Update: WMATA is slowly bringing back services. Metrobus fareboxes and bus radios are back in operation, MetroAccess dispatch and online reservations are working, and this morning I heard a public address system test. More info from this WMATA release.
And the Metro angst continues.
Kudos to James Hohmann over at WaPo for his breakdown of yesterday’s absurd circus between WMATA and its board members. What’s utterly appalling is Metro’s insistence that their August 5 press release was enough notice.
While the notice does mention “major track maintenance rehabilitation program during the three-day Labor Day holiday weekend,” it does not list September 4 – 7 as dates that particular stations will be closed. Only the weekday evenings particular stations would be shut in the evening. Nowhere in the release does it state anything about three stations being closed for three days. Continue reading
Just as Karl and I were saying in the comments thread on the Labor Day closings, Metro needs to seriously fix their communications department. WaPo just broke the story that several Metro board members weren’t even notified or consulted about the closings and they’re (rightly) ticked off.
Metro board Chairman Jim Graham said the board plans to discuss the closures and WMATA’s communications “procedures” on a conference call tomorrow morning.
In addition, WMATA announced – today! – that General Manager John Catoe, Jr will take questions during an online chat on Friday. Riders can also vent make their views known tonight at 6:30 during a regularly scheduled Riders’ Advisory Council Meeting at Metro HQ.
The quote of the day that proves our point deliciously is by Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay, a Metro board member: “We get an F in communications but an A in strategy for [setting the date for] the least-disruptive work,” he said. “I can defend the decision; I can’t defend the way we explained it to people. . . . That’s just a complete breakdown in strategic communication.”
Orange and Blue Line riders had a hellish commute this morning thanks to a train down due to mechanical difficulties at Foggy Bottom station, causing single-tracking and trains held at stations up and down both lines in both directions. I waited on a Vienna-bound Orange Line train at Metro Center for about twenty minutes before wising up and getting on a taxi. You know it’s bad when the train operator doesn’t even use the word “momentarily.”
Update: From Get There blog, Orange Line problems explained. A combination of brake problems and communications dead zones led to a fifty-one minute delay on the failed Orange Line train before a Blue Line train could come within range to pick up communications. Both trains had to be offloaded before one could push the other to a rail yard.
Major Red Line delays this morning thanks to a track circuit malfunction plus a train offloaded for “mechanical difficulties” at Takoma station. Rail alerts just reported “Disruption cleared” but the Twitter feedback is rolling in. Thank you, Metro, for another morning rush hour of long waits and crowded trains.