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Deadly Metro Crash Sparks Outpouring of Comments

Yesterday's Red Line crash, which killed 9, led to a deluge of reader comments ranging from discussions of Metro's communication system to condolences for those who lost loved ones in the accident. Here's what readers are saying:

"Nine people loss their lives yesterday evening in a Metro Rail Train accident. You can feel and see the sadness in the Transit Employees eyes. Train Operators, Bus Drivers and many other employees see many of the riders that ride the Rail and Bus on a daily basic. So please give them some time before you start pointing fingers of who fault it was. Or how long you was waiting on a train." -- r2j17b62
"Today, I'm just proud to be American, and know that there are so many compassionate people out there. The fact that riders refused to leave without making sure the woman trapped was out says a lot about our society. I only hope I can be as strong and brave as they were, if I'm ever in an emergency situation." -- sharie
"I, too, was in the metro (at Metro Center) when the crash occurred. Frankly, I think Metro was right in not informing passengers what was happening. I think it would have led to a panic." -- Amlphd
"If Metro had just said, 'There is an emergency situation, potentially with injuries, trains will be holding until further notice,' they'd have gotten a lot more cooperation and good will. Folks will suck it up and deal when other people's lives are on the line but for the 400th 'mechanical difficulties' in a week, not so much. The good news is, the Metro employees running the bus bridge from RI Ave to Silver Spring this morning were all genial and helpful." -- EtoilePB
"Referring to this incident as 'mechanical difficulties' only serves to cause people to dismiss or distrust metro announcements in the future, which is a real danger if metro ever needs to alert metro riders to a future danger. We should be concerned about how long it took to alert the riders of the metro and how that information was characterized. It is not just about a convenience issue it is also a safety issue." -- trailblazer1
"While this is certainly a tragedy, a little perspective is needed. Seven deaths are to be mourned, but that many people die on the roads of D.C. every few days. The two most dangerous places in D.C. transit remain the freeways and the crosswalks--the Metro rail is easily the safest way of getting from one point to another, bar none." -- PeripheralVisionary
"Blaming METRO is not where the problem lies. This system is underfunded as MD and VA continue to expand their highways instead of putting money into the public transit system. The federal govt. always short shrifts DC. It began as one of the best transit systems in the world, but unlike other major cities, the infrastructure has been steadily declining while the funding for the Beltway, ICC, etc. keep growing." -- lk11
"People are good at heart. We may be a little self absorbed but when the chips are down people always respond strongly." -- dbeins
"I can understand not wanting people to panic. But, they should have at least said it was an emergency situation to help explain the seriousness. Instead, we got the same tepid annoucement they give when a train has door problems." -- SweetieJ
"There aren't any words that can bring comfort to the injured, or the families of the lost. I wish there was something I could say or do to help. The busdrivers of metro and ride on did a MARVELOUS job tonight. They were on a professional autopilot that you could just feel. They stepped in and did the jobs that needed to be done. Applause to metro for their staff." -- powell2

Please leave your own comment below.

By Sarah Mimms  |  June 23, 2009; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  Metro , Safety  | Tags: Metro accident, Metro crash  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Dead Train Operator Loved Her Job, Friend Says
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As a daily rider of Metro myself, I know that complaining about Metro is almost akin to a DC past time. However, something like this is just horrifying, so much worse than the constant delays or incessant annoying PA announcements. Imagine how much worse this could have been if that train were going north instead of south at the afternoon rush hour or if this occurred during morning rush.

Something has to change.

Posted by: Nixonin08 | June 23, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I have never had a car and have always counted on D.C. Transit and now Metro. The bus drivers and subway personnel have always been extremely helpful and kind during good weather and bad, and during accidents.

My heart goes out to all those who were injured and those who perished.

I hope Metro finally gets the funding it needs to maintain their fleet of cars, the tracks, and to expand out to Dulles.

Posted by: TVDIVA | June 23, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

bottomline: metro is underfunded. md, va and the fed need to pony up more cash to keep our loved ones safe.

Posted by: murkin | June 23, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

This latest metro incident is the direct result of a profound neglect for maintenance/safety issues, by upper management, that have plagued the system since its inception. The culmination/build-up of neglect is what we see on display here before us--in the form of system malfunction and no means to analyze any data(data recorders), from the trailing vehicle, which may have shed light into the investigation on the direct cause of the incident.

I tell you what, WMATA is in desperate need, NOW, of a major overhaul-- particularly in terms of policy--which should begin in the front offices. New leadership is in order; Catoe, and his coterie of "mis-managers"(ie. Exec leardership Mngrs)need & must be "canned", TODAY!! This is the only way to get the message out, to the next group of "mis-managers", that mis-allocation of funds will NO LONGER be tolerated. No longer will we accept the justification that, certain safety recommendations/measures are just "too expensive & too complicated" to implement.

Maintenance/Safety issues should occupy the top slot, take top priority--in terms WMATA policy towards the allocation of funding. If implementing safety measures/recommendations--to save lives--is "too expensive" or "too complicated" then let's get some individuals in here who can "un-complicate" things, NOW!!

Posted by: qwer1 | June 23, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Is there communications between trains? and was texting involved here? Sure hope not!

Posted by: dl74911 | June 23, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm writing Mr. Oberstar to request Congress hold it's own hearings on Metro mismanagement.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | June 23, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Congress has the blood of nine people on its hands. Give Metro federal funding NOW.

Posted by: patrickschabe | June 23, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Patrick Schabe. It is time that this nation takes mass transportation seriously by investing heavily in our trains (Amtrak, subways systems, public buses etc.).

Despite everything, I will continue to ride metro. It is much, much safer than driving on DC's traffic-congested roads (all of which are clogged with SUVs which are overwhelmingly occupied by one person).

I just wish Congress and the American taxpayer would see the wisdom of investing in public transportation. Public transportation is, overall, safer, more environmentally friendly, and more efficient than driving a car.

I also wish people would cut Metro some slack. 99% of the time Metro gets me where I want to go safely and quickly.

Posted by: Amlphd | June 23, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

First and foremost of course, my heart goes out to those who lost loved ones.

Clearly metro is underfunded and in need of many upgrades and repairs. However, lets not forget the culpability of human carelessness. I know the conductor of the train that crashed died, and I am sorry that happened. However, while we don't know all the facts yet, I would like to know why that conductor didn't hit the brakes when she saw another train stopped ahead? With the metro being almost completely automated, the only thing the conductors have to do is close the doors. As such, many of these conductors have grown complacent. I can't tell you how many times I have seen drivers reading a book or chatting with another metro employee or police officer while the train is barreling down the tracks at 50 mph. They don't pay attention, and no one ever notices until something like this happens.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly agree that metro needs more funding, more upgrades, more safety features, etc. But it also needs conductors who actually realize that they are in control of the safety of hundreds of people and act accordingly.

Posted by: gmuneon | June 23, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Metro received stimulus funds and the inauguration bill was paid by the DC government, so why do we always have the train malfunctions, escalators not working and elevator outages. They went up on our fairs slickly by removing the paper transfers but charge us an additional $.40 when you transfer from rail to bus.

The situation that happened yesterday needs to be looked at by the current presidental administration, metro (it's BOD), and NTSA. The mayor and chief of police needs to go somewhere and hide as they can not control the killings on the streets, but always appear in front of the cameras to give their accounts of what happened and how they are dealing with it (nothing).

This situation had better have some damn good answers as to how and why (and not put all of the blame on the driveer as she is not here to speak for herself) because depending on the outcome, I know if they put all of the blame on the driver, I will feel very unconfortable trusting another one of them and if it was a system problem, I will never ride the metro trains again.

I have witnessed inappropriate behavior by bus and train operators in the past 3 months (threatening passengers, texting entering stadium armory train station from minnesota avenue, ending up at minnesota avenue when the sign on the train clearly said "ORANGE", yelling at their spouse and forgot to open the door to let us off at the bus stop and doors opening when holding inside the tunnels), used the online complaint form on Metro's website and still see the bus and train operators performing their duties as usual but on other routes.

There is definitely an answer to why as GOD has something in store for all of us but the how needs to really be answered by Metro officials.

Posted by: seriousboo | June 23, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Metro has a more than adequate communications infrastructure. They don't need additional funding to improve in that aspect. The problem lies not with their technical capabilities, but exclusively in the failings of WMATA leadership and employees to utilize it effectively.

It wasn't just the thousands of commuters were left stranded expecting another "mechnical difficulty" to clear up. Even DC's Fire Chief claims that Metro's original correspondence with emergency workers underscored the severity of the situation. It wasn't until emergency workers got there that they realized that they needed far more help than Metro's correspondence had led them to believe.

Posted by: cprferry | June 23, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry for the loss of lives and the many injuries. However, to quickly say that Metro needs more funding is irresponsible. When a train operator with no college degree makes $120,000 per year, I think funding is th eleastg of Metro's problem. Mismanagement is more likely. No Metro train operator should make $120,000 per year and a pension.

Posted by: dosomething123 | June 23, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

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