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Union wants Metro to slow trains

Metro's largest union is calling for a safety slowdown of trains after a train operator used his emergency brake last week to avoid hitting another train.

The Amalgamated Transit Union is calling on Metro to run its trains no faster than 40 mph until the agency can determine what caused the incident.

Union President Jackie Jeter also is asking that the union be notified of all incidents within 24 hours so workers can be alerted of safety concerns. She issued the demands to Metro on Monday.

Jeter says she learned of the train operator using the emergency brake just outside Wheaton Station from media reports, despite a pledge from Metro to notify the union of incidents.

Regional transportation officials sent a letter to Metro last week demanding an explanation for the incident and the communications breakdown that delayed the incident from being reported to the panel that oversees Metro safety. Safety procedures require that the Tri-State Oversight Committee be notified within two hours of such incidents.

Even the interim general manager, Richard Sarles, had incorrect information on when and where the incident occurred more than 24 hours after it happened.

A slowdown to 40 mph from top speeds of 59 mph likely would cause delays. Jeter says passengers probably wouldn't mind if they knew it was for safety.

-- Washington Post wire and staff reports

Letter to Sarles from regional oversight officials

Chief safety officer's letter to safety staff

By Michael Bolden  |  May 11, 2010; 9:17 AM ET
Categories:  Metro , Safety  
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Next: Metro's peak of the pique


Jeter is wrong. Passengers will be up in arms over a 19mph drop in speed. Metro already feels like the proverbial slow boat from China, the thought of it taking any longer turns my stomach. Horrible.

Posted by: yatesc1 | May 11, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

If we could get all the trains slowed down, but actually be on some sort of a schedule, I would be okay with it. Even if it takes the same amount of time, there's something much more stressful about a ride that's very stop and go as opposed to a slow, steady ride. Plus I always feel like I'm taking a bit of a risk getting on Metro.

Posted by: runnergirl03 | May 11, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Here's a novel idea, get rid of the stupid union and things will improve. Modern day unions are good for nothing more than inflating budgets and protecting lazy workers at the expense of those who work hard. There was a time when unions had their place and a good purpose but those days are long since passed.

Posted by: habari2 | May 11, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Is 59mph too fast for the union thiefs to operate a train?

Put them back on automatic and make those union babysitters monitor doors, make announcements (not that they can remember the next stop anyway) and be ready to press the mushroom. Nothing else.

Posted by: member8 | May 11, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I thought the whole idea of operating under manual was to avoid having to use the emergency brakes?

Oh, wait, the system that controls the trains in automatic is the same system that tells the drivers in manual when to stop and go. So its no safer.

Posted by: thetan | May 11, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Metro seems to be de-evolving, like some Third World country after decolonization.

The computer-run trains worked 25 years ago. Why don't they work now?

We go from computer to manual, from 59 to 40. Soon, Metro will be harnessing mules to pull the cars.

Posted by: pmendez | May 11, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Obviously, the union thugs doesn't ride the Metro trains.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | May 11, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

40 mph sounds faster than Metro's current crawl!

Posted by: DOEJN | May 11, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Train those operators to operate the trains properly. It's just incompetence. You hire these people and train them on a shoe string budget and set them loose, and they crash trains.

Posted by: Special_One40 | May 11, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

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