courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’
Mark Segraves and Adam Tuss over at WTOP.com filed a report this morning covering the fact that since 2004, Metro bus and train operators have been cited over 4,000 times for endangering the lives of their passengers. Most of the incidents involve illegal behavior including speeding in residential neighborhoods, running red lights and hitting cars, people, bicycles and wheelchairs. (Update: WTOP has informed me that this will be a week-long series with reports from both Mark and Adam through Thursday.)
Shocking? To most of us, probably not. Metro downplays the numbers, citing that on an average day, 1,200 buses cover 1,500 square miles and provide 20 hours of service. I can forgive the bad eggs that happen along; it’s a sad fact of life that no service or system is perfect. It’s hardly surprising to anyone that one of the more common complaints in the report is rude and discourteous behavior by Metro employees to customers, including profanity and grabbing people.
What is incredible about the report is some of the infractions that operators have been cited for. Slewing the bus around corners hard enough to tip wheelchairs over? Leaving passengers in bus lots or trains after closing? Urinating inside the bus?
Seriously, WMATA, WTF?
Yup – my latest was at Rosslyn, where the bus runs every 14 minutes during Rush Hour. After 40 minutes of no buses showing up and no METRO official saying anything to anyone, two buses pulled up and parked. The operators attempted to walk past the line without saying anything, but the line of riders was not having it. The drivers were cornered and the riders demanded SOME explanation as to what was going on and when the next bus was. The first driver said, “ah, its the next driver over there.” The next driver say, “ah, not me, I dont know.” It was ridiculous both because of the delay but also because of that one thing WMATA knows drives riders crazy — a lack of information. There are electronic information signs all over Rosslyn. course they dont work. There is a manager’s booth in the middle of the station. No on was there.
Another time, I walked into the Smithsonian metro and stopped outside the gate. I stood there for 5 minutes staring at a train halfway out of the station and not moving. Finally the metro employee in the booth approached me and asked if I needed help. I asked, “are the trains running on time.” “Yes, of course,” said the employee. And I responded, “well what about that one that has been parked on your platform for 7 minutes now”. The Employee turned around, and looked surprised to see the train sitting there. “Oh, ah….” Fortunately at that moment the train started moving again.
I could go on and on. Bus drivers blowing by stops because they did not pay attention to the stop requested signal, and then getting defensive. Other buses going through red lights in Ballston.
It is such a GREAT public transportation system – run so poorly.
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