Dr. Gridlock

Dr. Gridlock: The Line Forms -- Another Driver Turns His Back on Metro

By Robert Thomson
Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I was a Metro rider from the first day the service ran. I have commuted extensively on the Orange and Red lines. About 2005, while commuting on the Orange Line, I started to notice a significant drop in service. Despite what Metro says, it was routine during rush hour for trains to be eight or nine minutes apart.

At that time, I commuted between Court House and Farragut West and later McPherson Square. Many times, I ended up walking home or taking a cab because of the delays.

I considered ditching Metro, but the drive from Arlington, although only three miles, would routinely take 45 minutes or longer. So I just stuck with Metro.

In March 2008, I moved to Takoma Park. I also had to have surgery and was out of work for close to three months. When I went back to work, I was unable to walk from Metro Center to my office. So I started to drive, figuring that when I was healthy enough I would switch back to Metro. But after I switched back to the Metro for just one day, I decided enough is enough, and now I drive.

It might be a little bit more money. But it's worth it. More than worth it. It is so much more pleasant commuting by car in so many ways even when the traffic backs up. I have a fairly easy drive down 13th Street. And I feel like no matter how bad traffic is, I am in control, and not Metro.

I was a rider on Metro for years. When somebody like me is willing to pay more money to drive and basically not use Metro for any kind of transportation anymore, the agency should sit up and take notice.

David Goodfriend, Takoma Park

It wasn't that something particularly bad happened that one day he returned to Metro, Goodfriend told me. It was just more of the same.

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