What Changed in a Year?

Mary Doolittle, 59

Veronica DuBose, 29

Ana Fernandez, 40

Dennis Hawkins, 64

LaVonda Nicole King, 23

Jeanice McMillan, 42

Ann Wherley, 62

Retired Maj. Gen. David F. Wherley Jr., 62

Cameron Taihi Williams, 37

The greatest dark spot in WMATA’s recent memory is the red line crash last year that took the lives of 9 passengers. this unfortunate event was preventable – and it jump-started a look into WMATA’s safety procedures. WMATA has either been negligent or plain stupid, all while putting the riders at unnecessary safety risks. The past year has put a giant spotlight on the WMATA, the transit workers’ union, and every move WMATA makes towards improvement.

The common denominator for a lot of the problems falls under three things: Money, Customer Service, and Common Sense. WMATA doesn’t seem to have much of either.

What would my wishlist be for the next year of improvement?

– actual transparency and not some b.s. PR campaign trying to “assure us” that things are getting better. I want to see it, I want oversight, and I want accountability
– actual accountability. if a bus driver tries to pick up a hooker while on duty, he should have his ass fired. if a driver is caught texting when there is a zero tolerance texting policy, I expect him to be fired. the union is a joke, they appear to have policies that look good on paper, but don’t enforce any of it – I’d sign up for that kind of job security
– I expect to have safer trains with a safe, working Automatic Train Control system. This is a longshot being there is a lot of upgrades and improving needed, but it is a necessary upgrade to make sure the trains run efficiently and safely. not to mention a smoother ride as the computer will do the braking and not the jerking motion from a shitty train driver.
– be smarter about the trains. run more 8-car trains more frequently during DC events. it doesn’t happen all the time, and when they don’t run extra, its noticeable
– get more input from actual riders (as the board members do not ride the subway) before making the usual short-sighted decisions, maybe you could come up with a solution people will like and agree with
– and while I’m at it, I’d like to see our metro fares become more similar to that of NYC or the Boston T (fixed price).

Update: the Washington Post takes a look at the declining momentum behind safety concerns.

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