Donald Johnson, a District Heights resident, stood with umbrella in hand yesterday at the McPherson Square subway station waiting for an evening Metro train for the first time since the week-long Metro strike.
"I'm happy that it (the strike) is over," Johnson said as he boarded the Blue Line subway train headed for a Southeast bus stop where he would catch a bus homeward.
"It's (the strike) been a mess. I still feel that they should not have gone out on strike."
Johnson expressed the sentiments of dozens of bus and subway riders interviewed yesterday during the evening rush hour as Metro drivers and mechanics went back to work and Metro service returned to normal.
Some riders blame the bus drivers and the mechanics for the strike, which crippled the city for a week. Others blame Metro officials. Still others say they don't know who is to blame.
"It (the strike) was terribly inconvenient," said Mary Cupp, who was riding the Blue Line to her home in Alexandria.
Gupp, who works at the Smithsonian Institute, said she feels Metro officials should have devised some type of emergency plan that could have been used during the strike. She also said that local jurisdictions should have "some type of coordinated effort," where commuters could easily locate car polls that might be going their direction.
"I'm glad to have it back," said Ben Kittner, a District resident who was riding the Blue Line subway to his home in northwest Washington.
Kittner, who said he missed a couple of job interviews because of the strike, said, "I think the mechanics and the drivers are to blame."
"I was really enthusiastic about the subway when it first opened," said the 24-year-old Kittner. "But, since the strike, I've lost some of my enthusiasm, especially knowing that it (a strike) could happen again."
The week-long strike was the second by Metro employes within the last two months, although the issues were different in each instance.
William Maugeri, a Greenbelt, resident, said he believes the bus drivers and mechanics should have returned to work when the court ordered them to do so.
"It was kind of silly that they struck like they did," said Maugeri, a systems analyst with the Internal Revenue Service.
Barbara von Euler, a volunteer for the American Civil Liberties Union who was waiting for a Bethesda-bound bus at the Federal Triangle, said she is sympathetic to the strikers. "I'm not totally opposed to the whole idea of strike," she said.
However, she said she thinks Metro officials and the union for the bus drivers and mechanics should be required to have mandatory arbitration in future contract negotiations "to prevent it (a strike) from happening again."
Dora Towns, a D.C. resident, said, "I don't blame anyone for the strike. I feel the drivers were doing their part because they wanted their raise."
Kenneth Rutledge, a Southeast Washington resident, said he blames Metro officials for the strike. He said the bus drivers should have been given their raise if that was a part of the contract.
Rutledge, who was standing at 12th and G street NW, waiting for a Silver Spring bus to carry him to his job, said, "I don't expect them to strike again because they didn't get nothing out of it."