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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 12/27/2010

Year in review: Metro sliding backward

By Donavan M. Wilson, Germantown

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.

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 letters@washpost.com.

By Donavan M. Wilson, Germantown  | December 27, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Metro, Year in review 2010  
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Comments

If you think that you saw a slide over the eight years since you moved here, I moved to DC in 1985, back when it cost me $1.10 to get from my home to my first job! After a quarter century of riding Metro, I finally gave up and I now drive to work. Enough is enough.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | December 27, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Apply the sanction of No Child for a failing school to Metro: Start anew.

Posted by: jimb | December 27, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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