Riders on the Metro on Feb. 7. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

As I read another article on a Metro incident — “Rust problem blamed for Jan. Metro derailment” [Metro, March 9] — it amazed me that “safety” is to blame again. Safety is not the problem or the cause of Metro’s problems. The problem is maintenance, or lack thereof.

The article quoted a Metro safety officer, but we need to hear from maintenance officials with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Metro should stop blaming safety and improve maintenance and repairs.

Mike McCullion, Ashburn

So, after Metro’s train operators demonstrated difficulty in understanding that red lights mean “stop,” we now learn that its safety inspectors don’t know what black means. While federal safety inspectors use black to designate a serious deficiency in the system requiring immediate action, Metro has been using black to call attention to routine maintenance problems. Thus, Metro routinely downgraded urgent federal code-black issues to ones involving routine maintenance.

What this new knowledge shows is that the rust problem is not just on Metro’s tracks but between the ears of its administrators.

Paul A. McGuckian, Rockville