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Posted at 7:13 PM ET, 12/17/2010

The Metro system: Flawed to the core

By Bryan Catalano, Bethesda

On Thursday morning, after leaving my condo at my normal time, I was greeted by an extra-long wait at the White Flint Metro station. After I boarded the train, the operator announced in that muttered “can’t be bothered” tone that one typically hears on the Metro announcement system that there was a cracked rail. Strike one for my commute.

He muttered further that because of to this cracked rail, every train on the Red Line would be sharing a single track from now until the abyss. Strike two. An hour later, we had moved four stops and were crammed in like sardines.

If any one of the problems that plague the Metro system in our nation’s capital were singular, it would be enough for my stomach to handle. The problem is, the problems are many. When the trains are sparse, they are packed with people. During rush hour, trains are still jammed, but don’t forget to add a dash of delay because the system seems incapable of running on a schedule. Throw into the mix the occasional train with door or brake failures, and you’re 30 minutes late to work.

You pay peak-of-the-peak fares, peak fares and off-peak fares — all of which seem exorbitantly high considering the derelict state in which the Metro system remains. Don’t forget the escalators and elevators. If it’s not a problem with one, it’s a problem with the other. After all, who would mind taking a shuttle that adds 20 minutes to his commute if he happens to have a disability or is just incapable of climbing from the bowels of the earth?

I think Metro has reached a point of no return. It seems flawed to the core, and Washingtonians are paying for it — with their time and money. A total overhaul is needed. Management should be replaced with people who have experience running a real Metro system. Time for change, D.C.

By Bryan Catalano, Bethesda  | December 17, 2010; 7:13 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., Metro, traffic, transportation  
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A WPost story the other day reported that the Moscow subway system keeps its escalators (more and longer than Metro's) while running while the subway churcns along 24/7. Seems like the Metro in the capital of the surviving super power could learn some important things from the former Comrades of a third world country with nuclear weapons.

Posted by: jimb | December 17, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Metro may be a price example of government not working well. Give it to the GOP to turn around.

Posted by: jimb | December 17, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Why is it people start complaint letters with "operator announced in that muttered “can’t be bothered” tone that one typically hears on the Metro announcement system"
I certainly don't ride "PUBLIC" transportation to critic the employees tone of voice.

If you want better service from employees and equipment then be prepared to pay for it through taxes just as "Old Europe" does.

Posted by: knjincvc | December 18, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

You left out we are now getting our bags searched.

Posted by: scoran | December 18, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Feels like the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, only for Roman read American. Once the wealthy have taken complete control of everything, the place will not be fit to live in.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | December 18, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

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