Metro Chief Works on Damage Control

I thought I’d follow up on my continuing coverage of the blatantly mismanaged Metrorail system here in the DC area. Here is an excerpt from this Post article that explains what has gone on with Metro this year alone:

The year’s troubles began when an internal audit made public in February suggested that the agency was losing up to 1 million dollars annually at parking lots because it had failed to monitor cashiers. Officials sought to solve that issue by going to a cashless system, but they failed to order enough SmartTrip cards to meet demand.

In March, a fire chased Red Line riders onto the streets at the height of the morning commute. In June, officials shifted to two-car trains at night to try to save some money, resulting in severe crowding that forced them to revert to four-car trains. In July, part of the ceiling at Farragut North [Metro station] collapsed. In August, a train derailed at Silver Spring, and last month, service was slowed twice by rare cracks in the tracks.

Transit officials also have found themselves having to defend the actions of their employees. A Metro police officer arrested a woman who had downed the last bite of a candy bar in a station; a pregnant woman was arrested for talking loudly on a cell phone; and a station manager screamed at another pregnant woman and pushed her husband after they asked about a stopped escalator. That altercation prompted officials to put station managers through a refresher course in customer service.

Other miscues included an incident in which a worker’s error caused a flood at a station when sprinkler alarms were ignored; a decision to run too few trains after a Redskins game, delaying some fans for hours; and the stranding of a train full of passengers when an operator left the train at a station.

And the answer, according to the Fairfax and Arlington County governments, is to throw more money at it. Yeah, that sounds good.

You can find out about the investigation of yesterday’s pretty-horrendous crash (thankfully the worst injury was a broken leg) here: Major Delays for Metro’s Late Rush (another link).

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.