Here are two recent tales where Metro walked only a few yards, and should have walked an extra mile.
The first took place aboard a crowded Red Line subway heading toward Silver Spring. A man got on at Union Station at about 7:10 p.m. As soon as the train pulled away from the station, according to an eyewitness, the man started crying, cursing and screaming that he wanted to see his girl friend. Then he started kicking at the windows and doors.
At Brookland, two stops down the line, the man got off. He was immediately arrested by Metro police, who had apparently been alerted. According to Metro spokesman Allen Long, the man was taken to Fifth District headquarters, where marijuana and PCP were found in his pockets.
This was good work by the Metro cops in one sense. PCP (and sometimes pot) can make many people extremely violent when they're surrounded. These officers cleaned up a potentially nasty incident with a minimum of danger or force.
But why didn't the cops check inside the car where the man had been to see if he had injured anyone?
According to the eyewitness, the cops were so intent on packing their man off to the pokey that they failed to see what damage -- if any -- he had caused.
I would think looking inside a subway car would be standard procedure in a situation like this. The cops were just lucky that one of the kicks this fellow aimed at a window didn't catch a paying customer instead.
Incident Two concerns a woman who is deaf. She is Marla Hatrak of Southwest, and she writes:
"I was returning from Friendship Heights station and rode in the last car of the Red Line . At the Van Ness-UDC station, unknown to me at that time, there apparently was a voice announcement to get off the cars . . . . But when the door closed, I was still inside the car!
" . . . .I am glad to report the happy ending. A lady had the sense to run -- not walk -- in her high heels to the front car, and had the operator open the doors again. While I did not panic in the car, I was a little scared of the unknown consequences of my hearing loss!"
And well you might have been, Marla. Hats off to the lady in the high heels -- Julie Mann of Alexandria. We need more like you, Julie.
But we don't need more like what Marla endured -- and I'm delighted to report that we won't ever have to do so again.
Marla's experience was floated past Al Long, with the suggestion that train operators be required to flash the interior lights whenever they must unload at a station that isn't the end of the line, just in case a deaf person is aboard.
Within minutes, Al called back to say: "We have adopted your suggestion. It makes sense, and it is now policy."
Nice to see Metro be so responsive. But what the heck took so long? This should have been policy from Day One.