1.05.2007

Calling Out Anonymous Commenters

A few weeks ago I wrote a long-winded, stream of consciousness post on the proposed Metro fare hike. It can be found here. Someone left the following comment anonymously:

I have never waited more than five minutes for a train in the last year that I've had this particular commute. And only a handful of times have I actually waited five minutes. My typical wait is 2 - 4 minutes and often times the trains are closer than that. I'm not sure where YOU are getting on (probably some stupid ass station in Virginia) but in the city, the trains are fairly reliable.

Would any of my fellow Red Line travelers like to offer Mr. Anonymous a rebuttal using this morning's commute as evidence?

When the trains are coming every six minutes, they tend to fill up pretty quickly. And I'm getting on at Friendship Heights! Please let me reiterate my sympathy for anyone trying to catch a train at Cleveland Park. That has to be soul-crushing.

45 comments:

  1. I've been boycotting Metro and now drive. I found a new route and ideas on parking and made it work for me, shaving 15 to 20 minutes off my one-way commute.

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  2. OK..I'll play.

    I get to the Metro Center station at 6:30 p.m. last night. I figure since the worst of the rush-hour traffic is gone, I will get my own seat on a Red Line train and wait--maybe--two minutes on the platforum.

    Yeah. About 20 minutes later, a Red Line train to Glenmont finally appeared. Now, the last time I checked, 6:30 p.m. is still considered rush hour in the Metro system. Trains are supposed to run within 1-3 minutes apart on the Red Line. Nope, not tonight.

    The platform was severely crowded. The first train to arrive on the platform was already jam-packed with commuters. Fuck this...I hanged back and waited for another train that arrived one minute later. Oh yeah, I didn't get my own seat until the Fort Totten station.

    I should have asked for a refund for the train fare because I waited for non-rush hour service but I paid a premium at a rush-hour rate. Metro really sucks some times.

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  3. I get on the Red Line at CP, and it blows.

    When I hear rain outside when I wake up, I know it means at least one train (and probably two) will pass by before I can get on.

    All of that said, in all fairness the commute is immeasurably less painful when you actually get on the platform before 8:30 or so. Getting on the CP playform at 8:45 is just plain stupid, even though that’s what I do about four days a week.

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  4. Great, so you posted this question on a day the Red Line had a sucky delay. How convenient. I know because I had to wait for a few trains to pass by at Woodley Park this morning. That said, it has been my general experience that I only have to wait a couple of minutes for a train. That's not to say there's never a delay or that it's perfect every day.

    I don't think it's nearly as bad as you think, but not nearly as good as the anonymous commenter thinks either.

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  5. I get on at Van Ness and this morning when I arrived at around 8:30 the train was just about to pull away so, I leisurely strolled down to the platform because, surely, the next train is only a couple of minutes away at this time of morning. Nope! The next train was not due to arrive for another 10 minutes! And, of course, when it did arrived, it was packed and it took so long for people to get in, the operator closed the doors on everyone's faces and took off. I'd like to say that this was an unusual case but I've experienced the same at least half a dozen times during the short time I've lived here.

    I just moved here a few months ago from Los Angeles where I probably drove more in the last 5 years than many people drive in their lifetimes. I was looking forward to living in a city where I don't have to drive. I am still stubbornly supporting public transportation here because I think it's generally a good thing so I'll continue to take Metro but I really don't blame people for choosing to drive instead.

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  6. and im sure you saw this earlier, but dont forget today's tidbit of red line metro delay goodness:
    http://www.wtop.com/?nid=25&sid=1023836

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  7. I live in Woodley Park and no matter how frequently the trains roll through, I have to wait for several to pass in order to find one that isn't packed with commuters coming in from the suburbs. 'Happens every morning I decide to be on time for work, which is why I've given up and now embrace tardiness.

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  8. the best thing you can do for yourself is lose sleep and vow to get on the metro before 7:30 a.m. look at it this way: you'll get to leave work earlier and again avoid (some) of the crowding.

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  9. I drive in to work. I tried metro-ing for six months but it cost more and took longer, and I had to smell you people.

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  10. and even if you do get on the metro at the asscrack of dawn to avoid the crowds, you'll STILL get slammed with the proposed rush-hour congestion commute surcharge! whoooopie!

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  11. I moved from D.C. about four or five months ago and I still get pissed off thinking about the unreliability of the Metro.

    My wife had to go from Silver Spring to Brookland-CUA for six months and she finally had to give it up and drive b/c the trains would come too far apart and would get jammed up in between. It would often take her near half and hour to go three stops.

    I would have to ride to GW and would have similar problems.

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  12. I make it to the Van Ness Metro every morning at 7:30 a.m. There is not normally a very long wait for the train. Maybe 2-3 minutes. Lately the wait has been increasing, sometimes to 4-6 minutes. In my opinion, a six-minute wait is an excrutiating one, especially when I not only have to transfer at Metro Center but have to pay a rush-hour price for non-rush-hour service.

    The real drama doesn't occur until the commute home, where my wait at Metro Center is either 1 minute or 10 minutes. I don't understand how the arrival times can be spaced out as "1 minute.. 12 minutes... 13 minutes." How the hell does that happen?

    The greatest is when the 12-minute train finally arrives but stalls in the tunnel anyway, when no train is ahead of it for miles.

    I have nothing but hatred for Metro. Service may not be horrendous all the time, but Metro is NOT worth defending in any way.

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  13. I can't believe I haven't been driving all of this time I've been in DC.

    I thought it'd really stress me out but not nearly as much as packed subway trains that arrive late.

    Why I be such a sucker previously? Screw Metro.

    And then they gotta refer to us as "customers" and thank us for riding them.

    As if there was another competing underground subway service in this city.

    Metro is a utility, not a private business, yutzes. 'Course, maybe it'd run better if it was, I dunno.

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  14. I get on at Van Ness (2 stops in towards the city, for people who 'get on at some lame stop in Virginia') and I rarely wait very long. I happen to go to work a little earlier than most. I leave the house at 8 am. Maybe we just leave at different times. I get off at Farragut North and my whole trip rarely takes longer than maybe 15 minutes door to door.

    HOWEVER! Going home - I frequently wait more than 5 minutes. And I almost always walk out the door at 5 30.

    Further, let me say, you are so right about how absurd the metro hike is. I grew up in this town and have been taking metro for ages. In my quarter century I don't recall such a stupid WMATA decision. There is no way in hell I'm going to metro to and from Van Ness and Farragut North for over 6 dollars a day. I find my $2.70 a day to be obscene and frequently walk home when I have time. If they instate the hike I'm driving to work - a membership to my building's garage will be cheaper. But then, in WMATA logic, thats what we want. Bring on the pollution and traffic.

    PS- For those of you who get on at Woodley Park and beyond. Not all those people are in from the burbs. I almost always get on an almost emptry train and by the time said train gets to Woodley, it is so packed that I can barely move.

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  15. My experience is generally good. Granted, right now I commute the opposite way - from Grosvenor to Shady Grove. Prior to this I commuted from Friendship Heights downtown, & before that from Woodley downtown though so I have lots of experience in that direction also. The hour you board absolutely makes a difference, at least in the morning. Getting out of the house even a few minutes earlier, so as to be on the train by 8, almost always resulted in a smooth commute. Afternoons are more of a lottery, crowding & delays are common but I found delays to be manageable with 1 or 2 noteworthy expections. I have been riding ther ed line daily for 2 1/2 years now & have had some bad experiences. But I am still always mystified at how some people's experience of the system can make them so bitter. Have you driven lately in the DC area on a weekday anytime between 7am & 8pm?? Weekends are bad enough, but weekdays (shudder). If you have, it is hard to imagine how sitting in your car twice a day growing atherosclerosis & hypertension as people vie to be as rude as possible with their vehicles left & right is less hateful than Metro. And this doesn't even touch the environmental argument, which is the most important one but none of the commenters here seem to think they have any responsibility to that.

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  16. wmata doesnt seem to think that THEY have any responsibility to the environment either if they think they are going to keep their ridership up with a 6 dollar one way commute.

    if you ask me,
    metro hates mother earth.

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  17. I say we all just move far away from DC and screw this town!

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  18. damn right! screw this town!

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  19. I get on at Friendship Heights as well and had to wait 8 minutes for the first train I couldn't get on, and an additional 6 minutes for one I could squeeze into. Almost feel sorry for the poor saps at Woodley Park. Almost

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  20. As for the response to my driving comment. I've been driving in this town since I was legally allowed to do so, and honestly, the traffic sucks and people are really stupid. But I'd rather listen to NPR sitting on Connecticut Avenue than paying 6 dollars to be the short person on the train who can't even reach a pole. Just sayin'.

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  21. i live in woodley park and it took me 15 minutes to catch a train this morning.

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  22. Yeah screw this town!

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  23. I used to live on the Green Line and it was always slow. Try to make it from Gallery Place to Columbia Heights on a weekday evening and you will wait 18-20 minutes.

    I also lived on the Red Line. It was better than the Green Line but sporadic. Sometimes they arrive quickly, sometimes they don't. I blame it on the opening of the New York station.

    I currently live on the Orange/Blue Line. I'm convinced they are the best lines ever. I never have to wait more than a few minutes. I try to limit Metro travel to spots on these lines now. It's so much easier.

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  24. If you read this blog then you're probably better than the people who party in Clarendon.

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  25. I have a metro problem... the public service annoucements, or should I say threats and insults that metro has posted in it's trains - you know the ones. It seems that instead of marketing itself, metro has chosen to instead post reminders to "take your newspaper when you go bitch" and "keep your cockroaches at home" as well as insult it's riders by giving names to those who block the doors, stand in the aisle (whatever else you might be forced to do on a bad, red line day.) Well, i've got one for them... "metroll" occured to me recently as an apt descriptor for those nasty, underground metro workers who practically spit at you when dare to ask them for any sort of assistance...

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  26. "Metro is a utility, not a private business, yutzes. 'Course, maybe it'd run better if it was, I dunno."

    CVS is a private business - not exactly the model of a well run enterprise

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  27. I lived in NOVA a year ago and commuted to D.C. and Suitland. I tried metro/shuttle bus connections -- the commute took 1 1/2 hours each way. After gnashing my teeth over the unreliability of schedules and "outages," I started driving. Morning commute was 45 minutes, afternoon commute was anywhere form 45 min - 1 1/2 hours. While some of my afternoon drives were famously longer (snow or multiple traffic accidents), I still saved a ton of time, had a greater sense of control over my schedule --- and the only weirdos in the car with me were the occasional relative.

    Ha, ha suckers......now I live on a farm in Illinois and work via my computer. My commute is 15 steps.

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  28. The DC metro is hailed far and wide as a great example of what public transportation should be. I have no idea why. Having spent significant time on the metro systems in both Chicago and several European cities, DC's is the biggest pain in the ass. It takes much longer to get anywhere, trains are less frequent, and whey you get there, there is still a horendously long walk to wherever you want to go. It is really sad when Paris, France (France! Where people work one day a week and strike the other six!) has a better subway system than DC.

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  29. I don't get it. I go from Silver Spring to Tenleytown every day, and I rarely encounter these problems.
    On good days I board around 8:10. Waits for trains are rarely bad, particularly because of the terminations at Silver Spring in the morning. It's crowded if the train originated at Glenmont, but not terrible.

    There was a bit of a slow down last night, Van Ness to SS, but nothing too bad.

    You all are greatly overstating things.

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  30. I moved to DC six months ago and bitch about the Metro as much as the next person (especially yesterday, when I had to let 4 trains go by at Woodley AFTER a ten minute wait for the first one before I could get on). But having suffered through the T in Boston for several years, on which every commute is like the Metro at its worst, I find it hard to feel too bitter towards the Metro.

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  31. Jeez, I'm kind of astounded by all of the negative comments regarding the Red Line. Maybe I'm ignorant and it really is significantly worse coming in from the Shady Grove direction, but I've been going from Fort Totten to Farragut North for six months now, leaving at approxamately 8:30am every day, and coming back around 6:00, and I've never, ever had to wait more than five minute for a train, and I usually get my own seat. When I go home, the trains come every 1-4 minutes.

    Craziness. I'll take our Metro over any other system in the country, any day.

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  32. Why don't all you complaining Red Liners shell out some money and move to Northern VA and take the Orange Line. It is always on time during rush hour and arrives when scheduled. Sure the rush hour train to Vienna is packed until West Falls Church but hey you work in a major city or live in a over populated suburb, get used to it! If you don't like it then get the hell out of here and go live in the Midwest.

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  33. Honestly, although the Metro is far from perfect, it's not so bad compared to what other cities have. I moved to San Francisco from D.C. a few months back, and D.C. metro system is far better than S.F.'s MUNI/BART system. WHen I first got to SF, I stayed in the Haight (a couple miles from downtown) with a friend and at 9:00 it was literally imnpossible to get on the train. Worse, the trains would only come every 15-20 minutes and were only two cars long, so by the time they come again, there are so many new people waiting that you likely won't be able to get on again.

    I'm not saying I prefer D.C. to San Francisco, but waiting 5 minutes for a train and having to stand ain't that bad. At least you got on.

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  34. Listen, guys, the morning commute in DC may be tough sometimes, but if I hear one more complaint about not getting a seat or "the weirdos" on the train, I think I may lose it. What do you want? A foot massage?

    I grew up in New York. I have no sympathy for people who can't deal with a little weirdness or a little inconvenience. You're intimidated by a smelly old guy asking for change? Come on. These things are a part of city life, and I wish suburbanites would get used to it.

    Most of you, I'm sure, work in an office. You can sit down when you get there. If your commute is too long and too painful for you, then move out of the suburbs and into the city!

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  35. I ride at Cleveland Park.

    I almost never catch the first car. I usually have to wait two or three cars. The avg wait for a train I would say is 5-mins.... not the 2-mins on the sign. Now I know five mins doesn't sound like a lot of time, but when you factor in the that it's RUSH HOUR and include the three or four 1-minnute waits in a dark tunnel between stations, your 3-mile commute suddenly goes from 20 mins to 45 mins.

    Metro: what the fuck is that loud deafening beeping noise that is broadcast over the overcom when the train operators announces the station? Turn it off or down.




    Fuck Metro.

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  36. The wait at Union Station is either 2 minutes or 7 minutes, hardly anything in between.

    My ride to Farragut North take 30 minutes, standard. I can walk faster than that. The claim that in city is some how efficient is not supported by my every day experience. That rider is either lucky or they pump some mind-altering toxin into his/her station.

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  37. I used to take the Red Line from Glenmont to Woodley Park, a long ride, with a $4 parking fee to boot. Now I park for free in Wheaton Mall, right next to the "Absolutely no Metro Commuters" sign. Haven't been towed yet...

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  38. I shouldn't be sharing this, but as a Woodley Park sap my favorite trick on rainy days is to take the northbound train up to CP or Van Ness. That way I can cram myself into the first train that comes. I usually see the same people at WP as we go by that were there when I was at the station for the first time. I figure if I'm going to be standing around anyway, I may as well get on where you don't have to throw elbows and run over old people. Sad that I have to restort to such measures though...

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  39. At least take heart in the fact that you don't have to ride the green line. Even during Rush Hour trains run 6-10 minutes apart, at night or midday you could be waiting 25-30 minutes! All that for a train that is always packed.

    They're running a new pilot extending Yellow line trains to the end of the green line (thank god) but not including Rush Hour (WTF?!?!?!?!) in the test.

    All this and they propose DOUBLING the cost of my commute? Metro is great, it's a fantastic system but they find new ways to f$#%* it up every day

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  40. masshole in dcJanuary 08, 2007

    the metro can be very shitty...but rusty i believe you are from massachusetts? ever rode the t? MISERABLE. it goes like 15 mph. and is always late. i would take the metro over the t any time.

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  41. I get on the green line at College Park-if you manage to catch anything up to the 8:47am train, the waits aren't too long. HOWEVER. Trying to transfer to the red line at Fort Totten is the most miserable experience. I don't mind waiting on the way home, I can get home any time and it doesn't matter. But when you're trying to get to work on time, it can be disconcerting to get off the green line downstairs and get upstairs to find a 20 minute wait for a red line train. It's actually faster for me to take the green all the way to Metro Center and then switch to the red in the opposite direction in order to get to Union Station in time for work. I don't care if I have to stand, or sit on the floor, etc. I just want the train to come when it's supposed to come so I can get to work on time. I leave my apt almost an hour and a half before I have to be at work and there are days when I barely make it to Union Station in time. Ridiculous. And no, WMATA, I am absolutely NOT going to start paying $8/day to commute to work.

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  42. I have also abandoned my metro commuting.

    I have decided to drive and shave off 30 minutes on my commute even though my company paid for all my metro expenses through metrochek.

    I'd like to take mass transit to save money and help out the environment, but, they make it so difficult and practically impossible. and the weekends? forget about it.

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  43. Um...this comment obviously came from some stupid ass person in Virginia if he/she/it thinks it's possible for somebody who commutes in on the Red Line to get on at "some stupid ass station in Virginia."

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  44. i think the best strategy honestly is to 1. not take the metro at night unless you know a train is running at that time and 2. don't switch lines if you can. i live on the orange/blue and a lot of the times i end up taking the bus or walking.

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