Tag Archives: Wmata

DC’s Little Known Hate Crime


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. 

Metro’s Absurdly Unnecessary Rush+ Promo

What is 7 inches by nearly 3 feet, glossy, and a total waste of money? Glad you asked!

It’s WMATA’s new Rush+ promo.

If you want to know why WMATA never seems to run in the black, consider this mailer exhibit no. 4358902 in waste. Inconvenient (and less likely to be read), WMATA should have had the sense to be succinct and thrifty.

But no, WMATA had to spare no expense on this monstrosity. I’m just trying to learn how Rush+ screws me as a Huntington rider, WMATA, I don’t need a brochure that you’d make for WMATA Conductor University™’s potential students. (I already know how I’m getting screwed and didn’t need the brochure, by the way.)

Every dollar wasted on shit like this is a dollar that could be spent on, I don’t know, complying with NTSA safety demands. 

See Something, Say Something


DC Escalator Nightmare

This video is so good it deserved its own post.

Friday Funday Links


Heaton: Exploring SE Washington, D.C. (Come for the crime, stay for Marion Barry!)

Reason: Nick Gillespie Talks Augusta National, The Master’s, IBM & Sexism with Erin Burnett

Boudreaux: Don’t curse the oil speculators

Tax Foundation: The wait is over. America is #1

DCist: National Park Service’s Attempt to Replant at McPherson Square Met With Resistance From Occupiers | Marion Barry apologizes, sort of

NR: Defending Fiscal Insanity

MR: Does low socioeconomic status have to bring poor health outcomes? | Do most economists welcome ideological openness? (I wonder what Krugman’s answer was..)

GGW: Pedestrian safety slogan exhorts but does not educate

AlexTimes: Will the Old Town theater see a second act? (I’d go back if they got rid of the management and a new projector)

ARLNow: WMATA Launches Anti-Sexual Harassment Campaign 

[poll id=”4″]

Fox: GSA Federal Worker Does Rap Video Bragging About Lavish Perks

Perry: Strong Gains in Manufacturing Jobs Continue

CoyoteBlog: The City of Glendale is Pathetic

Atlantic: How Congress Gets Away with Not Paying Its Interns

Don’t Feed The Trolls (A collection of troll gems from the interwebz)

The Hill: Santorum fights speculation his race has been run

STLToday: Asbestos particles found after downtown St. Louis steam rupture (Cue the Meso ads)

What’s an ETEC? Why Does Their Storage Cost 7.5x More Than the Actual Device?

Odds are, Washingtonians, you recognize these boxes from Metro. But what are they?

ETEC stands for Emergency Tunnel Evacuation Carts — and these are the storage cabinets where they are kept.

WMATA describes them as follows:

To reach most Emergency Tunnel Evacuation Carts, Fire/Rescue personnel must walk the narrow walkways leading from the ends of station platforms to ancillary rooms situated inside the tunnels. This can be time consuming and can impede Fire/Rescue personnel carrying heavy equipment and supplies from reaching an emergency scene, and, consequently, from moving injured patrons and employees to safety. By relocating all ETEC carts and their protective cabinets to the ends of the platforms, Fire/Rescue services can find the ETEC’s faster, and have more workspace (on the platform) to handle the ETEC, and move it onto the rails where they can load it with equipment and supplies. The results of this effort will be the standardization of ETEC storage locations throughout the Metrorail System. Estimated cost (in 2009 dollars) for a new ETEC is $800. The estimated cost (in 2009 dollars) to procure and install ETEC lockers in stations is $6,000 per locker.

Why we need to spend $6,000 on lockers for an $800 cart is beyond me. Metro Stations have ample storage space near the operator’s booth where the bathrooms are. The “narrow” rooms at the end of the platforms seem fine to me too. I’m not saying relocate the ones we’ve already wasted money on, just don’t waste money relocating them if we have them. (If we don’t, come up with a more cost effective storage plan.)

I think we can safely assume we don’t actually need lockers at 7.5 times the cost of the actual device. It’s not like ETEC Carts are guns that need to be locked up safely.

I wonder if unionized labor has anything to do with high installation costs. One wonders.

Either way, given WMATA’s financial woes, this seems like a really big waste of money.

UPDATE: Twitter user Metro Rider shares this look into an ETEC locker.

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.



Thursday Links (3/29/12)

Natty bo

How about a Pepsi Fetus?

NJ.com: N.J. minimum wage hike will mean higher prices, layoffs

Boudreaux: “Help” That Hurts

CATO: The Myths and Realities of ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

Econlib: Why haven’t they been fired?

Obama is cutting WMATA Funding (His budget isn’t going anywhere, but let’s prepare for the likelihood of less money for Metro)

Alexandria to kill parking at King Street

GGW: Heck, why not privatize Metro Access?

Landsburg: And the winner is….

Examiner: Time to abolish the SBA

Kane: Fringe groups weigh in on Trayvon case

Reason: Health Care vs. Pizza Toppings

This explains a lot

Um, yes these union laborers should pay into their freaking pension. Metro should phase out its pension and provide a 401(k) like normal places.

You can take this survey until 5pm, EDT today.

I surrender, WaPo

A colleague informed me that the Washington Post beat me to the punch in promoting the idea of a corporate-sponsored WMATA map. I’m told they do this in Dubai. I came up with this idea on Monday.

I had just made some good progress, too, on my map. Darn. Still, I’ll finish it. Please leave any good station names in the facebook comment section below.

Here’s what I have so far (click to expand).