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More Updates, Reaction From Today's Commute

At Union Station about 9 a.m., Anika Roth, 24, an AmeriCorps volunteer at the Capital Area Food Bank, told staff writer Rick Rojas that she and her housemates received calls last night from around the world from friends and relatives asking about their welfare. "I kind of dreaded going to work today because I worried about something happening to one of my co-workers," she said.

Staff writer Catherine Cheney interviewed commuters from 6:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., at various crowded bus stops in Silver Spring, seeking to get downtown:

Megan Naff, 21, waited for a bus that would take her to Federal Center Southwest. The University of Maine student is working as a government intern and, looking like a D.C. native in her business skirt and tennis shoes, she pointed an older woman, who was lost, toward the MetroBus heading to Fort Totten. "It's very confusing," she said of the many buses leaving from the Silver Spring station, "But I know they're doing everything they can. I mean, it's a bad situation all around."

Naff, who hoped to arrive at work by 9 a.m., said, "All things considered, I'm surprised it's not worse." She said it was like a "refugee camp" yesterday, outside of the Brentwood station just after the crash, with "so many people with no idea where to go." At the time of the crash, the train Naff was on had just passed the Brentwood station, then had to return to the station.

Valerie Veney, a resident of Silver Spring, waited for a bus outside the Silver Spring Station to L'Enfant Plaza. She works for the Federal Aviation Administration and normally takes the Red Line route past the yesterday's crash scene. But yesterday she was off work. She said that immediately after she heard of the crash, she called her father, who works for the Pentagon and normally takes the Green Line. She also said she is "grateful" for calls from friends and family concerned for her safety. "Things happen, unfortunately," she said, as she boarded the bus in her khaki business suit and running shoes, expecting to return to her Metrorail routine soon.

Graham Salinger, 20, is a sophomore at American University and a summer intern for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Salinger lives in Silver Spring and works in College Park, and his everyday commute includes riding the Red Line and Green Line and transferring at the Fort Totten station. Yesterday, he barely missed the train that ended up crashing. "My Metro card was out of money, and then my credit card wasn't working, so I missed the train." After pushing through the crowded sliding doors at Fort Totten, Salinger said he continued to hear of delays until a Metro employee told confused crowds riding the escalator into the station that they needed to head back up the escalator because there was a crash. He said he will likely ride Metrorail again but will avoid front and rear cars.

Jennifer Carr, 30, works for the government and continued to check her BlackBerry as she waited for a bus to L'Enfant. "I'm supposed to be there at 7," she said. "Hopefully everyone will understand." Carr said she and a co-worker barely missed the train that crashed, and she did not know what was causing the delays until her husband texted her about the accident.

Kevin Remondini, 27, is a resident of Silver Spring who works for the Government Accountability Office on G Street. He normally takes the Red Line to the Judiciary Square stop. "Obviously, with this incident, I have to take the bus," he said. Remondini says he generally starts work at 7:30 or 7:45, but he did not expect to make it to work on time this morning. "It's out of my hands," he said.

Remondini will not let the crash change his commute habits. "This is, what, only the third time since the Metro has been in service that something like this has happened? Think of how many car accidents happen everyday. That's the way I think about it."

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 23, 2009; 9:33 AM ET
 
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Comments

I feel metro should have a mock evacuation plan maybe they do and know one is aware of it. Seem to me the riders had no clue of what to do. Could they leave the train know that someone cut the voltage off on the third rail etc. If I was a rider just knowing these things would help me keep clam to a point.

Posted by: MelissaWoodard | June 23, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

How did these people that seem like they were travelling northbound at the time of the crash, "barely miss" the southbound train that ended up crashing? i.e. Graham Salinger, who was travelling from College Park to Silver Spring at the time of the crash (he mentioned being stuck then at Ft. Totten).

Am I missing something or is it just the human nature of trying to inject yourself into a tragedy...

Posted by: bryang0906 | June 23, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I took the S9 express from Silver Spring and found it to be satisfactory. They appeared to be running extra buses.

Compared to waiting for a shuttle bus, then waiting for a train I thought it was a good alternative. It took about 45 minutes. The stop is not quite where you'd expect it to be in Silver Spring. It is not on 16th street, it's over on Eastern Ave. Once I figured that out, which wasn't hard because there was a line and a supervisor, it was clear sailing.

This afternoon I will try the 79 bus from Archives.

Posted by: RedBird27 | June 23, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to the WAPo for covering the reactions of the riders in aid of their fellow passengers prior to the arrival of rescue personnel.

We may not always be patient or polite with each other, but in crisis its good to know we can probably depend on someone being there to help. If I'd been on the train and uninjured, I certainly would have done all I could for other passengers. Sure hope others are feeling the same way today.

Metro needs to clean itself up. Too much has been deferred and too much money has been spent on things other than essentials like maintenance and attracting and retaining good, professional staff. I don't want a fare increase to pay off Metro's upcoming legal bills. Sadly, I'm betting that's exactly what we'll see, in addition to more maintenance cuts and deferred investment in infrastructure. All leading to a less secure system.

Posted by: dahozho | June 23, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

WaPo Editors,

You must mean Brookland instead of "Brentwood" since no such station exists? Please do your research.

Posted by: CrestwoodKat | June 23, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Or perhaps, Crestwood, you should know your stations a little better: they're referring to the Rhode Island Ave-Brentwood station.

Posted by: kch25 | June 23, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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