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Metro 'Top-Notch' In Getting People To Mass on Time

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By Robert Thomson
Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I was one of the lucky ones to go to Nationals Park Thursday for the pope's Mass. I traveled from Virginia to the Navy Yard Metro stop -- along with several hundred others at the precise time I was in the system along that route.

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Metro personnel were top-notch in crowd education and control. There were plenty of them at transfer points and at the destination, and they were moving everyone in the right direction, indicating the right stairs and the right trains -- especially helpful because visibility through the crowd was nil.

And the train operator was excellent in advising riders beforehand, clearly and distinctly, about where to exit. It was so helpful to know how and what to do where.

Thanks to Metro for the foresight, planning and great execution that made it an absolutely wonderful rider experience.

Kathleen Westmoreland

Arlington

Aboard Metrorail Thursday morning, it was easy to tell the commuters from the worshipers: The worshipers were smiling.

Their patience and calm during one of our transportation system's most challenging days helped a lot, but so did the planning and performance of the transportation agencies.

Metro had Transit Police and station workers lining the platforms at critical points. Most were active and gave good directions, although some clustered with fellow employees. The operator of my Green Line train to Navy Yard Station made clear and helpful announcements.

Worst moment: The doors malfunctioned on a stadium-bound Green Line train at crowded L'Enfant Plaza, and it had to be taken out of service. This was at 7:44 a.m., a crucial time, since the worshipers were told to be at the stadium by 8:30 a.m.

It resulted in a lengthy gap between trains at Navy Yard Station -- 19 minutes by my watch -- but the rebuilt station, the Metro personnel and the passengers handled it well. It took about five minutes to clear the platform after each train arrived from downtown. Transit officers directed passengers to both exits, and I never saw any sign that the platform had reached capacity.


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