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Many Metro problems during morning rush

[12:30 p.m. update: Metro is rushing to repair problems that crippled the farebox system on some buses, silenced subway public announcements, froze the transit agency's Web site and blocked some riders from using debit cards. -- Ashley Halsey III]

Metro's communications system fritzed out this morning. These were the results:

-- The e-mail alert system, the public address system, the Next Bus system and the call centers went down.
-- The many bus fareboxes don't work, so passengers on those buses were riding free.
-- At the fare vending machines, debit cards weren't working, but credit cards were.
-- The online reservation system for Metro Access wasn't working. The control center could not communicate with bus or Metro Access drivers.

By Robert Thomson  |  November 4, 2009; 8:24 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Metro  
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I guess that would explain why there was no information available for my bus stop when I called Next Bus this AM. I got to the stop early, for once, and wanted to see how long a wait I had. The bus showed up at the scheduled time.

Posted by: KilmarockCommuter | November 4, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

This is incredibly incomplete information. What is Metro doing to fix these problems?

Posted by: lrubens | November 4, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Also, the next train arrival website has been wrong since at least Monday afternoon.

I check the website using my blackberry before heading to the metro and it displays different data than the next train boards at the station.

Has Metro even acknowledge this? Anyone else have this problem?

Posted by: movingalongplz | November 4, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I was wondering why the Next Bus system wasn't working. Also, I'm surprised there was no post about traffic lights in montgomery county this morning. Apparently the system crashed last night and all the timings for the lights were not synchronized this morning. This resulted in a lot of back-ups. It took my bus over 45 minutes to go from Georgia Ave to Viers Mill Rd. heading West on Randolph Rd. this morning. Glad I had a good book to read!

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | November 4, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

With traffice lights out of wack and road construction everywhere, it took me 2 hours to get from Germantown to Bethesda this morning! Worst commute so far since moving to Germantown.

Posted by: megankp | November 4, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse


Tech Issues Cripple Metro Services, MoCo Traffic Lights
Outages lead to massive problems
Updated 9:46 AM EST, Wed, Nov 4, 2009

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Getty Images A power outage at Metro's headquarters has led to massive problems systemwide, allowing people to ride some buses for free and shutting down WMATA's Web site, call center and e-mail alert system.

Metro said it experienced a power outage at about 2:45 a.m. that took down the data center responsible for communication functions. Besides the Customer Call Center not being able to make or receive calls, Metro said the following problems have developed:

Some Metrobus fareboxes are not functioning and if that is the case, customers are being allowed to ride without paying a fare.
The NextBus system is not functioning;
The Bus Operations Control Center is having difficulty communicating with buses on the street.

The following systems are not functioning in the MetroAccess system at this time:

Metro Rep Explains Outages

WATCH Metro Rep Explains Outages

The MetroAccess online reservation system is not functioning;
The MetroAccess call center is not able to make or receive calls;
The MetroAccess Operations Control Center is having difficulty communicating with vehicles on the street.

The following systems are not functioning in the Metrorail system at this time:

Customers are not able to purchase fare with their debit cards.
Customers are limited to charge up to $20 only using a credit card at fare machines.
The e-alert system is not functioning.
The public address system is not functioning.

There is no timetable for when the system will be back online, according to WMATA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein, but the WMATA Web site did return at about 8:30 a.m. The site is not able to be updated, however.

Even More Transit Problems

Meanwhile, the traffic management computer system in Montgomery County went down at about 3 a.m., causing traffic lights to not synchronize and instead operate in non-rush mode. The change has created numerous backups during the morning commute.

Lights that are usually extended green are not. Traffic management operators can't monitor the system because there is no communication. Lights in Rockville and Takoma Park are running correctly because they are on different systems.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | November 4, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The Orange Line was also snarled this morning, with backed-up, jammed trains in one direction and seemingly no trains in the other. Metro's communication problem meant that there was no warning of this problem, but that's true most of the time even when the system is up.

Posted by: tomtildrum | November 4, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

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