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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 02:09 PM ET, 07/26/2011

Metro and the disappearing press release

Metro’s decision last week to allow riders to temporarily consume carry water in the transit system was greeted with both jeers and cheers last week. The controversy continued Tuesday when a press release on the issue disappeared from Metro’s Web archives.

Some riders expressed surprise that there was a law against consuming carrying water. The system does not allow food or drink, a long-standing prohibition that officials have said is intended to help the system stay clean and minimize rodent infiltration. However, regular riders are aware that the appearance of soda bottles, potato chip bags and other detritus on trains and buses is a frequent occurrence.

Others criticized transit officials for waiting late in the day on Friday, when the region was already more than one day into a wave of record heat, especially when riders sometimes face a gantlet of sweltering rail cars and hot stations.

Metro released the news in a statement that was available on its Web site. However, the release has since disappeared from the Web site press release archive, and Twitter users questioned the move. Metro maintains a searchable database of news releases on its Web site that goes back eight years, and the release no longer appeared in search results Tuesday.

@metroopensdoors @metroforward. Why have you deleted the press release about bottled water: http://bit.ly/ra6Rnv #wmata,” tweeted blogger unsuckdcmetro, a frequent critic of the transit authority. The post also linked to a screen grab of the release from Metro’s Web site.

Metro’s Twitter accounts were silent on the issue. However, in an e-mail response a Washington Post query, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said the release was removed to “avoid confusion.”

“If you scan [the release] quickly you can get the wrong impression,” he said.

In an interview with Stessel, the Washington Examiner’s Kytja Weir reported Monday that there was no plan to lift the ban again unless there’s an “extraordinary streak of 100-plus days.”

According to a FAQ on Metro’s Web site:

“It is unlawful to eat, drink or smoke in the Metro system because of the labor and cost associated with maintaining the cleanliness of the transportation system as well as for safety reasons. Customers can be cited by Metro Transit Police for violating the no eating, no drinking, and no smoking rules.”

From the archives

Dr. Gridlock’s hot weather tips for travelers

100 degrees on a Metro car

By  |  02:09 PM ET, 07/26/2011

Categories:  Metro | Tags:  Metro, WMATA

 
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