Saturday, March 07, 2015

Metro Musings

It seems there’s a big to do over the type of person the Metro board is looking to run the agency. From the Post:

A major rift within Metro’s leadership has disrupted the transit agency’s search for a new chief executive after board members from the District and Maryland objected that the initial three finalists for the job weren’t the kind of executive needed to fix the organization’s problems, District and Metro officials said.

The internal battle has aroused concern that the dispute will hurt Metro’s reputation and make it harder to attract good candidates for the top job.

When I read the last sentence I started laughing out loud. It seems to me Metro’s reputation is already hurt. Then I realized the article was not talking about Metro’s reputation with riders but with potential candidates to run the agency.

It seems they had three potential candidates but they withdrew their names when their identities were leaked to a reporter for the local NBC affiliate.

This will set back the search since there are now no candidates potential or otherwise. But it got me to thinking what if any input do the riders of the system have on influencing this process. I guess we are supposed to rely on the various representatives on the Metro Board. That somehow does not make me feel all that confident over the process or who they will eventually end up picking.

The person might indeed need to have a greater emphasis on financial turn around. But the person also needs to be able to communicate with the public as well. The last head of Metro Richard Sarles left a great deal to be desired as far as I’m concerned.

He never seemed to get just how frustrated and angry people are with the Metro system especially the subway. To me, he seemed dismissive of people’s complaints. His line always seemed to be people can see that we are making progress in fixing the problems in the Metro system. The problem is I don’t think people see any progress in fixing the problems at all. They see delays and disruptions but letting if any improvement in service.

And I for one am tired of the announcements when there is weekend work of the line thank you for your patience as we upgrade and improve the Metro system. I have to say I have no patience for the delays and work any more. They are something to be endured. If at all possible I avoid taking the Metro on the weekends. That’s a little harder to do in the winter. But come spring (if that indeed ever comes) I’ll be on my bike.

As to the delays, I have a perfect example of Metro trying the patience of riders. A couple of weekends ago I was riding the Metro. There was work on the Red Line. They were single tracking between Judiciary Square and DuPont Circle. So the train I get on stops at Judiciary Square. There is announcement about single tracking and that we’ll be holding here until the train coming in the other direction clears the work area.

We wait as a few minutes pass. The operator makes the announcement again and adds we should be moving in three minutes. A couple more minutes pass and the same announcement. I pull out my phone and start timing just how long we wait. Thirteen minutes later the train going in the other direction pulls into the station. Shortly after that we finally move.

So we waited at least 15 minutes not the three we had originally been told. People on the train were not happy. I was one of those people. Here’s my question why give a time frame for when we would be moving. 15 minutes is not three. Waiting and waiting just pissed people off more and more. If Metro can’t get the most basic information correct, the wait time for the train to move, how is anyone going to believe anything else they say.

Yes I would say just about everyone’s patience is long gone.

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