Tag Archives: Metro

Straight outta patience with metro

Last week I blogged about my nightmare commute on metro.  A track defect caused a non-passenger train to derail last Thursday morning.

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Well yesterday they announced that the defect was found last month but nothing was done about it.  Folks around here are pissed.

The track defect that caused last week’s Metro derailment was detected more than a month ago, but it was not repaired, the agency’s top executive said Wednesday.

In addition, the flaw’s detection should have triggered the immediate shutdown of the section of rail involved, but the agency continued to run trains through it until the derailment.

“Let me not mince words: This is unacceptable,” Metro’s interim general manager, Jack Requa, said at a news conference. “It is unacceptable to me, and it should be unacceptable to everyone within the chain of command all the way down to the track laborers and track inspectors who are out on the front lines. We found this and should have addressed it earlier.”

Metro is trying to kill folks. They already did earlier this year. And let’s not forget the train collision in 2009 that killed nine people.

Last Friday it took me 2 hours to get to work on metro and 2 hours going home.  Didn’t have to worry about transferring on a shuttle bus like I did last Thursday but delays were caused by single tracking.  I was pissed for a second day in a row.

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This week my metro commute has been running smoothly for a change.  But you never know with metro.  The WMATA (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority) is one dysfunctional organization.

Another Metro Meltdown

This morning I got caught in a metro meltdown. There was a non-passenger derailment early this morning between the Smithsonian and Federal Triangle metro stations. Of course this affected the orange, silver and blue lines. I was pissed.

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When I left for work this morning I’m thinking I will actually get to work early for a change. Damn if metro messed up my plans. It took me 2 ½ hours to get to work when it normally takes 45 minutes. I was one mad sista. We were told that shuttle buses would be available for folks at the Federal Center station where everyone coming from Maryland were offloaded. Were the buses there? No. We had to wait awhile for the shuttle buses. And of course when one bus after another arrived you had to fight the crowds trying to get on the bus. I was not in the mood. Thank God it wasn’t raining. After getting off the bus at McPherson Square I was able to catch the Orange line to work. By the time I got to work I was too tired and hungry.

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The country’s second-largest rail system had been open for barely 20 minutes Thursday morning when Metro experienced yet another breakdown in a seemingly endless series of breakdowns. This time, a train preparing to begin service at the Smithsonian station derailed, forcing Metro officials to halt operations on portions of three lines and to shut down two stations.

The move left thousands of angry, frustrated commuters on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines scrambling for alternate ways to navigate the region — and howling over the latest incident to plague the troubled system.

Going home I decided to leave early. It’s a good thing. Trains were slow as hell. My train sat at each station for at least 5-10 minutes due to single tracking. Things finally got going after we left L’Enfant Plaza. Damn. My afternoon commute took about 1½ hours. That is one hell of a commute from Virginia to Maryland. One good thing was that I didn’t have to take a shuttle bus.

Folks who left later than I did encountered worse commutes. Checking out Twitter folks were complaining about the long lines to reach the McPherson Square platform. Trains were breaking down everywhere on metro this afternoon. I read that one of the new 7000 series trains were having door problems. What the hell is up with metro? Nothing but problems today.  Next time this mess happens I might be tempted to get off the train going to work and catch the train on the opposite side to go back home.

Murder on metro

The 4th of July is suppose to be a day of celebration.  But this past 4th of July in Washington, D.C. on the metro turned into a nightmare.  Twenty-four-year old Kevin Joseph Sutherland was brutally murdered in front of metro passengers.

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Eighteen-year old Jasper Spires murdered Kevin Sutherland.  He was trying to steal Kevin Sutherland’s cell phone.

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Jasper Spires boarded the Red Line Metro train at Rhode Island Avenue shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday, joining passengers from the District and elsewhere headed to various Fourth of July festivities, among them the Foo Fighters concert at RFK Stadium.

As the train rumbled toward its next stop, at NoMa-Gallaudet, a three-minute ride, D.C. police said, the 18-year-old Spires — who may have been high on synthetic drugs — tried to grab a cellphone tucked into the waistband of a recent American University graduate headed to a gathering with friends.

The two struggled, police said, and the terror began.

Police and a witness interviewed said passengers trapped in the moving train huddled at both ends of the car and watched in horror as Spires punched 24-year-old Kevin Joseph Sutherland until he fell to the floor, then stabbed him until he was dead. Court documents say the victim was cut or stabbed 30 or 40 times, in the chest, abdomen, back, side and arms. Police said the assailant then threw the victim’s cellphone and returned to stomp on Sutherland’s body.

“We were in a moving train,” said a 52-year-old woman, who spoke on the condition that she not be named because she is both a victim and a witness to a crime. “You’re not really sure what you need to do. . . . This man is holding a bloody knife. I don’t think anyone was going to try and stop him.”

After he murdered Kevin Sutherland he robbed other metro passengers.

When the frenzy was over, the woman, who is from Texas and was headed to the concert with her 76-year-old father, said the attacker turned his bloody knife on them. A police report said he told her father, who lives in the District, “Give me what you got,” took $60 and threw the man’s wallet on the floor. The man’s daughter then handed over an additional $160 “to keep him from hurting her father,” a police report said. The attacker also robbed other passengers, police said.

Jasper Spires was arrested yesterday and police say that he may have been high on synthetic drugs.  According to the Washington Post Jasper Spires was arrested last Thursday before he murdered Kevin Sutherland but was free while awaiting trial. Damn.  His ass should have been in jail instead of out on the streets.

Spires was arrested Thursday night in Northwest Washington on more serious charges. A police report says he confronted a man outside shops in the 5200 block of Wisconsin Avenue NW in Friendship Heights. The victim told police that the man was waving a wine bottle and demanded, “What do you have in your pockets?” He then grabbed the man by the neck, pushed him against a wall and searched through his pockets, the report says.

He was arrested by police about five minutes later. According to a police report, he kicked two officers in the legs as they handcuffed him.

The police report indicates that officers forwarded to prosecutors charges­ of robbery by force and violence, a felony, and assault on a police officer, a misdemeanor. When Spires made his initial appearance in D.C. Superior Court on Friday, prosecutors downgraded the felony robbery charge to a misdemeanor simple assault. A judge released Spires pending a July 21 hearing and ordered him to stay away from the victim.

It’s situations like this that make me nervous about metro sometimes. You don’t know what kind of people you will encounter on the train.  Let’s hope they keep Jasper Spires in jail this time.

Annoying habits on public transportation especially in the DMV

The Washington Post has an interesting article about what folks are tired of when it comes to taking public transportation. This can be by bus, train or subway. Cell phone conversations are the worst.

The poll of 1,000 Americans found commuters also are annoyed by people who don’t offer their seat to people with disabilities, the elderly or pregnant women, and the messy eater who leaves crumbs behind, and the passenger who gets too comfortable and uses the spare seat for their luggage.

The writer of this column also includes some annoying habits that can be seen on the metro here in the DMV.

If I may, I’d like to add to the list a few annoying habits that we hear about often in our Metro system: Leftscalators – the people who stand on the left side of the escalator as you are hustling down to the platform; the passengers who won’t move to the middle of the car when people are trying to board; the riders who don’t let disembarking passengers off the bus or train before they try to board.

I find it’s usually tourists who stand on the left side of the escalator. The rule is stand on the right so folks can walk up or down the escalators on the left.

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Folks, we have a train to catch. I don’t usually have the problem with passengers moving to the middle of the car since my work hours don’t have me dealing with trains that are too crowded.

Transit agencies know that some of these habits can ruin a passenger’s experience. In response, some have implemented policies to deter habits such as eating and drinking aboard buses and trains. They also have run campaigns to encourage common courtesy toward fellow commuters and regularly offer tips for how to keep the peace on the commute, including keeping quiet while on board.

Some folks still eat and drink on the subway. Just a few days ago a woman sitting in front of me was eating and drinking. Of course transit police are never around when the eaters and drinkers are doing their thing.

“This is not a diner,” says a poster in some stations showing an image of a Metro train made to look like a 1950’s-style diner. “Please don’t treat it like one. Be considerate of others by not eating or drinking on Metro.”

As for peace on the train, well I’m always listening to my ipod.  I use to encounter the loud school kids on metro.  You know the ones who are so loud that it pierces your eardrums.  Screaming and hollering like there is to tomorrow.  In the past couple of years I haven’t had that problem.  They must have changed the school hours thank goodness.

MTA adds another one to the list: the passenger who showered in perfume and cologne.

“An issue many passengers do not consider is the effect of perfumes and colognes in an enclosed environment such as a rail car,” the agency said. “Passengers are asked to be considerate of those with allergies by not using any aromatic sprays while riding and to use perfumes and colognes in moderation.”

Ah yes, the person who bathes in perfume. This happened to me last week. On my way to work a woman sat in front of me and you would have thought she took a bath in perfume. That mess was strong. It’s a good thing I don’t have allergies.

Another annoyance is the backpacker.  You know those folks who have backpacks on, sit sideways and proceed to jab you with their backpack.  I’ve had that happen quite a few times.  Sometimes its a young school age student.  They just keep jabbing you with that annoying backpack even after you’ve asked them to please move that damn thing.  Jesus people either sit forward or just take that backpack off.

One thing I’m guilty of is placing my tote bag in the empty seat next to me. When I’m on the train it’s usually not that crowded going to work or going home. When the train does start to get more crowded I move my bag and place it on my lap. But then the worst happens. When I do have someone sit next to me I always encounter the commuter from hell. Like the person who dozes off and keeps leaning against me. I have to keep pushing them off of me. Do not lean on me!!!

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Then there is big mama. I’m in my own space on the train. But for some reason when big mama sits next to me she takes up  her side of the seat and spills onto my side as well trying to take up half of my side. That is not the most comfortable feeling. And lets not the forget the men who sit spread eagle on the train. It’s called manspreading.

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manspreading2Fellas you are not at home sitting on your sofa.

Isn’t public transportation a wonderful experience?

Metro’s Monday Morning Meltdown

I saw on the news this morning that metro had problems (as usual) on the blue, orange and silver lines right in the middle of rush hour. The problem was smoke in the tunnel between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom.  Back in January Carol Glover died on the metro yellow line after she and numerous other riders were stuck on the subway due to a similar problem.

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Thousands of Metro riders suffered crowded stations and hours-long commutes Monday morning after an arcing insulator near Foggy Bottom caused firefighters to evacuate one station and the transit agency to suspend service on three busy rail lines.

No one was injured, officials said. The incident began about 8:30 a.m. with a report of the arcing insulator, followed by smoke in the tunnel at the Rosslyn Metro station. Firefighters said smoke was likely being pulled into the tunnel from the insulator at Foggy Bottom.

By early afternoon — more than six hours after the incident began — Metro said normal service had resumed on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines, which had — at times — been suspended while authorities dealt with the problem.

Even though I would have been at work earlier and this situation wouldn’t have affected me time wise, I’m still glad I was off from work today. My commute to work is in that direction. I feel for the folks who had to deal with this mess. Metro is always having problems.

As of 2:00pm service was back to normal. For now.

Looks like Uber took advantage of the metro meltdown.  Overcharging folks who just wanted to get to work.

Sandy Link said he got off Metro at Virginia Square after an hour of confusion and congestion in his commute from the Wiehle Avenue station and took Uber. From the back seat of an Uber car, Link — who works at LexisNexis — guessed his fare to Foggy Bottom area would be about $35.

Wrong, the Uber driver informed him.

Try $50 at least.

Link said that by the time he got to his office, the total bill for his Uber ride was $83.40 — typically that fare would be in the high 20s to low 30s. Total distance traveled: Four miles. Plus the Metro fare of $5.80.

Link’s response: “What a day.”

Talk about price gouging.  Damn Uber.

Young folks brawl on the metro

Most folks in the D.C. metro area have heard by now about the brawl on the metro last Friday evening involving up to 70 teens and young adults. The incident began at the Gallery Place Metro where dozens of young folks were fighting. The brawl continued on the subway platform at L’Enfant Plaza Station, terrifying other riders and causing a stampede.

So far three people have been arrested and four were injured. I’m surprised only 3 people were arrested. Two of the arrested were sixteen year olds.

Amid Metro brawl, family’s night out turns into ‘pandemonium’

By Valerie Strauss and Phillip Lucas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 9, 2010; A01

It was bad enough when Kimberly Hay’s family, riding the Metro to the Kennedy Center on Friday night to watch “Mary Poppins,” saw three youths assault a terrified young rider reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” by aiming an aerosol can at his face and spraying.

But the brawl they witnessed on the way home several hours later, which involved at least 70 youths fighting each other in a frenzy, left Hay’s nieces “freaked out” and the 43-year-old wary of riding the Metro in off-peak hours.

“It was pandemonium,” said Hay, who had traveled to the District from Charles County with her husband, sister-in-law, 25-year-old niece with special needs and two grandnieces, 11 and 14.

“We were pushing our kids out of the way, trying to plaster ourselves against the wall so nobody would hurt us. There were five fights right in front of us. . . . Metro is very accessible but not safe all the time. I don’t know if I would ride it again in non-rush hours.”

It was the second reported big fight involving young Metro riders in the nation’s capital this summer, and some elected officials called Sunday for better security and new approaches to deal with the problem.

The melee highlights the difficulties authorities have in dealing with teen violence and how it can encroach on a Metro system that routinely carries commuters, families, tourists and late-night revelers.

In June a youth was beaten over his shoes.

Violence among young people during the summer is a longstanding problem in the District, and it is the reason there is a curfew that requires city residents 17 and younger to be off the streets by midnight.

In early June, a fight that started on a Red Line train left a 16-year-old boy beaten unconscious by a group of people who had attacked him over his Air Jordan shoes, the boy’s mother said. Union Station was closed for about 30 minutes after a Transit Police officer responded and was backed up by more than a dozen other officers.

I only take the metro during the weekday to go to work and then go home from work.  Even then you have to worry about some of the young folks who board the train during the school year.  They can be very loud, obnoxious and down right vulgar. The young girls can be worse than the young boys.  I blogged about this back in 2007 and from reading yesterday’s article their behavior hasn’t changed one bit.

It was bad enough when Kimberly Hay’s family, riding the Metro to the Kennedy Center on Friday night to watch “Mary Poppins,” saw three youths assault a terrified young rider reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” by aiming an aerosol can at his face and spraying.

This_right_here. Spraying something in someone’s face? How trifling can you get? I swear it seems like some of these young folks don’t have any type of home training at all.  These kids (thugs, hooligans, whatever you wanna call them) are being raised on the streets by wolves!!

It would be nice if we can see more metro transit police on the trains.  But seeing how some of the young folks act they might fight the police.

Metro and seat hogs

The Washington Post has an interesting article about seat hogs on the metro/subway. According to the Post seat hogs are folks who sit in aisle seats with empty spots beside them but make no move to slide over and offer another passenger a seat or get up from the aisle seat so another passenger can sit in the window seat.   Seat hogs are also those who sit in window or aisle seats and place their bags, wet umbrellas, briefcases, etc. in the empty spot beside them or those who decide to take up the entire seat by sitting sideways with their feet propped up on the seat.

As Metro congestion grows, so does anger at ‘seat hogs’

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 19, 2010; A01

Brooke Timmons grasped a bar in the middle of a crowded Red Line rail car and held on, looking exasperated as she tried to keep her balance while the train jerked and accelerated down the track.

On both sides of Timmons sat riders referred to on commuter Web sites as “seat hogs.” A man and woman occupied aisle seats with empty spots beside them but made no move to slide over and offer Timmons a seat.

“There is a self-centeredness about it. ‘My space is more important than you,’ ” said Timmons, 37, a lawyer from the District. “It’s epidemic” and reflects a lack of etiquette in Washington, said Timmons, who grew up in Vinita, Okla., population 6,000, where she said gentility prevailed.

As Washington’s public transit network grows more congested, with Metro projecting “unmanageable” levels of saturation on its rail system by 2020, the phenomenon of people taking up more than their share of space is becoming increasingly touchy.

“It makes me mad,” Soulman Bushera, 26, an IT recruiter in the District, said as he rode a packed Red Line train downtown one recent morning. “I ask them to move,” he said. “You find a whole aisle of them sometimes, and the one you pick gets disgruntled.”

Twitter users and commenters on transit blogs such as Unsuck DC Metro frequently sound off about people who place purses, briefcases, feet or wet umbrellas on seats next to them in jammed trains.

I guess I’m somewhat of a seat hog.  I almost always get a window seat during morning and afternoon rush hour and place my tote bag on the other seat.  But I only do this when the train isn’t crowded and there are plenty of empty seats.  If I notice that the train is becoming more crowded I move my tote bag and put it on the floor.  Most times I put my tote bag on the floor anyway as soon as I get on the train, especially during the afternoon rush hour.

During the few times I’ve sat in an aisle seat I have my tote bag on the floor and if someone wants the window seat I get up so they can sit down. This usually happens when I’m on the train for only a few stops and I have to transfer.

One of the things that irritates me and some folks have commented on it in the comments area of this article is when you’re sitting in the window seat and Big Mama decides to sit next to  you.  Not only is Big Mama sitting on her side of the seat but her ample behind is taking up part of your seat as well.  I’m not small by any means but my butt manages to stay on my side of the seat.  Unfortunately Big Mama wants part of my side of the seat too.

“Seat hogs are so prevalent, and there is such a sense of entitlement among certain passengers,” he said, calling those who sit on the aisle, blocking empty seats, particularly “passive-aggressive.”

You can read the entire article here.

One thing I noticed about this article is that some folks aren’t asking the aisle sitters if they would either scoot over to the window seat or if they could get up so they can sit in the window seat.  Most folks aren’t mind readers so you need to let the aisle sitters know.  When I’ve been on a crowded train I ask the aisle sitter if I can sit in the window seat. Haven’t had any problems yet.

A few years ago during morning rush hour I was sitting in the window seat and a woman was sitting next to me. When it was time for me to get off at my stop I said excuse me so I could get off the train. Well this wench refused to get up.  After saying excuse me several times and not getting up all she did was move her body over and face the aisle.   And she was no small woman either.   Since she acted like a real bitch I had to fight my way of the seat and my purse knocked her upside her head.  Did I apologize? Hell no!!!  Since she was too damn lazy to get up from the seat so I could get out of the seat normally she took that risk of my bag hitting her upside her big head.

Giving a side eye to Mother Nature

Yes I am. The weather folks are talking about more snow tomorrow and Wednesday. The accumulation projections range from 5 to 16 inches depending on where you live in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Like I need more snow to shovel 😦   But the good news is that I don’t have to go to work tomorrow. The federal government was closed today but today was my day off anyway. But I do get a snow day tomorrow. And after reading the Washington Post’s Get There column with Dr. Gridlock, if the government was open my train station won’t be open anyway. Metro is running on a limited service schedule. Fifteen stations are closed due to heavy snow drifts on the tracks. There’s also limited bus service as well.

Metro service limited on Tuesday

The effects of the past storm and anticipation of the next will limit Metro transit services on Tuesday.

Metrorail
The train system will open at 5 a.m. with limited service and may close early depending on how cold it becomes and how deep the snow gets. Fifteen stations will remain closed because the snow drifts on the tracks are so heavy.
Six-car or eight-car trains will operate at 30-minute intervals. They will travel at 35 mph.

Here’s the line-up:
Red Line Limited Service: Medical Center to Union Station and Glenmont to Forest Glen
Blue Line Limited Service: Franconia-Springfield to Stadium-Armory
Green Line Full Service: Greenbelt to Branch Avenue
Orange Line Full Service: Vienna to New Carrollton
Yellow Line Full Service: Huntington to Fort Totten

Closed stations: Shady Grove, Rockville, Twinbrook, White Flint, Grosvenor, New York Ave, Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland, Silver Spring,Takoma, Benning Road, Capitol Heights, Addison Road, Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center. They all have snow drifts of three to six feet on the tracks.

30 minute intervals at 35 mph? It would take forever to get to work. I wonder if metro is charging rush hour fares for this limited service since morning rush hour starts at 5:00am.

Miracle on the metro

I witnessed a miracle on the metro subway.  One day last week on my way home from work I was listening to my mp3 player.  Of course when this happens there’s always at least one person who decides to blast their music on the train despite their being a metro rule that if you’re playing music you must have earphones on. The loud music lovers either have earphones on yet you can hear their music full blast so that they will eventually lose their hearing in about ten years.  Or some idiot will get bold and play music without the earphones cause they assume that everybody on the train wants to listen to their music. Well here I am sitting in the front car of the train (cause I’m brave like that despite last weeks metro accident) and wouldn’t you know it. Some young fool is sitting in the very front of the train blasting his music for everyone to hear. I could hear his music even though I had my earphones in my ear.

By the time we got to Stadium Armory the driver of the train must have also heard his music cause he opened the door and stepped out of his little driver compartment. He let the young loud music playing idiot know that he had to either turn off the music or use his earplugs. I wanted to shout amen but I just whispered it to myself with a big smile on my face.  I’ve never seen this happen before. If you’re sitting in the front car and someone’s blasting their music most drivers don’t seem to care.  But this driver did care and I just wanted to say thank you.

Of course that was a first time I witnessed the metro driver saying something and it will probably be the last.

Metro riders describe train crash

The WaPo has another article about the red line metro crash that occurred during today’s evening rush hour.

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Riders Offer One Another Tourniquets, Tenderness

By Rosalind S. Helderman and David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In the first car of the six-car Red Line train, on a sunny-day evening commute, passengers heard a message familiar to any Metrorail rider: The conductor said they were holding for a moment — there was a train ahead.

The train started moving again, picking up to moderate speed.

Then, without even the squeal of brakes as a warning, there was a crash and the feeling of being lifted up as the train hit one that was stopped.

In the moments after the crash, passengers made tourniquets out of T-shirts, struggled to pull debris off others and sought to calm the hysterical and the gravely wounded. Inside the worst-hit car, waiting on ambulances and the “jaws of life,” an Anglican priest led a group in the Lord’s Prayer. On the ground below, a civilian Pentagon employee told a wounded girl he wouldn’t accept her last wish — she was going to live.

Inside the car, there was dust and broken glass and blood. Seats had been ripped from the floor and thrown around: One man was trapped between two of them, with a leg that appeared broken. A woman was screaming, invisible, buried beneath a pile of seats.

But the most incredible thing was the floor itself. It was gone, peeled away. Passengers could look down and see the grooved metal roof of another Metro train.

“The front of the train just opened up,” said Marcie Bacchus, 30, who was among a handful of passengers in the car at the center of the deadliest accident in Metro’s 33-year history.

The crash happened about 5 p.m. on an aboveground stretch of track that runs through neighborhoods between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations. Authorities said one Red Line train rear-ended another, hitting with such force that its first car was thrown on top of the other train.

Check out the entire article here.

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