I Still Hate the Metro

You know what the worst feeling in the world is? It's when you've been drinking on a Saturday afternoon*. Then, suddenly, it's 2:30 in the morning. Your body is starting to shut down. All you want to do is go home and get some sleep so you can prepare for a glorious Sunday of football. I hate that feeling. Naturally, DC sensed that and exacerbated it to the point of homicidal rage.

Last Saturday I arrived at the Dupont Circle Metro stop at 2:30 in the morning. The Metro sign in the tunnel said that the Shady Grove train would arrive in 11 minutes. 11 minutes is a mildly annoying wait, but I knew I could handle it.

My train arrived 24 minutes later.

Yes, at the seven minute mark, the closest train going towards Shady Grove disappeared off the board. It was a phantom train. Sort of like The Polar Express, but without the holiday magic. Its replacement train would be arriving in 20 minutes. Awesome.

I ended up staring at that board with the glare that an abusive husband would reserve for when his wife burned the roast. The "why do you make things so difficult" look. Meanwhile, two trains headed towards Glenmont passed me by. Hilariously, when I first got to the station, people waiting on the Glenmont side were promised a 13 minute wait. I guess it wasn't my lucky day.

In order to prevent myself from falling asleep on the train (I did this once and ended up in Rockville), I channeled all my rage into productive thought. I kept thinking about how Interim Metro Chief Dan Tangherlini decided to abandon his pursuit to rid himself of the "interim" tag and take a position within Adrian Fenty's administration. DCist seemed pretty upset that Tangherlini was leaving.**

My question to DCist is "Why?"

I'll admit that I'm still new to Washington politics. If Tangherlini is some administrative wizard or something, I guess it would be sad to see him go. But how has he improved Metro during his brief tenure? The only changes I've noticed have both annoyed me. One was the threat of having street performers on Metro platforms. Just the thought of that makes my blood boil. The other change is that trains are coming every three minutes during morning rush hour instead of every two minutes. Not the end of the world, but still not a positive development.

I'm not accusing Tangherlini for the misleading boards, but I've noticed that happening more often as well. A day before the 24 minute wait, my friends and I were transferring onto the Green Line. Trains were disappearing and reappearing with alarming regularity. I had no clue when my train was coming.

I, for the most part, respect the opinions of the DCist team. If they like Tangherlini then I must be missing something. So, faithful readers, what exactly am I missing? What makes this guy so special? Because I haven't noticed anything that sets him apart from the regular Washington bureaucrat.

*A big thanks to J.J. at As Little as Possible for throwing a great party. That man can really rock the suspsenders.
**I swear to God that my defualt drunk thoughts do not revolve around blogging. Seriously. That would be very lame.


  1. Haven't you been paying attention?? The best way to improve Metro is to spend $667+ million on a new baseball stadium. Duh!

  2. Those Metro signs shoud stick to what they're good at... reporting elevator outages.

  3. Meanwhile, Green Line signs not shared with the Yellow are getting bonus Yellow line times: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brownpau/60956685/

  4. I completely feel your pain, and have a great deal of experience in this issue.

    my advice, take a cab if you have been drinking. gets you home quicker, and is cheaper than a round of drinks.

  5. ted kennedy's ballsOctober 16, 2006

    Rusty, you'll always be "new to Washington politics" as I can't imagine you'd ever be a mover and shaker.

    You're the ultimate Johnny-Come-Lately.

  6. Bettie "Congressional" PageOctober 16, 2006

    I agree with palacepool. Take a cab if waiting 20 minutes for a train is going to send you into such a rage. It is indeed cheaper than a round of drinks, and it saves you anxiety in the long run.

    I once waited at the Tenleytown Metro at a reasonable hour (7 p.m.) on a weekend, and trains were appearing and disappearing (not in the station, but on the sign) like crazy. Maybe it has to do with all the weekend work they are doing. (Are they still doing that?)

    Anyway, yeah, take Metro at 2 a.m. and you will be waiting for 20 minutes. Sorry, that's just how it is!

  7. Ted Kennedy's LiverOctober 16, 2006

    that's how it is, because no matter what time of day it is, metro will pack you into a car like a sardine. They were even running 2 car trains for a while at night a few months back.

  8. Palacepool, the problem is "why I hate DC" also hates cab drivers! Some time ago I read on of his posts pretty much saying "Hang all DC cabbies in public!"

  9. Ya know Rusty...there are probably tons of buses that will take you from Dupont to Tenleytown, and for 10 cents less! And unlike the subway...they run all night!

  10. I was there are 2 am that night. I think the trains were single-tracking and so the timing was off. Phantom trains seem to be pretty common, however.

  11. Il Ratto, the buses here DO NOT run all night. The last N6 is leaves at 12:30am. That would be no good.

    And buses are about a million times less dependable than the trains.

  12. KILL EM' ALL

  13. I think Metro should open bars on the platforms. Think of all the drinking games you could play. And then who would care if the trains were late?

  14. Street performers on the platform? You are shittin me??!! I would LOVE to see one of those annoying performers doing his jig in the middle of a bunch of angry Red-liners who've been having to let crowded trains pass by and watch as he was thrown into the trackbed as one of those crowded trains comes into the station. Man thats a Family Guy episode skit if I ever saw one.

  15. I just thought it was the station manager at Dupont f'n with us on Saturday night. I was there a bit earlier and had the same thing happening - trains appearing and disappearing from the board. The ones that returned had a least a good 7 more minutes tacked on since the first time they were posted.

    Sure a cab is can be faster and less irratating. But when you've already invested some time waiting on the platform, you know it's pointless to make your way back up to the street and be annoyed if you can't get a cab. Saving the money by metroing comforts the major blow your wallet just took from having been out drinking all night. Plus, what would we have to complain about if it weren't for metro?

  16. cabs in DC blow - they are super expensive, it's hard to get one at prime times and in the prime areas, and unless you're a long-time DC native, you never know what the hell you're going to get charged.

    the metro sucks a bit too - yes, waiting 20 minutes is awful.

    i think the only choice is to move back to NYC where at least the cabs are cheaper, and the subway runs alllll night long.

  17. Why do you always suck up to those smug, self-congratulatory liberals who write for DCist? Yes, I have to have a car in D.C. because I can't afford to live in a neighborhood with access to the metro. Liberal elitist Ryan Avent thinks I could learn a life lesson on patience by taking the bus everyday. Suck on it, Avent.

  18. Don't even speak about Metro. I have to take two buses to take my ten year-old to school everyday. Neither of which ever show up on time and when they do it is with an obnoxious bus driver. I went so far as to sending out a complaint this week, and i got a timely response. I suggest you try it. At least then, the incident is documented.

  19. congrats on being quoted in the Express!

  20. I thought that the change from DC metro to NYC subway would be a good one. In most cases, it was, but, it made me realize something: DC is uptight. Any change I experienced was mostly due to increased entertainment/freakshow value. Yes, the subway runs more often and spans more of the city, but in order to ride it you have to give up some of your dignity. It smells like stale urine, 1/2 times you will be standing next to a homeless person, people pack lack sardines more that I've ever imagined, most of the time you end up standing up, trying desperatly to hold on for your life, etc. So enjoy the boring, dull, metro. At least it only smells on friday and saturday nights when some drunk has vomited his dinner in the train.