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New Metro Chairman Discusses Priorities

Jim Graham, the D.C. Council member who has become the new chairman of the Metro board for this year, wonders if he would have picked 2009 to serve in that role, with all the difficult prospects ahead for Metro's finances and service.

Among the challenges ahead, he said this morning, will be addressing persistent rail and bus overcrowding problems. He said he also wants to expand the role of the Riders' Advisory Council, the citizens group that consults with the board on service issues.

"I intend to support a stronger role for the RAC in this coming year," Graham said. He wants committee chairs to be able to invite the council to participate in discussion of specific issues.

Graham spent a lot of his time talking about his concerns for the Metrobus system. He pledged to focus on restoring the troubled Next Bus technology. The system, which is supposed to give riders a clear idea of when the next Metrobus is supposed to arrive at atheir stop, is a way of improving service without spending a lot of money, he said.

Next Bus was suspended in 2007 because it wasn't reliable. The fix is supposed to be completed this year.

Graham also pledges to make sure the expansion of the SmarTrip electronic fare card program is carried out. And he wants to allow buses a priority in getting through traffic signals at intersections.

He'll also be chairman as the federal stimulus program progresses, and Metro receives the $230 million in its spending list.

Metro Resources:  Riding the System  |  Trip Planner   |   Map  |  Post Coverage

By Robert Thomson  |  February 26, 2009; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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I wonder what system they use in Germany to let you know when the next bus is coming. I remember admiring it over there 7 years ago.

On a budgetary note, how much does Metro spend on the poulticing and polishing of the brass/bronze railings in the stations? Every once in a while, the railings are covered in plastic (taped about every foot) and then gleam fitfully for a short while after the covering is removed. One of the more useless expenditures of time and money ever conceived. WHY does Metro bother? I cannot believe there is any health/safety principle involved.

Posted by: dcbyday | February 26, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

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