Metro this morning announced two safety programs now approved by the board: rollback protection on 5000-series cars, and door control unit repairs to 500+ cars. The former repairs should be done by this summer, but the latter will take until Spring of 2011.
Interestingly, the repairs to the DCUs suggest that it may be awhile longer until we’re back on Automated Train Operations (ATO): “Metro will repair door control units on 546 rail cars, which will enhance passenger safety once Metro resumes automatic train operations”. That suggests they’re either going to wait until we’re back on ATO to do the repairs, or that the repairs can’t be started until we’re back on ATO. Metro has given no public timeline for the return to ATO and has refused all inquiries related to that subject. Dave Stroup from Why I Hate DC yesterday called for a return to ATO sooner rather than later, suggesting that Metro’s current safety regime is more like security theater than actual security. I’m inclined to agree that if Metro wants to justify their fare hike proposals, they’re going to have to return service to something approximating normal more quickly than they had planned.