Tag Archives: Metro

Hotel Commercial Filmed in Metro?

Was watching a video on the Daily Caller, but saw this ad for Marriott’s Springhill Suites before the video started.

First screengrab:

Clearly a WMATA train. I think the station is north of Shaw on the Green Yellow — not entirely sure.

Second screengrab:

He’s walking into a train and … IS THAT A PLANT AND A LAMP?

Third screengrab:

This is not where I parked my car.

Fourth screengrab:

What kind of messed up train is this?

Last screengrab:

Hey dude, why are you staring at me?

All in all, an interesting commercial — I couldn’t find a link to a sharable version. I’m presuming here, but I am glad WMATA is doing creative things to raise money.

But, a few questions/comments:

  1. Given the handles on the ceiling and the non-carpeted floor, this appears to be one of the newer cars. You know, the ones the NTSB doesn’t think will telescope and kill all of us. Did WMATA take a relatively safer car out of service to be used for a commercial? If so, that’s not really cool.
  2. I hope Springhill Suites paid for the tear down and putting it back together.
  3. Or, if it hasn’t been put back to normal service, will WMATA put that car in service? That would be fun. Maybe a locals-only lounge for extreme commuters who can pay more to sit in such a car.
  4. I hope this was done at night after Metro was closed, as not to delay service.
  5. Or it’s entirely possible that green screens were used to good effect. You’ll notice that the first scene is filmed in a middle platform station, and the fourth screengrab was filmed where the platforms were on either side.
  6. Maybe they filmed in multiple stations.
  7. How much does WMATA charge for such access?

 

Shut up, Victoria

Parents: Do us all a favor and teach your kids some manners.

I boarded a half full 1000 series tonight at Gallery Place, Chinatown.

It was like the usual Washington evening commute — a little crowded but not uncomfortable — in a rail car the NTSB determined telescopes too easily and sends passengers on an early express train to death.

At L’Enfant, the usual horde trampled in and it got uncomfortable.

Three college girls shouted their conversation, and they didn’t even have the courtesy to wait until Friday when they’ll drink on the train and vomit into piles of discarded newspaper to be loud.

Enter little Victoria. Somewhat nicely dressed for a girl under the age of 10, I was surprised that the blaring teeny bopper music I faintly heard at the station made its way to the aisle directly next to my seat came from her smartphone.

Yes. Her smartphone. A girl under the age of 10 with a smartphone.

Excuse me, but this is Washington D.C., not New York. Here we ride the train in a civil manner after spending a day wasting your tax dollars. We are not hooligans.

What is this city turning in to?

Three stops later, her mother realized that the music was irritating passengers in the packed car and asked her to turn it down, despite that using a device to listen to music on the metro without headphones is unlawful.

Normally, I would have offered my seat to one of them, but this offense is unforgivable to me.

If I were feeling particularly passive aggressive and the car were less crowded, I’d ask little Victoria to read the part of the metro rules posted on the panel near the ends of the car that describe this unlawful behavior. Alas, it was too crowded, so that little twerp can stand instead.

Her mom eventually caught on to the glares and snatched that phone and turned the music off — making her play an equally noisy game. A+ parenting right there.

Seats opened up behind me and Victoria and her mom sat down. The sound was even closer now.

“What is the punishment for violating this WMATA rule?” I thought. Do they punish based on age? Would Victoria get sent to a juvenile detention camp in southeast? Would she get court-mandated therapy with a cell phone specialist? Nah, as a minor she probably wouldn’t bear the brunt of it — would her mom get fined?

My mind wandered, thinking of creative ways to punish such people who ruin commutes. Like the annoying college girls chatting up the train like it was the Long Island Railroad. Or the ones who were drinking on metro a few months back and vomited all over the car in front of a metro employee that did nothing and moved on.

What is the appropriate punishment for these people? Do I support creative punishment or fines? Sure. Though in five years I’ve never seen anyone brought to justice.

Then it hit me: The punishment is that they are who they are. The college vomit girls — I hope — will end up like Lindsey Lohan. The loud “woo girls” will get some reality television contract for ‘Bayonne on the Potomac.’

And little Princess Victoria, who has a smart phone despite being under the age of ten and a pushover mom? She’ll grow up to be a preening princess. And we all know what kind of men she’ll attract.

That’s punishment enough in my book.

DC’s Little Known Hate Crime

NOTICE:

Any person who assaults a Metro transit operator or station manager while on duty may be subject to enhanced penalties under DC Law.

Apparently, the bill (now law) will provide for penalties 50% higher for assaulting a bus operator or station manager. If it occurs in DC, of course. I don’t know if VA or MD have this law too.

As a victim of violent crime, I am leery about differing punishments based on the victim. 

Clipping the string

Have you ever wondered why many small business owners are conservatives? Try paying your own taxes and get back to me if you’re not sure. Paying your own taxes is about as much fun as taking a quiz on the EULA you agreed to but didn’t read.

It’s a royal pain in the ass. 

For the past five years, I have had subsidized access to Washington D.C.’s public transportation system. Now, I pay for it entirely on my own, which is considerably less fun and even less fun for my wallet.

If you live in D.C. or a city with a train system or get free parking at work that would ordinarily cost you money, odds are you are familiar with how this system works. (It was $125 for years until Congress considerably increased it in the Stimulus, and that higher rate expired, or was ‘cut’ as they put it.)

Which brings me to this thought: what if everyone had to physically pay for it?

The way Smart Benefits worked is that the employer (in my previous case, Congress) paid WMATA money and it went on my card. If I didn’t use my money to the full extent, it was forfeited — presumably to pay for workers suspended with pay that the union somehow kept from the firing block. Seriously though, I have no idea where the money goes, except not into my pocket, but I digress.

If tax reform comes to a point where deductions, credits and carve outs are on the board, I propose putting this one immediately on the chopping block.

It’s not that I hate public transportation entirely — just mostly — but I still take it 80% of the time to work. (I drove for a while, thus the reduced figure.)

Eliminating this deduction likely won’t change things for many people, their employers will likely still pay for their Metro in an effort to compete with other employers that also offer that benefit, it’s just that those will be taxable. Which isn’t the end of the world.

Why? Because people will feel a little more vested in the system if they have to do that. Just like people (including me) feel when paying their own income taxes as the self-employed.

If you feel you’re getting trips to and from work at no direct cost to you (even though there is a cost), you’re less likely to a.) complain b.) get involved when service gets really bad and c.) seek alternatives.

Paying for it yourself, in my opinion, seems like an easy way to change that.

I don’t think this suggestion will be popular, nor is it likely to happen. Transit unions and consumer groups will cry foul if anyone touches their magical exemption, which no doubt provides them with some sweet benefits and nearly guaranteed revenue.

To be fair, consumers benefit from it as well — but do they trade that benefit for quality service? I think so. 

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and vote in the poll!

[poll id=”17″]

How to Save Metro For Tourists and Locals

I have a confession to make: I love tourists.

In a town with about as low of an approval rating (collectively) as the Transportation Safety Administration, it comes as no surprise that most people in Washington hate tourists. DCists mutter under their breath how much they hate these “real Americans” mucking up their commute pretty much on a daily basis.

Golly, if only they were seasoned train riders of a taxpayer-funded fiscal black hole of a debacle just like WMATA, DCists could get to the business of mis-running the country on time!

Why do I love tourists? Well, I used to be one:

The author (right) with his sister Betsy in 1994 on Metro (Reagan Airport). Betsy also resides in the greater Washington area.

Most people who come to D.C. come from somewhere.

Unlike the picture suggests, I came here from Ohio by way of Missouri — not Michigan. My thrifty parents (both Ohio State grads) were OK violating Ohio social mores putting us in Michigan gear because these sweatshirts were about $2 a piece at TJMAXX. (Yes, my Mom is a Maxxanista.)

While tourists and visitors getting in the way can turn any normal Washingtonian into an obscenity-spouting hater over time, there is another aspect here that is rarely touched upon:

Many people in Washington, D.C. are just snobby know-it-alls who hate outsiders. 

If you disagree with my assessment (while I normally support a free and open debate on my blog) I’ll just say this: you’re wrong.

But, the sad fact remains that people visiting are not really good at grasping the metro madness. They stand on the left, refuse to move, crowd the escalators up at rush hour with strollers. You name it, I’m sure it happens 100 times a day on the system. And even if these people are from other places that have trains (Chicago, New York, even Cleveland) they still can’t ride the metro correctly “our way.”

It is an inconvenience to us that work and live in this city, sure, to deal with folks who can’t follow our metro etiquette.

It’s probably pretty disconcerting for people bringing their young ones to tour the nation’s capital. Imagine coming from a rural place like Springfield, Missouri. You get on the escalator and your stroller takes up all of the space and some kid in a suit shouts up telling people to get a move on. That is probably pretty intimidating.

I don’t expect that many tourists enjoy the awkwardness of being a square cog in a round system. So I have a solution:

Make tourists and non-residents use a special gate.

Since residents of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia all pay taxes that go to fund WMATA (as well as fares, and some federal taxes that get diverted) — we should come up with a special SmartTrip card that goes to all tax-paying residents of the two States and the District. Any non-residents will have to use the non-resident gate, and pay a slightly higher fare.

This will also help ensure that people comply with local residency requirements and deter them from fraudulently keeping their residency back in their former home State. One person each gets a special card (presumably from their DMV, which is tied to their Driver’s License or State ID card) and could have the option of purchasing extras for guests (for a price, of course.)

I figure that this will have costs, but the entrance to each station that is frequented by non-residents will have a separate escalator with a fare card entrance machine at the top. This would be their entrance to the station, and once they went down the escalator, there would be a barricade that takes them to the station and circumvents the other farecard entrance machines, which will only accept resident SmartTrips.

At some stations, the non-resident entrance would lead them down a separate escalator, diverting tourists from residents, and generally making everybody’s lives easier.

We could also make people who take lots of luggage and big things like bicycles take the tourist entrance, charging residents who do this slightly more for using this gate to account for the fact that they are occupying more space on trains.

Anyways, this is just an idea of mine, but I wanted to share it.

 

 

Step back, doors closing

Tonight, I barely made my yellow line southbound. It wasn’t for lack of time from red to yellow, but the doors shut on me. They went from completely open to completely closed in about 10 seconds. A fluke? Sure. But this happened at Pentagon. Pentagon City. Crystal City. People could barely make it in the train. So I timed one by hand at Reagan Airport. Same thing. About 10 seconds.

To the ire of Ben Brockschmidt, I whipped out my flip cam and recorded. Here’s the video. What do you think? Did the doors shut too soon? Keep mind the time was consistent at every stop I rode it on.