Some Metro Riders Switching Travel Patterns
Have you changed your travel habits since the Metro crash a month ago? It was part of my online discussion Monday, and I invited readers to tell me more. The comments I've received rarely express concerns about safety on the trains. Most express annoyance at the delays and crowding. These are among the responses, which include stories about changing travel times, changing routes or changing from transit to driving.
Van Ness: I live on top of the Van Ness-UDC Red Line station. My work day used to start at 9 am (getting off at Gallery Place), but because I couldn't get on a train from June 22 to July 2 at Van Ness-UDC, I switched my hours to begin at 8 am. Thankfully my employer allowed the change. Now, I can get on a car at 7:15 to 7:20 am and get to work on time. It was a riot the first few days after the crash on the red line, with about 4 to 5 trains an hour. No way could you even get on at Van Ness-UDC. Now, I'm all set.
Driving since crash: I'm no longer taking the Red Line from Shady Grove to my job in Dupont Circle since the Metro crash. For me, it was a health hazard. I'm 8 months pregnant and found the overcrowded trains to be dangerous.
Right after the crash, trains would be standing room only right from the get-go at Shady Grove. I found people generally less friendly and less inclined to give up a seat to a big pregnant lady.
Also, it became quite dangerous to try and squeeze my way off the train at Dupont. Twice, the trains were so crowded that I was unable to get off and ended up at Metro Center before being able to disembark. Seemed like to much of a risk of injuring myself or my child to force my way off the trains. At times, I felt very "threatened" by how many people would smash themselves on to a train. It was hard to be able to protect my belly from getting smooshed by bags and bodies.
For my drive I leave my house in Germantown at 7:00 each morning and arrive at work by 8:00 with no issues. It's costing me about the same as if I were to take Metro and is actually quicker - it used to take upwards of an hour and 20 minutes to get from my house to metro and then to Dupont. I like the change and plan on continuing to drive after I have the baby. Note: I carpool with my husband to work now, so am able to do the HOV lanes on 270. Seems like it'd take much longer to get to Dupont if I were driving solo.
Changed commuting: I have lived in the Van Ness neighborhood since 1985, taking the Red line first to Dupont Circle and then to Union Station. When I started commuting, it cost me 90 cents (!) each way. Even before the June 22nd crash, I was getting frustrated with Metro's delays, constant weekend maintenance, broken escalators, dirty trains, and nasty employees.
The older I got, the harder my commute was getting. Now, I'm No. 7 on the waiting list for parking in my office, and I know that once I start driving, I won't look back. Bye, bye Metro, and good riddance.
[Some riders think it's more than just the Red Line.]
Alexandria, Va.: The last couple of weekdays, I've been seeing 10 minute waits on the Blue line towards Largo, with no explanation. I had one today [Monday] at 8:30, while waiting at King Street. ... Since the crash, service has definitely gone down.
[Metro says it has not cut back service on the other lines.]
Red Line Commute: I commute daily from U Street/Cordozo to Union Station and back. Since the Metro accident, I've identified multiple escape routes and used them when necessary.
Typically the morning isn't that bad, green line to Gallery Place then on to Union Station, but I have departed and taken the Circulator along Mass Avenue.
The evening commute is worse. Typically I try to go Red Line from Union Station to Dupont and walk back to U Street, but I've also taken the Circulator and a number of Metro and bus options.
I guess I assess the most current situation before entering the Metro gates and either climb on the train and hope for the best or dump metro and find a bus. NextBus is proving to be a handy phone application.
Rockville, MD: With the Red Line delays going on for weeks now, I have realized that (almost) nothing grinds my gears more than hearing the train operators constantly abusing the terms momentarily, shortly, and directly.
When a train operator insists that another train is "directly" behind his or her train, yet no train arrives for another 8-10 minutes (by which time the next train is also too crowded to board), he or she ruins any trust these passengers may have the next time there really IS a train directly behind. Likewise, if it is clear that the train will not be moving for 5-7 minutes, the operator should not insist that the train will be moving "momentarily."
Needless to say, whenever a train operator uses one of these terms, I can't help but laugh in disbelief.
July 22, 2009; 8:28 AM ET
Categories: Metro | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail delays, Red Line crash
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