that is changing and hungry for improvement, and that he is enthusiastic about taking on this crucial role.”

Until this year, Leader served as Senior Vice President of the Department of Subways, New York City Transit, which includes 27,000 employees, 800 track miles and 469 stations. He previously served as Chief of Safety Investigations for NYC Transit. Through a strong incident command structure and a solid safety and customer service culture, Leader and his team were credited with restoring service in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. He also led a comprehensive maintenance program that accelerated track work, and improved safety and productivity.

Leader has an electrical engineering degree from Manhattan College and serves as a local volunteer firefighter.

In a notice to Metro employees today, Wiedefeld thanked Jack Requa for his support as Acting COO, and said he will resume his role as Executive Managing Officer.”

  • Franklin

    Agreed…it boggles the mind how little thought most of the station staff seems to put into their day.

    How many times have I tried to leave a station but for some reason 6 of the 8 turnstiles were switched to “enter” when the rush hour line to exit the station was all the way back down to the platform when simply switching 2 or 3 more turnstiles would solve the problem. The station manager too busy staring at his phone in his booth.

    Or the trash. I know they are “supposed” to clean the stations daily but when I see the same pizza box half wedged in under one of the benches for more than 3 weeks, it brings some “doubt” into play in thinking they actually do.

  • Pixie

    I was stuck in this crowd this morning. It gets really bad when two red line trains stop here at the same time. Usually the broken escalator is left open so people can use it as stairs, but not this morning. Also this station has a bad water leak problem. There are always plastic garbage bins all over in effort to catch the water that drips from the ceiling.

  • sb

    when i worked at farragut north about 5 years ago, they kept both pre-turnstile k street escalators going up during morning rush and directed anyone entering the station there (very few people) around the upper platform to the other escalators. it seemed to work very well, but they don’t do that anymore so there’s always a backlog of people trying to get up the one escalator to the exit.

  • CHGal

    To be fair, an escalator that’s turned off isn’t always safe to walk on. Unless you know exactly what the problem is, you can be certain that’s an option.

  • reality

    Just because you happen to catch the workers “drinking a soda” doesn’t mean they’re not working on it.

    • OP

      They were absolutely not/not working on it. They didn’t even have tools with them. It was also blocked off the day before.

    • textdoc

      Eating and drinking isn’t permitted inside Metro stations (or on escalators).

    • Truxton Thomas

      I think the general quality of service at Metro stations denies them the benefit of the doubt.

  • j

    That entrance is disgusting. It ALWAYS reeks like urine (it’s overwhelming some days), there’s trash all over, and there’s a weird dripping as you go up the escalator to the right. Not to mention the chillers are out at the station, and there’s been some massive leak issue by the farecard machines for weeks. It’s so gross.

    • dean

      I came here to say same thing, stench is overwhelming to the extent I use other entrances most times. I have sent complaints in to Metro and they say they will look right into it!

      Between the smell, the dripping (water?) / slippery floors, and piles of trash the K Street entrance is an absolute disgusting experience.

      Oh, and I still get a laugh over them taking well over a year to even begin fixing the chillers, signs are up saying they will return to service soon but Ill believe it when I see it.

      • Anon

        The way the broken escalator is blocked off at street level and the random cones under the leaks on the entrance level also contribute to the clusterf entering and exiting the station. I feel like I’m going through an obstacle course every time I come and go. Anything that people could possibly do to annoy others (suddenly crossing in front of people getting off the escalator from the other lane, cutting in front of people to get on the escalator, escalefters, blocking the street entrance/exit, etc.) happens here non-stop.

  • ASLL

    My favorite is the Columbia Heights escalator which shut down in April with a sign reading: “New escalator coming in 2017.” Over 6 months? Really?

    • CH resident

      If you look at the signs in the station, it’ll be 9 months. Super fun.

    • DM

      I’m pissed about the Columbia Heights escalators in theory, but considering some moron put the two entrances literally across the street from each other, it’s only added about eight seconds to my commute.

      • FridayGirl

        +1. Never understood why people could just cross the street.

        • FridayGirl

          *couldn’t. (ugh, wednesday)

    • John B.

      And today (or was it yesterday?) there was an escalator going down at Columbia Heights but none going up, during evening rush hour. In warm, humid weather (and with the other entrance closed) that just makes no sense. Didn’t Metro have some rule about always have one escalator going up after somebody had a heart attack on a stopped escalator a few years ago?

  • It’s just me

    Honestly, I get the frustration, but the way the escalators are set up makes sense to me. You don’t know what is wrong with the broken escalator, so you don’t know if it is safe to walk on, so maybe it needs to be blocked off. As to an escalator going down, there are no stairs there, so it makes sense that one would go up and one would go down. I’ve seen people trying to use an escalator to walk both up and down at the same time, and it is usually a complete mess. And people who need to go down, even if there are few of them, should have a way to get in the metro.

    • textdoc

      +1 to this point. I used to get from Adams Morgan to Federal Triangle by taking the 42 or 43 bus to Farragut West and boarding the Blue or Orange line there.
      I needed to get _down_ to the platform to board the train while throngs of people were trying to get _up_ from the platform to the mezzanine. Sometimes the usual “down” escalator had been turned off. When that happened, I had a hard time making my way down — there was a solid mass of people coming up two by two. Sometimes I just gave up, waited until the entire throng had exited, and only then attempted to walk down the stationary escalator.

  • jesse

    Station managers are useless. More often than not they are standing around talking to their friends (MPD or the guy who empties the trash cans in the station) without a care in the world. I get on Farragut North daily and it being a shit show is par for the course.

  • Raya

    Did anyone see the posted shot of the sleeping station manager on Unsuck DC Metro today?

  • T-Dig

    I have this issue with L’Enfant. They always seem to have 2 escalators operating in the opposite direction of the heavy flow at the end of the day. I would think directing 2 of the 3 escalators to align with the heaviest flow would not only make it better for customers but also cut down on the excessive wear and tear of the escalators.

    • Aaaargh

      Ditto at the 18th St exit at Farragut West – two escalators going up in the AM (which makes sense) and the same two (empty) escalators going up in the PM, with a line to get on the one going down. Even if the WMATA response is that at least one of them can’t be reversed without it breaking – I’ve heard this before – at least turn it off so that people can walk down.

      I get that there are a lot of major and expensive-to-fix issues on the Metro, but it always amazes me that WMATA perpetually overlooks the minor and cost-free actions that could make people’s commutes marginally better and perhaps engender just a little bit of goodwill towards the organization.


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