Tag Archives: Wmata

Gus Inspects WMATA Track Work Inspectors

Gus must have snagged my Washington Post log-on because he was deeply skeptical of the late-night WMATA track inspectors early this morning. (And for good reason!)

I tried taking some pictures with my phone, and that didn’t work out too well, so I busted out the DSLR and got this gem. I love the lighting. The wifi router (at left) is blue, and the lights from the track inspection train are yellow and orange.

And course, there’s Gus’s nose graffiti.

What a rascal.

If you don’t follow him on Instagram, feel free to do so here.

area dog

WMATA 7000 Series Hype Video (Fixed)

Today, WMATA released a comically sad hype video for their new 7000 series “Snowpiercer” edition train cars. What made it sad was the hype music they found to put it to. I laughed, I cried, I kissed 44 seconds goodbye.

Until I decided to fix it. With the Quad City DJ’s. It took about 30 seconds. I think it came out perfect.

New Silver Line Ad Features Broken Escalator

Typical.

RNvhOa

Skip to about :53.

Of course, the escalator probably works, but this was too good to check. But you never know.

Commuting in Washington

By no means am I a super commuter. I don’t live out in the exurbs or in West Virginia. My commute is ordinary. I live across from a metro station and bus hub relatively close to Washington, D.C. — but I’m done taking the train every day.

For starters, I’m lucky that my phone has an unlimited text plan. If not, the amount of texts would really put a crunch on my plan.

WMATA texts me more than a psychotic ex-girlfriend. While I’ve never had one of those, my friends who have inform me they received about a hundred texts or so over the course of a month or two. WMATA easily meets that.  Except that instead of “I miss you” you get soul crushing texts like “Red Line: Single tracking btwn Van Ness & Friendship Heights due to a sick customer aboard a train at“. In other words, “Say goodbye to twenty minutes of your day.

Of course, these alerts are only helpful if your phone works underground. Which, thanks to the stellar work of WMATA, hasn’t happened.

It’s the same story with email.

In the past month, WMATA has emailed me no less than 138 times. In that time, Jos. A. Bank emailed me about 25 times. When your email rate is five times that of Jos. A. Bank, you’re in trouble.

Are these alerts helpful? Sure. So is WTOP, but WTOP isn’t subsidized by my tax dollars and tells me where the traffic is for the cost of a few advertisements. These alerts are more of a mea culpa of failure.

Since I’ve had enough, I decided I am driving to work now every day. I’ve done this before, and I loved it. (A parking spot in the shadow of the Capitol helps.)

Driving may end up being slightly more expensive, but I have ways of mitigating the increase in cost. Driving enables me to stop at the grocery and bring in food for lunch conveniently, and that will save money over getting lunch at a sandwich joint every day.

It will also save me time and, as we all know, time is money. Even with Washington’s horrible traffic, on average, I beat WMATA during my normal commute time by close to 10 minutes each way. On late nights, it’s close to 30 minutes of savings.  Tonight, with a major accident on the 14th street bridge, a Nationals game, and bumper to bumper traffic on 395 N to 295 S, I tied my normal metro commute. I’m on track to save close to 20 hours of time this year. Admittedly, it helps knowing the back streets.

In addition to the time it will save me, especially given my irregular hours, it will certainly save me the frustration of having to actually ride WMATA. It’s a miserable experience if you have to ride it regularly, if you’ve never had the pleasure. It’s like the popular bar in a tourist-driven resort town. Its patrons are either regular drunks (commuters) or hawaiian shirt-wearing visitors (tourists) who just crowd the place. The bar is run by incompetents and managed by those who know the tourist and government gravy train isn’t getting shut off, so little changes.

But hey, at least it’s clean!

To avoid having to take WMATA on short trips, I registered for what I call BikeSocialism — or Capital BikeShare as it’s known around D.C. The RFID key they sent me looks like a Soviet flag.

Some of the money used to subsidize the BikeShare program was meant to “address the unique transportation challenges faced by welfare recipients and low-income persons seeking to obtain and maintain employment.” That hasn’t worked out, according to a recent story by Reason magazine which reported that “95 percent of its regular patrons have college degrees, 53 percent have a Masters or Ph.D….”

I figure if my tax dollars are going to be used to subsidize a bike commune at below-market rates, I might as well do what I can to capture the subsidy — even if I am a college graduate.

Mind you, I have nothing wrong with bike sharing.  I just don’t think our tax dollars need to subsidize it and the lanes we dedicate take away from motor vehicles when the cyclists don’t pay the same taxes that auto drivers do to maintain the roads. Call me crazy.

I am just plain sick of riding WMATA. The fares are going up, the PIDs are never correct (if they’re working), and the experience is getting worse and worse. Going forward, my goal is to give as few dollars possible to WMATA as possible. I realize that this won’t make much of a dent in their balance sheets — not that they particularly care too much about those. I know that my tax dollars will continue to their coffers, but my discretionary/pre-tax transportation dollars? Not so much.bsig

The Russian WMATA Fix

The Russians are crafty people. If WMATA adopted this policy, we’d have no more instances of broken train doors, stuck doors, doors reopening and shutting.

Except for the last car (to discourage people from falling on the tracks) I’m open to trying it.

Bomblecast #18

Thanks for dropping by for episode 18 of the bomblecast. If you like reddit and we’re not reddit friends, make sure you add me. I’m still figuring out this whole reddit thing, so shoot me a message with your user name and I’ll add you back.

Links from today’s episode:

Here’s episode 18 of the Bomblecast:

Fight on WMATA [with .gif!]

Saw this on reddit, figured I would share. A recent fight on the Green Line.

Here is a .gif of the girls whose phones were allegedly stolen going after the suspected perp, and they went for the pants. Smart move.

Here’s the story from MYFOXDC.

WASHINGTON –
Shocking video obtained by FOX 5 shows a wild, chaotic brawl on a Green Line Metro train that spilled over onto the platform at the Fort Totten station.

It was ostensibly shot by a member of the self-proclaimed “44th Street Crew” from Southeast D.C.

In the video, a coed group intimidates several young women passengers and allegedly takes two of their iPhones. It happened last Friday night after 11 p.m.

Metro Transit Police Deputy Chief Ron Pavlik says his officers responded minutes after being notified by the Fort Totten station manager. He says four officers were already at the station overseeing a bus shuttle operation because of the weekend track work.

Pavlik says two juveniles were arrested. More arrests are expected and the investigation is ongoing

While not probably something I’d encourage all people to do, fighting back can sometimes get results.

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.

Dear Metro — No More Culture, Please

Below is an email I sent to Metro:

Dear Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority:

I’d like to opt-out of your forthcoming Art in Transit program, MetroPerforms! By opt-out, I mean I’d like to know the precise locations of where these artistes will be performing so I can avoid them.

I know your intentions are good, trying to spruce up our sad, mundane lives with a bit of local talent. But my current riding experience is already chock full of culture, and I am not certain my brain can take much more of it.

Some highlights:

There are the arts and sciences majors who harass me when I enter and exit the station to donate money to eco-terrorists or poor children in third world countries whose names I have trouble pronouncing.

Questionably employable young whippersnappers who audibly blast popular music on their headphones a few rows away (which, I understand, is within WMATA guidelines).

Yuppies from UVA who bring 12-packs of imported beer on the train at night and flaunt the fact they are drinking and vomiting on metro, even in front of your employees*! (*=this actually happened last week.)

How could I forget the gypsy in Crystal City with a daughter carrying a Pooh Bear who panhandles directly below a “no soliciting” sign? She is there every day but Sunday, when she begs for money outside of my church.

The apparently homeless veteran asking riders for money on cars that contain advertisements that say “The words ‘homeless’ and ‘Veteran’ should never be in the same sentence.”

Or the weird lady outside of Farragut West who has been selling krispy kreme doughnuts for a vaguely described children’s sports team for months?

The Union Station violinist who doesn’t like people taking pictures of him? The guys who sell flashing LED toys, which somehow apparently still interest people.

Hearing the grating voice of Janet Napolitano urging me to call (202) 962-2121, or the public announcements asking station managers (and all who listen) to call control, because apparently their cell phones or radios don’t work. (Or maybe they’re asleep, in which case calling phones might work better.)

Last but not least, the people who are so cultured they can’t put down their kindle version of Paul Krugman’s latest whiny column to make room for an additional person or two during “orange crush.”

So, as you can see, my trips on metro are brimming with culture. Please let me know where I can avoid these street performers, unless of course you have a guy doing standup comedy about public transportation over a station’s intercom. That would be cool. But please, no flashmobs.

Thanks.

Jim