Monday, March 21, 2011

Metro: Masquerading as Mass Transit

That might be a little extreme but sometimes that’s how it feels or more to the point makes me feel. That’s especially true if you try and use it on the weekend. The delays and disruption of service never seem to end. If that’s not a factor it is the length of time you have to wait between a train.

This hit home for me this weekend. I was going to my TRX class at my gym on Saturday. Actually I was leaving early so I could get in some walking before the class. I just missed a train. As in it was pulling out of the station as I got to the top of the escalator. That’s one of the more frustrating things to have happen to you when in the Metro rail system.

But even more frustrating is having to wait 15 minutes until the next train. I’m pretty sure the waits between trains on the weekend didn’t use to be that long. This is when there is no construction or closing of stations or whatever else Metro plans on a weekend. 15 minutes. I will say that I was able to pace the platform and get in some steps. Pacing also made the wait seem not so long.

I think this weekend there was no work on the Red Line. So the wait was only 15 minutes. The weekends when there is track work and trains are sharing the same track you can easily wait up to 20 minutes for a train. The problem also is the lack of information on which direction the train is traveling. I’ve been riding the Metro for years and sometimes I have problems figuring out which direction the train is going. A simple announcement by the station manager would be a good start. He or she could say something like the training pulling into the station is going in the direction of downtown DC would be helpful.

This is important because a great deal of work is being done around the stops I use. The stops near Union Station. A station where you’re going to have a higher percentage of people who don’t normally use Metro on a regular basis if at all. Many people coming from Amtrack end up going in the wrong direction.

I guess the moral of this story is make sure you make the train not just miss it.

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