Sarles told the safety committee that having passengers on the tracks is “one of the worst situations we face” and that, in this instance, the self-evacuation prolonged the service disruption because power could not be restored until everyone was out of the tunnel.
Sarles said he wasn’t sure that announcements asking people to remain on the trains would have helped, given that some passengers waited only 15 minutes before leaving. The operator of Train 507 had a confrontation with a man who was followed off the train by other passengers because they thought they were being led by a Metro employee, Bowersox said.
Metro's Green Line service disruption
Officials said the operator then directed an off-duty Red Line operator who happened to be on 507 to accompany the passengers through the tunnel.
Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn said the situation was further complicated because the stuck trains couldn’t communicate with the command center without being interrupted by other trains on the radio system. He said Metro is trying to “explore enhanced radio communication” channels to use in emergencies.
The report said the operator of Train 512, which was closest to the Anacostia station, had been on the job for only seven months. That operator and other Metro officials on the scene “failed to make their presence known to customers” and made “inadequate announcements” to riders about the situation, the report said.
Sarles said Metro did not intend to discipline any of the employees involved but would retrain them.
Riders reported confusion and chaos once they reached the Anacostia and Navy Yard stations. They said there was no information about shuttle buses that were provided to take them to other locations.
Some riders were driven home by transit police officers, and U.S. Park Police had a helicopter fly over Anacostia Park to make sure no passengers were left behind, Metro officials said.
Metro promised to review how the operations control center and transit police communicate in emergencies and to run training drills bringing together Metro departments.
The Tri-State Oversight Committee, which monitors Metro safety, is looking at the transit agency’s handling of the situation. Sarles said the Federal Transit Administration might also look into the incident.