Those occasional announcements that the Metro train you're riding has crossed a state line are part of a policy ordered, with limited success, by the transit authority's rider-oriented general manager, Carmen E. Turner.
We took note several days back of the announcements by some train operators, on approaching Foggy Bottom after leaving Rosslyn on the Blue/Orange lines, that "you are now entering the District of Columbia" -- or some similar wordage. We hadn't then heard a mirror-image message on returning to Virginia, and wondered if it was the result of D.C. chauvinism.
Several readers called or wrote to say they had sporadically heard such announcements on outbound trains to both Virginia and Maryland -- usually by a small group of train operators whose voices they recognized.
Then came a card from James T. Hammett of Arlington quoting a Metro headquarters memorandum dated July 23 that said Turner "has decided to have operators announce Maryland, Virginia or District of Columbia, as appropriate" as trains enter those jurisdictions. "This information should be of particular interest for tourists" and other outlanders, the memo said, and should be "implemented as soon as possible."
Turner, in a telephone interview, agreed that the policy has "started off with a few fits and starts, and I think it's going to be adopted uniformly ."
The announcement policy was suggested, Turner said, by Metro director (and Arlington County Board member) Mary Margaret Whipple. And, Turner said, it's just the first of several efforts to provide more useful information to riders.
How well is it working?
In the past two weeks, I've ridden Metro across state lines at least six days each week -- two dozen trips -- and I've heard the "you're entering D.C." announcement perhaps three or four times. I've heard "you're entering Virginia" just once.