Saturday, November 19, 2011

Reminder: Try Not to Ride Metro on the Weekend

Today was a perfect reminder of why to avoid riding Metro on the weekends. This is when it becomes anything but a mass transit system. Every weekend most if not all of the lines have work being done on them. Here’s the work that is going on this weekend:

Metro will advance major track work on sections of the Blue, Yellow, Red and Orange lines this weekend.

Beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, and continuing through system closing on Sunday, Nov. 20, buses will replace Metrorail trains on the Blue and Yellow lines between King Street and Pentagon City stations. Three stations -- Crystal City, National Airport and Braddock Road -- will be closed during this time, as Metro installs new rail ties, insulators, upgrades the surfaces underneath the rails and installs communications cables for improved cell phone service.

In addition to regular shuttle buses between Pentagon City and King Street, Metro will offer special express bus service between Metro Center and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport throughout the weekend for the benefit of airport travelers.

On the Red Line, Metro crews will continue work to stabilize a municipal water main and sewer line within Farragut North Station. The heavy construction effort requires that one Red Line track be taken out of service to create a safe work zone. Red Line trains will single track between Dupont Circle and Judiciary Square, with trains operating every 20 minutes through the affected section.

I set out to go to my gym to go to the 8:30 TRX class. I try and leave at 7:30. I'm running a little late. I try and walk quickly to the Metro. I get to the Metro and I have an 18 minute wait for the next train. I try and figure out how long people have been waiting. I estimate the point in time on the walk to the Metro when I can actually see the platform. I then figure out from that point on how long it takes to get on to the Metro platform. I think about 5 minutes. So at the very least people will wait 23 minutes for a train to arrive. I also figure that that is a conservative estimate. So much for waiting 20 minutes between trains.

Well finally a train arrives. I can still get to my class on time. I go to the first car in the train. I do this so I can be as close to the exit that my gym is near. The train pulls into Farragut North. On weekends one of the three exits from Farragut North is closed. It turns out because of the work on the platform the exit toward the front of the train is closed. The only exit in use is at K Street. This is in the middle of the platform. To top it off there is only one working escalator. Well actually the escalator has been shut off because people have to use it to walk up or down from the platform.

Now you would think that the train operator would have said while pulling into the station that only the K Street exit is open. But well this is Metro after all and we're only passengers so why should we receive any information on what's going on.

I go to the class. Have a good workout. I get ready to head out. I figure I'll walk to Metro Center and avoid all this mess.

Oh was I wrong. Metro Center is even more of a mess. They are single tracking trains at Metro Center. But there is little or no information available on what is going on. I will say there were several Metro people on the platform giving out information but they could only reach a limited number of people.

The electronic signs showed when a train would arrive. The problem was it didn't say which direction it was going in. Also the time continued to change. First a train would be arriving in 10 minutes. Then 13 minutes. Then 16 minutes. Turned out it wasn't that long.

The train arrives. The Metro employees on the platform say the direction the train is going in. That's great except for the fact the only people that can hear them are those directly around them. There is an announcement from the train operator which more people are able to hear. But how about before the train is coming into the station an PA announcement saying the direction the train is going in.

I finally got home. But it brought home to me why not to ride the Metro on the weekend.

1 comment:

DCfemella said...

Metro sucks a*s. I prefer to just drive into DC.