I missed out on the other two major disruptions of service on Metro earlier in this week. I was not so fortunate today. The only saving grace today was the fact it was the day before the July 4th holiday weekend so it was not a normal rush hour. If it had been it would have been terrible. As it was there were fewer people than normal on Metro this morning. It meant that the first train that pulled into Rhode Island Avenue after a more than 20 minute wait was not completely full of people. It was crowded but not jam packed.
I guess it could have been worse. Here’s a little taste of what happened on the Red Line on Monday:
It was chaotic at Farragut North on Monday evening.
Two trains offloaded at the station within minutes of each other during the heart of the rush hour. Trains single-tracked. There were delays in both directions. A platform was so crowded that some riders were pushed back to the mezzanine. The fare gates closed for at least 20 minutes to keep more passengers from flooding the station.
My 15-minute train ride turned into a 90-minute nightmare.
The problem, as some riders described it Monday night, is not that this happened Monday. It is that these delay-plagued commutes are becoming too common on the Red Line. This week was Monday. Last week was Wednesday.
This has become the norm these days. It’s not the rare break down of service. It is becoming a weekly event. Usually not a small scale but on a large one. Effecting wide swaths of the Metro system. Today there was an announcement urging riders to go to Fort Totten and transfer to the Green Line and then transfer to the Red Line at Gallery Place. That’s a pretty good idea but if everyone does it then both of those stations will be overwhelmed with passengers. It was also difficult to do because for a while no trains were running in either direction.
It ended up I was just about 40 minutes late getting to work. Not a huge amount of time but enough to be annoying. That seems to be the best word to describe Metro these days annoying.
It really does seem that the whole system is just falling apart. It makes me wonder if Metro is able to operate a system that runs seven days a week.
I also wonder at what point people get so disgusted with the Metro that riders start leaving in droves. Or has that begun? Is this that start of the collapse of the entire system? Only time will tell on that.
In the mean time Metro needs to improve service so people actually notice a difference. So far they haven't been very good at that.