These were some of the comments and questions from riders during my Monday chat, and I think they’re a good representation of what he’s hearing at all his public events. They ranged from very specific requests to broader statements about the quality of customer service. But even the specific comments have a theme: Many things are broken, and they stay broken. I’ve included some that weren’t published during the chat. But let’s start with one specific complaint that many riders share and one I hope Wiedefeld can solve soon.
Franconia-Springfield trains: lack of signage
I know there are others reminding you, but please ask if something can’t be done to identify trains leaving Franconia-Springfield during “rush plus.” This morning, it was again the guessing game with two unmarked trains holding. Interestingly enough, the train operator walking from one end of the train to the other knew and could tell us. He apparently just couldn’t light the train sign until he got to the other end. Katherine Kirkland
Metro station employees generally are surly (of course there are exceptions, though few), indifferent to station conditions, ignorant of the station components, lackadaisical, and they behave as if they’re helpless to change anything. How will you change Metro stations’ employee culture from one of entitlement and perfunctory performance to excellence? Adam Benson
How will you start laying the groundwork for the necessary long-term capital investment into Metro? The system is rapidly becoming outdated and insufficient for the D.C. area. Metro will eventually need much larger capacity downtown and in other DC neighborhoods that are not rail-accessible. This will likely require new lines.
Suggestion for Metrorail
As a frequent Metrorail+bus rider, I know there are a thousand things passengers and other stakeholders are bringing to your attention, but here’s one simple suggestion to keep trains moving. Right now when a Metro train stops in the station, the operator is instructed to wait five full seconds before opening the doors. The idea is that the operator takes a few moments to make sure they are about to open doors on the correct side of the train.
Could you please pledge to work to improve train communications? I am chilled by the prospect of an emergency such as a smoky tunnel or attack yet being unable to hear the operator or first responders give instructions.
Thank you for finally deploying the 7000 series trains on weekends. With the suffering the weekend riders have endured for several years now, this is a small consolation. Is there any hope for getting new trains on the Silver Line? One thing that I noticed on Sunday that when drivers close the doors quickly, the automated announcement gets cut off. It is a long announcement (Doors opening, step back to allow customers to exit. When boarding, please move to the center of the car. This is on Orange Line train to New Carrollton. The next station is Federal Triangle). The operator yesterday [Sunday] was closing the doors before the end of the first sentence at some stations.
Two no-cost safety upgrades
1. WMATA policy is to have emergency call buttons available at both ends of each subway car. Why is the emergency call button locked behind a closed door in the last car of almost every train consist?
2. Red light-running by Metrobus drivers is epidemic, as I see it almost daily in downtown Washington and along Wisconsin Avenue NW. Take a look at complaint forms filed with Metro for specifics, and the form letters Metro sends in response. Sure doesn’t make the public feel like reckless bus drivers are being held accountable. Please don’t wait until someone is killed or maimed to act.
L’Enfant Plaza ceiling
What is going on with the ceilings at L’Enfant? At the lower level, the ceiling tiles were removed more than a year ago, and still nothing has replaced them and no interim work has been done. On upper levels under the mezzanines, most — but not all — of the tiles were replaced, but the plastic has never been removed and is peeling and grimy. On top of that, the blue walls [the construction barriers] block portions of the platform, especially by southbound Green/Yellow, and no work is being done that would use them.
It seems that some mornings during the a.m. rush, the escalators and turnstiles are not set correctly at the Huntington South Entrance. Isn’t this something that should be one of the first things that is checked when the station opens?