Metro's Festival Failure

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I was one of tens of thousands who attended the National Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday. As a District resident, I am accustomed to poor Metrorail service on weekends. However, I was amazed to find that at midmorning Saturday, Metro was running six-car trains at intervals of six to 12 minutes as passengers flooded the system. I encountered six-car trains on the Red, Organge and Blue lines.

Naturally, Metro Center and Smithsonian were some of the worst-affected stations. A crush of passengers squeezed toward the center of the platform when the ends were not serviced by the short trains.

In an amazing misappropriation of resources, Metro staff members were conducting crowd control, shouting instructions at passengers who were unable to move. As a result, many station stops were exceptionally long, passengers were unable to board in a timely manner and some were not even able to exit the trains.

I find it particularly ironic that Metro advertised its ability to transport us during the festival, then demonstrated its inability to do so efficiently. A high-profile event such as the Cherry Blossom Festival warrants rush-hour service at rush-hour fares.

MATTHIAS HESS

Washington


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