I've gotten some answers to your questions about performance during the storm. I've got to say, all in all, it seems like most people had limited gripes. There were a few real difficulties -- mostly on Metro and in the District -- but overall I've heard fewer complaints than I would have expected. Let's get to the ones I did here:
"The Orange Line this week has been unbearable. WMATA lists 10 minute delays on their Web site ... um, try 1 hour, 15 minutes to get from McPherson Square to W. Falls Church last night. And another hour this morning. Why can't they be honest about the delays?
I can understand that the trains would be slower because of the problems at Federal Triangle, but how about some 8-car trains for the Orange Line? I waited out three trains last night before I was able to squeeze onto one for the interminable and uncomfortable ride home.
Speaking of uncomfortable, during these type of far-from-normal weather events, would it be possible for Metro to station Transit Police or whomever on the platforms to prevent the ridiculous over-crowding? A train operator screaming on the PA system does little good.
Again, it comes back to an unfathomable lack of communication from Metro."
Metro has promised to improve communications and be more accurate about delays following a torrent of complaints this week. Specifically, managers have pledged to revamp the way e-mail alerts go out so that all riders will get them for ongoing events and also to change the way delays are posted on their Web site. This was a particular gripe on Tuesday morning, when the website reported no delays through most of the morning while angry riders contacted me to complain about jammed platforms and waiting for half-a-dozen trains to pass before they could get on one. After I asked Metro about it, they changed their site to say there were delays of about 10 minutes, which prompted more angry e-mails and calls. Metro said they will manually update the site in the future to more accurately reflect reality.
On the 8-car trains, Metro said they did run them. And there were police on some platforms, though not all.
Longtime Metro Rider had a couple thoughts about that:
"Arlington, I sympathize with what you describe in terms of the crowded trains you were on on Monday. Since 9/11, Metro has had more workers on some of the platforms in some places, such as Metro Center, but I don't count on them for much. With a few exceptions, they don't give off much of a vibe of wanting to help the customers. I don't see them as authority figures who would do much to help control crowds on a platform. I do occasionally hear them saying sharply to customers on the platfrom, "step back, doors ARE closing." Well, yeah, the ding dong already tells us that."
Ffx took issue with Metro's claims of success:
"From Metro's web site detailing yesterday's (6/26) service: 'Percentage of rail customers who experienced no delay: 97.42 percent'
I guess I was among the unlucky 2.58% who did experience a delay yesterday?
Where the hell did they get 97.42%?!?!?!"
That number jumps out at you doesn't it? On a day when two stations were flooded and much of the system was hobbled, Metro trumpets the figure that 97.42 percent of people had no trouble at all. Well, as it turns out, not really. (Duh.) Metro measures percentages according to whether trains arrive at stations on time according to schedules, not whether people were able to get on those trains or make it to their final destinations. Using their method, trains that never arrived because stations were closed because of flooding were not included in that number, nor were the people who waited over an hour to actually board a train. Interim General Manager Dan Tangherlini has pledged to change Metro's calculations to better reflect what people experience. (Kind of makes you wonder what sort of misery those 2.58 percent must have endured.)
"I was horrified and stressed and about to lose it last night when it took me 1.5 hours to go 5 miles in Tysons, and NOT ONCE was this area mentioned on the traffic reports. There was a line to get out of the parking lot of my office on Rte. 7. It was horrible."
Yikes. I get a lot of complaints about poor traffic reports. One of the odd consequences of worsening traffic in this region is worsening traffic reports. You'd think as demand for this information increases, so would its quality. But the reality seems to be that reports have gotten worse because it's nearly impossible to track all the delays and then cram them into a quick radio segment. It's frustrating, especially when the reports run through all the usual backups. You know how it goes -- backups from Newington to the Occoquan, etc, etc. That said, it's hard to blame them for not catching every backup, delay and jam this week when almost every road had problems.
Posted by: Arrrlington | June 30, 2006 5:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Arrrlington | June 30, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Longtime Metro Rider | July 1, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: h3 | July 3, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse
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