Year in review: Metro sliding backward
As a transplant from Texas, where highways dominate the landscape, I was unaccustomed to an efficient mass transit system when I moved to the region. I marveled at how someone could get across the District, Maryland and Virginia in minutes. Metro certainly opened the doors of D.C. for me.
But eight years later, D.C. has come to stand for “dysfunctional commuting.” Commuters are prisoners of Metro’s problems. The daily trek consists of delays, confusion and lack of communication. Once the crown jewel of American public transit, Metro has become the opposite, and 2010 will be remembered as the year Metro’s decline picked up speed.
A few of the lowlights:
The year starts with John Catoe’s resignation as general manager after a series of deadly accidents. Metro has yet to hire a permanent replacement.
During the multiple snowstorms, we get a taste of what life would be like without a functioning Metro system. Not an appealing prospect.
A Red Line train derails in February as it is leaving the Farragut North station.
In September, workers experience a “near miss” on the Red Line when they aren’t told that trains have been routed onto the section of track they are inspecting.
In October, a crowded escalator at L’Enfant Plaza speeds up without warning. Four riders are hurt.
This month, a light fixture catches fire at Metro Center, causing major delays on the morning commute.
Meanwhile, Metro’s board of directors is undergoing a major shift, as the tenure of eight of 14 members is in question. Experts contend that the structure of the board hampers accountability while also allowing members to become overly involved in day-to-day operations.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s report in July called for significant structural reforms, and the region’s leadership has been getting on board. But any plan will take time to implement and change the daily commute.
Until then, I guess I’m stuck with my Red Line commute into purgatory.
The Post invited readers to write a short essay on the meaning of 2010 for the D.C. region. To participate, send up to 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donavan M. Wilson, Germantown
| December 27, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, Metro, Year in review 2010
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