Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Another Wonderful Morning Commute on Metro

Another day another track fire on Metro. Another day another hellish commute. Another day another single tracking situation. Another day another fail from Metro. Once again the complete inability of letting people know what is going on. Once again the complete inability of Metro to direct people on where they should go. Once again contradictory information on what is going on. Once again the inability to provide basic information to allow people to make a decision on what to do to be able to get to work.

Here’s the back ground of what happened this morning:

Trains on the Red Line are sharing a track Tuesday morning because of a reported problem on the tracks near the Friendship Heights stop. Riders should expect delays. Trains are bypassing the Bethesda stop.

The single-tracking of trains is between the Friendship Heights and Medical Center stops.

Fire crews were said to be responding to the Friendship Heights stop for a report of a fire on the tracks. No further details were immediately available. Metro Transit Police said in a Twitter message that units were on the scene and that the fire was between the two stations.

This was originally reported at 6:48 am. This was just a little after I got on a train at Rhode Island Avenue. The starting and stopping began at Farragut North. One of the big problems about finding out what was going on was the way the train operator made his announcements. Just about every time he started talking over the intercom there was some sort of announcement from Metro central control. So you ended up hearing both of these over the intercom and thus not hearing what either was saying. As I said this happened just about very time the operator made an announcement.

At each stop, we held on the platform for awhile. There was an announcement that the Bethesda station was open. We moved a few more stops and were told again the Bethesda station was open. But, and this was a big but, trains going north would not be stopping at the station. It sounded like shuttle buses would be available at Friendship Heights. Again really hard to hear what the guy was saying

Finally got to Friendship Heights. Was told again that the train would not be stopping at Bethesda. That shuttle buses were available at this Friendship Heights and the shuttle would take you to the Bethesda station. So I got off the train.

Here’s where the real fun began finding where to go to catch the shuttle bus. Metro provided absolutely no help with this at all. There was no announcement as to where to get the shuttle bus in the Friendship Heights station. There was no one on the platform telling riders where to go to get the shuttle bus. Seeing that there was no one to ask where to go, I went up the escalator to the level with the fair gates. Again no one actively letting people know where to get the shuttle bus. There was a Metro employee standing by the fare gates. If people came up to him he would answer their questions but only if someone came up to him. Rather than saying loudly people looking for shuttle buses need to go in this direction.

I went through the fare gate and up to the next level. It’s sort of the mezzanine. On this level there are four possible exits. One goes into hotel. One goes to the mall that's there. Then two actually end up going up to the street. Not a single person from Metro there to tell you where to go. Not a single sign telling you where to go. Nothing. There was a homeless person. He knew where people needed to go to catch the shuttle bus. I should have given him a dollar for that.

Up to the street level. No one right at the escalator entrance to tell people where to go to get the bus. They were a little further out. I have no idea why. Seems to me the thing to do would be to place a couple of Metro people right at the top the escalator to let people immediately known where to go to catch the shuttle bus. I said to one of them you might want to put someone the next level down to let people know which exit to use. I could tell by the expression on his face he had absolutely no interest in hearing what I had to say. None. And I’m sure he wasn’t going to tell anyone about it. He did at least point out where to get the shuttle bus.

A short walk to the shuttle bus. I again said to one of the Metro employees that they might think of putting someone down on the mezzanine level to let people know where to get the shuttle bus. Again I doubt anything was done. After all having someone down there showing people where to get the shuttle bus would actually help people. Why would Metro want to do that?

Once again a muffed response. Once again a farce. Once again a fail on the part of Metro. I realize things can happen. A disable train, a sick passenger, smoke or fire in a tunnel. But each time something happens Metro reacts to it as if it’s the first time something like that ever has happened. They are still unable to let riders known in a timely manner what is going. What steps have been taken to get people to their destinations. How hard would it have been to point out to people where the shuttle buses are?

To me the bottom line on this is pretty simple. It’s not that Metro can’t or is unable to let riders know what is going on, Metro simple doesn’t want to let riders know what is going on. They just don’t care period.

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