Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I'm replying to your July 18 column, where Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel responded to "lurching trains" that stop and start coming into stations, knocking passengers off balance. He said, "It doesn't happen very often."

That is a bald-faced lie.

I've been a regular rider of Metrorail for over a decade. I travel from Vienna on the Orange Line to Silver Spring on the Red Line. Lurching happens every day. I have seen passengers knocked off balance. Some fall; some strike others trying not to.

It puzzles me why a Metro spokesperson would outright lie over something that thousands of riders could refute. Now, how in the world can we trust their statements on any subject?

Russell R. Wanek

Centreville

The Dr. Gridlock audience is 100 percent in accord with you, Mr. Wanek. Here's more:

"It doesn't happen very often." Is that spokesman joking? This is one of the more preposterous statements I have ever read from Metro, and Metro says a lot of ridiculous things, like "increased fares will improve service."

I decided to test this statement this morning. Of course, lurching happened at two of my six stops. Seasoned riders are probably prepared for this; tourists, on the other hand, go flying all the time.

Michael K Stransky

Arlington

On too many occasions. the train will stop either at a station or elsewhere with such a tremendous jerk that some passengers have almost fallen over. Why do trains have to jerk so much?

Anne Williams

Rockville

I ride the Red Line and can say that trains frequently miss their stopping mark. Mr. Taubenkibel needs to get out of his office and ride the rails more frequently to better understand what Metrorail commuters are experiencing.

Dan Navarro

Derwood

I get off at Addison Road and have to say it happens over half the time. In Metro's defense, however, the train operator almost always announces to passengers to hold on.

Cheryl LaNore

District Heights

Steven Taubenkibel, like many Metro employees, is clueless. Trains frequently "miss the mark."

The first time I rode Metro this morning, the train stopped short at Farragut West, then suddenly moved forward. The driver did give a warning, but only after he had started to move the train, so it was worthless.

Jol A. Silversmith

Arlington

Oh, please! Metro trains have been regularly undershooting stations during the 19 years I've been riding the system. Undershooting and lurching forward are frequent and regular. Metro is simply putting forth more propaganda to cover up its poor, unreliable, ever-declining subway service.

Rodger Pitcairn

Rockville

I visited Tokyo and rode the trains. They always stopped only once, and at the same position in stations. In fact, the stop position was so precise that positions for queuing up for the next train were painted on the platform so that riders knew where to line up, without the mob rush to the doors like on our Metro.

If the Japanese can make this work so smoothly, why can't Metro?

Walt McKee

Rockville

The reason Metro gives for not having preassigned stopping points in the station is that the length of the trains vary. Too bad.

As to the lurching stops, Metro says those occur when the automatic stops need to be adjusted with manual operation. It looks from here as if that system needs some adjustment, lest passengers become injured.

Meanwhile, hold on for dear life when approaching stations.

Dr. Gridlock will let Metro absorb these comments and hopes it will have more to say.

Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.

You can write to Dr. Gridlock at 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. He prefers e-mails at drgridlock@washpost.com or faxes at 703-352-3908. Include your full name, town, county and day and evening telephone numbers. Dr. Gridlock cannot take phone calls.