The June 28 Metro article about Virginia Railway Express reads more like an apologetic endorsement of VRE than factual journalism.
Interviewing a few riders on their way home in the afternoon does not capture the true attitude of VRE customers. If you actually manage to get to work on VRE in the morning, there are few other options for going home; also, a 10- or 15-minute delay on the way home, while sitting in an air-conditioned train, is not that bad. It's not surprising that the comments your article reported were relatively mild and supportive. But interview riders in the morning after they have been standing on the platform for more than an hour waiting for a train and you will get a different response.
VRE has a captive customer base, and it knows it. As long as the government subsidizes its employees' use of mass transit, and as long as VRE is the only form of mass transit that isn't subject to the traffic on Interstate 95, the trains will be full. And isn't it strange that VRE management found it necessary to raise fares to "cover increases in insurance and gas prices and ridership"? Does that mean they have reached the system's maximum capacity and are trying to discourage people from using VRE? It is convenient for VRE's managers to blame all of their problems on CSX Corp., but ultimately it is VRE that made the commitments to commuters; VRE should step up and take responsibility for more than just collecting fares.
-- Nile Radcliffe