The Washington Metro system is a well-designed local transportation system. It has been open since the mid-1970’s and has expanded to cover most parts of the City and into the suburbs of Virginia and Maryland.
The problem for the Metro system is-- it does not work. The service is horrible, its’ reliability non–existent, the cars and tunnels are hot beyond belief and it is dirty.
I take the metro from downtown to Capitol Hill and to the post office. Today was the post office. I sat in the train at Farragut North Station for 20 minutes with the doors of the train open. A garbled voice would come over the loud speaker saying something like mmsjferrt mrutsters, mruggder. No help there, could have been a fire in the tunnel and no one would know. (and tunnel fires do happen)
When I got to my destination, I walked up a stopped and frozen escalator. The other has been under repair for 6 months. Every time I go to this station, there are a couple of guys working on it. I mean, how long can it take? If it broken, get a new one that works.
I asked one of the repairman when it was going to be fixed, and he said, “ I don’t know, we are still looking.” Looking at what, looking for what? These may be the best repair guys around but they are highly paid secure union jobs with no accountability. If they cannot get it repaired in 6 months, get some new guys. I mean they have lifetime employment repairing all the Metro escalators that do not work.
I got my mail. The Post Office does not work much better than the Metro. The mail only appears in the box on Tuesday. Any other day the box is empty. What are they doing back there behind the boxes? I hear voices but no mail goes up.
But back to Metro, so on my way back downtown (passing the same broken escalator but going down now against the people coming up, the repairmen were on break) I have to wait 17 minutes for the next train. It is hot. I mean like being in Port Swetingham, Malaysia at noon. It is not just uncomfortable, it is unhealthy. I start to pit out within 5 minutes.
When I get back to the station I left from, guess what? The escalator was out.
In any event, this is just my story of today. A dear friend of mine who took the Metro from Virginia had a 40 minute expected ride last 90 minutes today. She missed her meeting, and almost busted her bladder.
Metro whines that it needs more money. However, fares go up and up. With the fare and metro parking fees it is cheaper in some cases to drive and park in the city.
Metro does not need more money. It needs management competence. It derelictions have resulted in derailments, people dying, equipment failure, endless delays. It is symbolic of multi-headed government subsidized agencies that do not work. When will we ever learn? Or ever change?