Talkin' Transit

Talkin’ Transit: Last Week on the Job

Photo courtesy of
‘WMATA Blogger Roundtable’
courtesy of ‘Samer Farha’

Metro General Manager John Catoe will be ending his three year tenure at the transit agency on Friday, but his legacy will be debated for a while yet. As he transitions to the world of transit consulting, there’s a natural break for us to look back at Metro and at his tenure.

During his three years at the helm, there were many positive changes. The Metro system saw huge, record breaking number of trips during Obama’s inauguration, 1.12 million on the rails in one day (PDF), and performed admirably. Also during Catoe’s tenure, Metrorail stopped using four car trains (though they kept threatening to go back to them).

But positive is not how most people will look back on Metro’s last three years. Catoe oversaw the deadliest and most accident filled years in Metro’s history. We’re all painfully aware of the impact of the June 22, 2009 accident which left 9 people dead and the system on the brink. But despite an increase in focus on safety, there were three incidents which killed four Metro employees after that date, and a derailment earlier this year. And let’s not even mention the number of accidents and deaths caused by Metrobus.

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Entertainment, Fun & Games, Talkin' Transit, The Features, WMATA

Metro Singalong 2009

Photo courtesy of
‘Navidad en el metro’
courtesy of ‘Daquella manera’

With apologies to purists of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Johnny Catoe and Metro gave to DC…

12 budget shortfalls of 22 40 175 million dollars!

11 pole hogs hogging

10 SmarTrip card upgradesno, waithere we goum, maybeyes!no, this one’s correct!

9 tourist tip guidelines (plus ancillaries, corollaries and exceptions)

8 doors opening to nowhere

7 not-so-hard questions

6 sweatbox stations

FIIIIIIIVE customer friendly operators!!!!!!

4 busted escalators

3 in-the-dark Metro board members

2 Metro shower curtains

and one disillusioned, disgruntled rider!

Have a great holiday, everyone! See you in 2010.

The Daily Feed, WMATA

Catoe: Budget-Driven Service Cuts Likely

Photo courtesy of
‘double vanishing point’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99’

So if Catoe has his way with the budget, say goodbye to 8-car trains. And the peak period turnbacks at Grosvenor. And look for more crowded trains and buses.

Catoe unveiled his plan this afternoon to deal with the (now) $40M budget gap in Metro’s books.

Bus and rail service reductions, including lengthening the time between trains and buses. Gaps could increase by a minute during rush hour to upwards of 10 minutes over the weekend. Such service reductions would save the transit agency an estimated $4M.

The timetable for such cuts could be as early as February of next year through at least June, when Metro’s fiscal year ends. But keep in mind that Catoe & Co. have indicated that next year’s shortfall is now around $175M, so it’s quite likely such cuts – if approved – will become “permanent” for the foreseeable future.

The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

NTSB: More Circuitry Failure

Photo courtesy of
‘tunnel’ courtesy of ‘volcanojw’

According to Dr. Gridlock today, the track circuit behind last month’s crash has apparently been failing to detect trains since a key component was replaced back in December of 2007. The NTSB also said that this component – a part of the WEE-Z bond – is the other end of the paired impedance bonds. The board had said previously it may have been the impedance bond at the other end of the circuit, the one that was replaced five days before the crash.

This new finding now begs the question of Metro: just how bad is their maintenance and trouble-shooting of the train protection system? And what, pray tell, will John “Baghdad Bob” Catoe, Jr. say next?

It’d better include the words “I’m sorry, DC.”

News, Talkin' Transit, The District, WMATA

Talkin’ Transit: Four More Years!

Photo courtesy of brianmka

Metro Center, courtesy of brianmka

No, no, this isn’t about the current administration.

We’re talking WMATA and their plan to rehabilitate the Red Line during a four-year stretch. Meaning that aside from rush hour, the most-used line in the system will see off-peak and weekend delays for an entire presidential term.

And if approved, it’ll come right at the time when daily ridership records are falling left and right like so many dominoes. Continue reading