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Red Line Disruption at Midday

Red Line riders, get where you're going early this morning. Takoma Station is scheduled to shut at 10 a.m., just after the morning rush, and there will be no train service between Silver Spring and Fort Totten until 3 p.m., just before the afternoon rush.

During those hours, Metro will resume the free shuttle bus service between Silver Spring and Fort Totten, with a stop at Takoma Station. In Silver Spring, where the station is under reconstruction, the bus stop is on Dixon Avenue. At Takoma and Fort Totten, the bus stops in the station parking area. Takoma riders, make sure you know whether the bus is going north or south before you board. They are not always clearly marked.

The shutdown, which will allow the National Transportation Safety Board investigators to test sight lines on the tracks where the crash occurred on June 22, will also take up much of the day on Saturday. The scheduled hours for the Saturday closing are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

These disruptions slow travel in two ways:
-- The bus shuttles, which I think have been run pretty efficiently, are very slow, because the buses have to run on secondary roads, with plenty of traffic and traffic signals. It was taking me about 40 minutes to get between Silver Spring and Fort Totten.
-- The shutdown splits Metrorail service in two. Trains run between Glenmont and Silver Spring and between Shady Grove and Fort Totten. The turnarounds are very likely to disrupt the service on both ends of the line. So even if you're traveling on the western side of the line no where near the split, your trip still may be thrown off schedule today and Saturday. Metro suggests adding half an hour to normal travel times.

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

By Robert Thomson  |  July 16, 2009; 6:57 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail delays, Red Line crash  
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This is unacceptable. Metro continues to fail the region, not only with shoddy information alerts but with lack of the service we are owed. I moved to Silver Spring because of Metro. Is Metro going to pay my lease when I move to a new apartment walking distance from work?

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | July 16, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Will this BS ever end!

Posted by: dem4life1 | July 16, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

They are doing this to investigate the cause of the terrible accident that claimed the lives of 9 people. How about you remember that next time you get upset about a little disruption. If it was your family member or friend killed on that train i'm sure you would want them doing everything they could to investigate. Let metro and the NTSB do their job to keep us safe and stop crying, no one says you have to use metro but you know its the fastest and most efficent way of you getting around DC so please...stop with your BS crying.

Posted by: TCobb20721 | July 16, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I moved to Silver Spring because of Metro.

I sure hope that wasn't the only reason!

Posted by: Axel2 | July 16, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

There are a lot of good reasons to move to Silver Spring!

Posted by: subwayguy | July 16, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Shouldn't the heading read: Redline Disruption CONTINUES at Midday? or WORSENS at Midday? or "The cluster **** continues at Midday?

Posted by: 123cartoon | July 16, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Come on ppl, no one says you HAVE to take public transportation. Honestly, I'm just thankful that they can keep the trains running throughout the investigation, even if it is very frustrating to wait 3 trains to get an inch of standing room. If you don't like it, but a car and sit in traffic for a few hours -- that usually helps to put things into perspective.

Posted by: mallorygrauer | July 16, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Metro actually never makes sense. They should be able to run trains normally between the stations that are open, but they seem pretty incapable of doing that. In fact, this happens all the time whenever there is a problem or they single track. They just tell you to add more time. Instead they should figure out how to run trains normally around the problem. For example, you just run one train back and forth where you are single tracking and have trains run normally on the two sides.

And for those who make excuses for them, give me a break. Metro is poorly run. Proof--they are spending $175 million to redo the red line and none of that is going to fix the problems that caused the crash. Instead they are replacing escalators that they have rehabbed tons of times, but can't fix.

Posted by: columbiaheights | July 16, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Another day of Metro failure. Planning for this disruption, I and other riders were on the Silver Spring platform before 9:30. We boarded a southbound train at 9:40. We were then told to get off the train as it was not going to go downtown. There were no Metro staff to assist passengers and no signage. When the crowd went to the bus area, there were not enough buses to handle the demand for a shuttle to Fort Totten. Metro knew about this and could not handle it. This is real incompetence.

Posted by: kois | July 16, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

mallory-- Yes, actually, some of us HAVE to take public transport. Flexcars are too expensive to use for a daily commute (car has to be back at its station for a user to turn it in, and so you're paying for commute and parked time). Carpooling only works if you have people close around who work in the same area. Some of us made a concious decision to NOT particpate in the mindset that a car is "necessary" in a metro area such as this. And we're usually right, and options such as Flexcar can usually fill any gaps.

So I rely *heavily* on public transport, both Metro and RideOn. Especially with daycare costs, a car is really out of my budget at the moment. So all this extra time is costing my employer money, its costing me money by burning daycare funds for extra time even when I'm able to get in or leave early. And the Metro board, most of whom do not even use the system pull down nice compensation packages and get bonuses while we are forced to ride unsafe equipment on an inadequate system. (Not to mention the millions paid on electricity costs for Metro offices having their lights on 24-7) There is NO transparency to the way Metro is run, the way decisions are made, and why maintenance is deferred and workers are laid off while other parts of the workforce are not effected.

What is needed is more sunlight on budgeting decision processes and funding of various Metro departments; MORE focus on service, safety, and equipment issues; and more interaction with system users. Ever try to lodge a complaint/observation with Metro? Can't get anyone on the phone, never a reply to e-mails, no way to comment on the website, etc. The entire corporate culture needs to be changed and re-focused in order to get this aging system to a healthier place. Sadly, people who are willing and able to pursue this will NEVER be let into the club to shake things up.

And they're going to raise fares again without any change in operational procedures.

Posted by: dahozho | July 16, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that no other metro rail system in the world, that I am aware of, seems to encounter the system failures that the Washington Metropolitan system experiences. I am not aware that other systems have suffered the horrible accident that the D C system experienced in June due to a non-functioning sensor. Other systems seem to have overcome the issue of backup detection that the D C system is trying to resolve. Why is the D C system so poorly run, so vulnerable to malfunction, breakdowns, late trains, crowded trains? My daily transportation cost on this system is $15. I feel like that amount should pay for better service. I honestly don't understand why we can't get it right. I agree with the comments made by "dahozho" above. Why doesn't someone get a handle on this system and actually fix it?

Posted by: kmollard | July 16, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

columbiaheights, that would only fix the 40-minute bus ride problem. There'd still be delays up and down the Red line as Ft. Totten and Silver Spring have to act as terminals. Perhaps even worse as they'd only be able to use one side of the tracks to accommodate the FT-SS train.
And of course, riders of the FT-SS train would be able to see exactly what Metro are or are not doing. 12 hours for sight-line testing? Are you kidding me? Up to 7pm with the Cubs in town?

Posted by: cprferry | July 16, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I went to work later than usual today so was unpleasantly surprised at 10:30 when the station manager told us the trains weren't running. I was lucky enough to hop on a new accordian-style bus with the AC blasting, without waiting in line. And at that hour I'm happy to report that it only took 15 minutes to make it to Fort Totten, even with a short stop at Takoma. Gotta be a record.

Posted by: melp | July 16, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I say this with complete confidence in its truth: the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is--hands down--the worst run transit agency in the nation. Having ridden public transportation is L.A., Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, Montreal, Zurich, Rome, Paris, and any number of other places, I have always been floored by the difference between other systems and ours. Next time you ride a subway in any other system, pay attention. Did it pause in the tunnel? Repeatedly? With no explanation?

Regarding the previous comments about cost-cutting. Ask yourself, why is it that metro employees are given LIFETIME access (free of charge) to metro services. I used to work in retail and, when I moved on, my discount didn't come with me. Metro really does take care of its own, doesn't it?

Posted by: zaahc | July 16, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I was on the train that kios tried to board. I didn't see any shuttle buses either, so I jumped a S4 bus downtown.

Metro- 9:40 is not 10am.

Zaahc- My mom tells me the NYC subway was pretty horrific in the 1970's.

Posted by: perhapsmaybe | July 16, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The question is, why cant the NTSB test the sight lines on a Saturday or a Sunday.

Posted by: IHeartDC | July 16, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The other question is: Why couldn't they have done this testing two weeks ago when service was shut down

Posted by: ceebee2 | July 16, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse


Don't know what happened to my question mark...:)

Posted by: ceebee2 | July 16, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

zaahc - agreed. I've used rail systems in NY, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, London, and Rome and never had a single issue even remotely near to the daily issues we face.

Can we get Dr. Gridlock, Ashley halsey or Lena Sun to do some good investigative journalism/research and compare reliability numbers of the various systems?

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | July 16, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

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