Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Metro Is Back to Normal

It took me two hours to get from Twinbrook station in Rockville to Union Station today. Our packed train got as far as White Flint, when it stopped and immediately the driver told everyone to get off.

I don't like words like "off-load," as in, "We are off-loading this train, everybody please leave the train." "Off-load" just means that the customer is not getting the service he or she is paying for. It means you and hundreds of other people are going to be late to work, you're going to try to squeeze into the next train for an uncomfortable stand-up ride after waiting in the cold. We should not accept "off-loading" as normal performance by the Metro, but they throw it out there so you feel like you are part of their routine, not that they are part of yours.

Our train sat there empty for twenty minutes or so, and then another train came out to push it. That train was full of people, too, and when it got the the platform Metro made all of them get out. So you had two trainfuls of people standing on the platform, and that is a nice word, "trainful." Then they told us the next train would be coming on the other side, so we all moved to the opposite side of the platform, mooing and bleating. Eventually a train came on that side, jammed full of people, two or three people got on and the rest of us stood there and let it pass.

I could have punched a guy today. We had gone back to the usual side of the platform, and a Glenmont train stopped and maybe there was room was three or four more people on it, it was just full. I was in about the fifth layer of people, and some ... guy ... behind me kept pushing me. He and I got into an argument, and eventually he pushed past me and everybody else on the platform and got on, shoving everybody in the train out of his way, too. He was pushing keys on his Blackberry before the doors closed. I used some language I will not replicate here for you.

It is interesting to me that some people think they are more important than the rest of us. This guy just needed to go to the front of the line. He didn't say anything about having an emergency to attend to or anything, he just thought the world exists for him, and if the rest of us slackers want to stand around being polite he'll be more than happy to take advantage of us. Let me guess: you're a Republican, am I right? You see this in the lines exiting the stations, too, there are people who just walk past the whole line and go to the front.

While we were on the platform, Metro was announcing that they had stopped and off-loaded other trains in other stations, too, because of our breakdown, and had turned the trains around. I don't know what the strategy is there, unless it's just to spread the unhappiness evenly throughout the rail system.

It was snowing this morning. When I left the house my thermometer was saying it was about thirty degrees, just cold enough for snow but not so cold that, uh, trains can't run.

When I got to Union Station, I noticed that the turnstile still took my money. I don't pay four and a half bucks one-way for failing to get me to work on time, I am paying for relatively reliable transportation. I can't imagine that you or I would be able to perform this poorly at our jobs without some kind of penalty, how does Metro get away with it?

At Union Station hundreds of us lined up, mooing and bleating, to walk up the broken escalator.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this, Jim.

When I used to take Metro to work downtown, the service was so unreliable that you had to leave an hour earlier than you should because you never knew how long it would take.

Now, if I have a meeting downtown, I drive.

My thought was always that they should charge less if you have to stand up. Your thought was a good one too. If they delay your ride for more than, say, fifteen minutes, there should be no fare.

January 27, 2009 11:48 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home