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Metro takes heavy criticism


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Published on: Monday, November 19, 2012

By Chris Hinkel

ROCKVILLE - Metro rail took heavy criticism on Veterans Day weekend from commuters and the Action Committee for Transit as it fell short of the district’s expectations.  Not only did Monday’s trains run on a weekend schedule, but red line commuters were delayed by a single-tracked train service between Grosvenor and Friendship Heights due to track maintenance, causing the platforms to be jam-packed with frustrated commuters and late employees.  

“I don’t oppose the construction; they need to do it,” said red line commuter, Ahmed Anand (38).  “I just wish they were able to do it during hours where it wouldn’t affect everybody.”

The weekend’s delays should be no surprise to the average Metro user.  The red line has suffered numerous delays and closures this fall season, with power problems, track repairs and construction, and even collisions between metro trains.  But with hundreds of thousands of depending customers each day, Metro is expected to keep delays to a minimum.

“There are always delays on the red line,” said Phil Ryan (33), a metro commuter of eight years.  “It ebbs and flows, but it’s been pretty bad the last couple months.”  

With the holiday season approaching, metro commuters will have to expect even more delays.  Currently scheduled is: weeknight track work this week, weekend track work on November 16-18 (which will cause single tracking between Takoma and Forest Glen), ongoing platform reconstruction at Takoma Station, and service and renovation projects to various metro stations throughout the rest of the month – and that’s not to mention any unexpected delays along the way.

Some commuters are more understanding of Metro’s tough schedule, and accept the delays as par for the course.  Susie Lorden (43) has been riding metro for two years and acknowledges that metro employees have a tough job.  

“People complain about safety, they complain about the delays, they complain about everything,” said Lorden.  “As long as they provide notice, I sympathize with metro because they need to do the track work, they need to do the construction, they need to make the lines safer; and in order to do that they need to shut down the tracks sometimes.”

 Phil Ryan suggests that Metro commuters leave earlier to account for the delays, saying, “It’s been bad lately but it’s been bad before as well.  You just have to adjust to it.”

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority does provide regular updates and alerts.  To check Metro delays, alerts and advisories visit the website at www.wmata.com.

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