Yesterday, for the first time in recent memory, the NTSB took a field trip. Their board joined Metro’s board at the auditorium yesterday for the WMATA board meeting yesterday. During that meeting, Metro made a couple of public statements, one from its interim GM Richard Sarles, and one from Board Chair Peter Benjamin, on the subject of the accident review and the progress that WMATA has made since then. Of course, Metro isn’t just silently accepting the conclusions of the NTSB, and yesterday’s board meeting had at times what appeared to be Sharks vs. Jets moments as WMATA faced off with NTSB over the recommendation. The Post has a good accounting of the meeting, but it doesn’t seem to cover any interaction between NTSB and WMATA.
Somehow, it seems, though, that several of the WMATA Board members hadn’t seen the animation of the accident until yesterday, which is mind-boggling to me. Did they also just get the findings yesterday? I recognize that the WMATA Board is not one with full-time members who only do oversight and nothing else, but it seems to me that they should’ve seen that the day of the hearings, no?
Regardless of acceptance of blame, WMATA’s board needs to show a dedication to safety both for its riders and its staff, that just doesn’t seem to be there right now. While WMATA is taking steps in the right direction, they don’t seem to be organized around the issue. A hotline is a good start. Clearing the wayside is a good start. But bellying the 1000-series cars without doing any kind of testing? That’s just reactionary.