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Miserable weather for Metro

The hotter it gets, the more likely a Metrorail air conditioner is to fail. That's a formula for a stressful Friday, for the air conditioners and the riders.

Now, I know what you're thinking: It makes perfect sense that the air conditioners weren't designed to perform well when it's really hot. It's apparently a condition you'll be riding with for a long time, at least until the planet cools.

Metro's rocky ride

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TIMELINE: Take a look back at mishaps and tragedies in the system since 2009.

While the number of failures surges on a very hot day, Metro statistics show that on average, there are about 21 rail car air-conditioning failures a day. That's about 2.5 percent of the car fleet in service.

But here's a sampler from Metro statistics on what happens to the air conditioners as the high temperature swings.

Date: high temperature/air conditioner failures
June 28: 92.6 degrees / 27 failures
June 29: 90.3 degrees / 23 failures
June 30: 81.1 degrees / 10 failures
July 1: 80 degrees / 5 failures
July 2: 80.8 degrees / 5 failures
[Skip the weekend, when many fewer cars are in service.]
July 5: 96.3 degrees / 42 failures
July 6: 100.5 degrees / 66 failures
July 7: 99.6 degrees / 66 failures
July 8: 92.8 degrees / 48 failures
July 9: 90.6 degrees / 36 failures

"As the temperature increases, it stresses everything," Dave Kubicek, Metro's rail boss, told the Metro board on Thursday. He'll probably be right again today, as the Capital Weather Gang forecast calls for a high temperature approaching 100.

Don't take a hot rail car sitting down | 100 degrees on a Metrorail car

By Robert Thomson  | July 23, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail  
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Dr. Gridlock, I simply don't understand why you aren't an advocate for passengers and why your column usually publishes Metro press releases verbatim. I don't understand your willingness to accept that it's normal for air conditioners to break down or your willingness to take Kubicek's statements at face value. Summers are always hot in DC. Until several years ago, broken air conditioners weren't a problem on Metro.

Posted by: RockvilleBear | July 23, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Please, please, please DO NOT report Metro cars with failed A/C. It will only decrease service and increase delays. It's not worth it. If you can't handle the heat, drive.

Posted by: jiji1 | July 23, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

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