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WMATA Weekends: A failure to communicate

The communications with riders on weekends during “rebuilding” (“rebuilding” is a fancy word for “stealing money from tax payers and riders under the guise of fixing a rail system that never seems to get fixed”) is terrible.

First of all the PIDS don’t work…



The in-station audio announcements are borked…



Trains are mislabeled…



Then there’s the unmanned @metrorrailinfo account that SUCKS on weekends compared to SEPTA…



Annnnnd then there was this mess…
(Saturday morning)



(Saturday night)



Fantastic! They finished work early! Sunday morning we got a confirmation of this:



THEN… just 4 minutes later…

Trained to Fail?

Are WMATA’s training programs executed in a way that sets employees up to fail? Are employees being allowed to perform their job function with only partial training putting customers lives in jeopardy? One former employee who asked to not be named sent me the following:

I’m a former employee was terminated due to having an accident but during my training was the only one out of my class that was made to sit out because I had a VA CDL learners. I was unable to operate because all VA CDL learners have a passenger restriction, which means that you can not get behind the wheel training with customers on the buses. As a candidate I was number 1 in my class and had a percentage of 100 on every exam but when I left Carmen Turner Training facility and went to Bladensburg Division there was no plan in place to accommodate me for not being able to have behind the wheel training. Instead Wmata had me sit out of training for two weeks until I received my official CDL, allowing me only 2 weeks of behind the wheel training instead of 4 weeks like my classmates. By not having the same experience as my peers I had an accident and was terminated because I was in a 90 day probationary period at the time. No one at Wmata wants to take accountability for failure to train me correctly. They have since changed there policy and will only hire those with an official CDL in order to cover themselves.. These type of situations are are the exact reasons why there are major incidents per the smoke in the tunnel. Lack of training operators correctly, they want the money that comes with the training but they are rushing everyone through to produce numbers.

The writer (who says I can give out their email if anyone wants to contact them) also adds:

“[The] accident was minor and the union didn’t even try to investigate.”

No doubt every case is different and hopefully WMATA has resolved the situation that lead up to the one described here but it does make you wonder.

Wall to Wall Waste

WMATA, let’s have a chat.

You ALWAYS want more money – this much is clear. I don’t think you’ll EVER have all the money you say you “need”. Any time something comes up you run to politicians saying lack of funding is the problem.

I wish I could agree with you. I really do.

WMATA, WASTE is your problem. Not lack of funds.

I can’t get behind raising fares, etc when you’re doing stuff like this:



Update: apparently all this money is being spent on the 1000 series rail cars. These are the oldest rail cars that will be the first to go when the 7000-series cars start taking riders. The waste knows no end.

Update 2: (2/19/15)

WMATA Board Chair Downey was nice enough to provide some clarification tonight on Twitter. First of all – he’s responding to riders on Twitter, so… thank you Mr. Downey. Second, he’s clarified that the 1000 series will only receive recarpeting for “safety reasons”. I can’t argue with safety so I won’t. But still – $4M seems a bit pricey. Maybe it’s transit-grade carpet?

Not Fare

WMATA doesn’t have the ability to change the fares being charged to match the service being offered. This is due to incredibly antiquated technology. But don’t worry, it’s a win/win for them! Not so much for us.

UPDATE: @mikeyusc offers this explanation for what’s going on here:

There has been a uproar tonight about why WMATA is running Saturday service tomorrow, but still charging peak fares.

The uproar is well founded, but at least in this instance, they really don’t have a choice.

The WMATA fare gates are using an antiquated system that cannot be reprogrammed remotely, each gate has to be physically programmed by a technician attaching a cable to it and uploading the fare tables/schedules.

But wait, you say.. they already change times for Weekends, Peak and Non­Peak, and holidays!!

Yes, they do.. but all of these events are known events, and have been included into the program uploaded into the fare gates. For WMATA to make a change to this program, a technician again would have to visit every fare gate in the system, not something that can be done overnight.

Accenture has already been awarded a contract to replace the fare gates with a newer model that can be updated from a central location, as well as take credit cards and smart phones as entry payments: http://newsroom.accenture.com/news/washington­metro-
awards­accenture­major­contract­for­new­electronic­fare­payment­system­to­improve-
customer­experience.htm

Until this new system comes online, we’re at the mercy of 1970’s technology.

What’s Really Happening at Silver Spring?

Why can’t this be fixed?

Brake Problems

This is what a “brake problem” at Rosslyn looks like… and it happens quite often:

ABC7: Could Metro handle an act of terrorism?

Regarding responce to L’Enfant incident:
“This lies right in the lap of Metro and I think Metro knows it. Do they have a game plan? If so they never showed it.” – Eleanor Holmes Norton

“It was absolutely an effective plan. 2 hours to move 200 people out of a Metro tube – smoke filled – up to surface level, get evaluated by medical personnel and then transported. 2 hours? That’s pretty good time.” DC Homeland Security & Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Geldart

Local Hero Strikes Again

Jonathan Rogers performed CPR to try to help save a life on the smoke filled WMATA Yellow Line train on Monday. As if that wasn’t enough he’s now ALSO produced pictures with timestamps that show exactly how long they were trapped in that train. Get this man a beer and a vacation, stat!

No Love In An Elevator

Stop Telling Riders Untruths

WMATA Red Line Service Notice

WMATA Red Line Service Notice