Monday, May 10, 2010

Metro Rant

Yes, it is something just about any Washingtonian can do have a complaint about the Metro. Over the past year or so the complaints have come fast and furious. The age old problem they’ve never been able to solve is their inability to inform people in a timely manner exactly what is going on.

My rant doesn’t have anything to do with that. My complaint, which I’ve mentioned before, is what is a two tiered system of running rush hour trains. Of course it’s no longer called rush hour. This is peak hour fares and schedule. It seems to me that trains run more frequently after 7 am than before 7am. I’ve come to this conclusion over the past few months as I’ve ridden to the gyms in the morning.

Three days out of the week I’m at the gym in the mornings. I’m usually out of the house before 6:30. On Friday’s I leave even earlier. The other two days of the week I leave at 8. Here’s what I’ve found. If I leave at 8, I’m usually in the office by 8:30. Trains are running around 6 minutes apart. Sometime a little more sometimes a little less. That’s not the case when I leave earlier. There are a couple of trains together and then you get to wait up to 10 minutes or longer until another one arrives.

That is what happened to me this morning. I just missed a train. And I mean just missed it. If I’d been 30 seconds earlier I would have gotten on the train. The next train wasn’t for another 10 minutes. I waited the ten minutes and along came another train. I noticed on the electronic message board that there were two more trains just minutes behind the one pulling into the station. In fact at a couple of stations with lots of people on the platform, the train operator asked people not to over crowd the train because there were several more “directly behind” this one.

Several things come to mind. Why not space the trains out more? That might lead to the platforms in the morning not being so crowded. If you’re going to be doing things this way, why are people paying a peak period fare. Talking to people about this, I’m not the only one who’s noticed this.

And I just made it to the gym on time to get to my spinning class. In fact, it was starting as I was setting up my bike. The moral of the story is never miss a train in the early morning because you could wait up to 10 minutes or more for the next one.

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