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Metro GM Catoe makes new commitment to safety

"We have a battle in front of us," General Manager John B. Catoe said in a statement to board members at the start of today's board meetings. It's a battle, he said, to win back public confidence in mass transit. "If people don't feel safe, we won't have riders."

"This is my declaration of war," Catoe said. "Today, it's about action, not about reviews."

He said every aspect of the Metro operation would be affected, but "no one is more accountable than I."

"I will not hesitate in taking -- if I think that we're not moving in the right direction -- to make future changes."

Last week, Catoe revamped much of his top leadership. In fact, the lineup on the staff side of the board room is different: Transit police Chief Michael Taborn just delivered the monthly safety report. To Catoe's right, where Deputy General Manager Gerald Francis ould normally be sitting, is Dave Kubicek, the head of Metrorail operations, who is serving temporarily as Catoe's deputy.

While Catoe did not detail specific actions -- he didn't say, I removed so and so because I wasn't satisfied with such and such -- he pledged the transit authority to close cooperation with the Federal Transit Administration and the Tri-State Oversight Committee. The latter is the local panel whose investigators were for months denied access to Metro tracks, a serious problem that came to the attention of Catoe and board members when Lena H. Sun and Joe Stephens reported it in The Post.

During the safety report, board members questioned staff about this year's increase in the number of passenger injuries on MetroAccess, the service for people who are elderly and disabled. The report says that from January through November, 103 people were hurt using MetroAccess. That's 37 more than at the same point last year.

Metro officials said that a significant portion of the injuries occurred when passengers didn't follow the operators' instructions -- for example, by taking off their seat belts or getting out of the transport vehicle against the advice of the driver.

By Robert Thomson  |  December 17, 2009; 9:21 AM ET
Categories:  Metro , Safety  | Tags: Chief Michael Taborn, Dr. Gridlock, Federal Transit Administration, John B. Catoe Jr., Tri-State Oversight Committee  
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Just wondering...
Is it legal for Metro to stop ofering Metro Access service and making it the responsability of the local juristictions to provide that services to people in their communities?
I just don't understand why Metro, with no dedicated funding, must provide this service.
If Montgomery County can have RideOn and PG County the Bus and DC the Circulator and Arlington ART, then why can' those juristictions have their ow paratransit service and be forced to cove those costs?
It seems many of metro's budget woes are related to Metro Access. And, because of those budget woes, they can't keep Metro from falling apart.
I am guessing it has something to do with the fact that a lot of people live in one juristiction and work in another, so Metro covers that while RideOn, etc does not. Assuming that is the case, why not have Metro Access only do those trips where that is the case and if you live in SilverSpring and are going to your doctor in Bethesda, then you call Montgomery County Paratranst?

Seems it would save some, if not a lot or money, just a thought.

Posted by: GlenBurnie | December 17, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

If Catoe were not black, he would have been gone a long time ago. His record is horrific! How many deaths, how much waste and fraud and simple idiocy have taken place on his watch?

Catoe must go!

Posted by: SkinsDiesel | December 17, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

SkinsDiesel, that's what many people know but are afraid to say. A white guy with Catoe's track record would have been history a long time ago.

Posted by: checkered1 | December 17, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

We all know how we hate traveling in public transit where we have to breathe in others people stinky arm pits. Especially if we have to breathe in when they are sneezing or coughing. So I came up with a product idea and wanted to know your feedback. I have created a survey to gauge the product’s utility value and would really appreciate your input. Thank you all !

Survey Link :

Posted by: MichelleRand | December 17, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

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