Is Jim Zorn driving a six or eight car train?
Nice article in the Post today, "Metro Opens Doors -- Too Soon: Operators Forget 8-Car Train Policy."
Back in 2008, Metro started running more 8-car trains to accommodate a growing ridership. These trains, which run during rush hour, fill the entire platform from end-to-end. There's no room for "error" as far as where the train can stop in order to have all the cars be in the station.
Sadly, Metro can't even train their operators to correctly pull a train into a station. Or open the doors on the correct side of the train. I don't even work for Metro, but I've pretty much memorized which side of the train a platform is on for most stations.
From the Post article:
From March to May, there were 17 such door incidents, all but three involving eight-car trains that were not properly berthed. Most took place during the rush period, and the largest number occurred on the Red Line, which is Metro's busiest. Three incidents involved six-car trains: Two berthed short on the platform, and one opened its doors on the wrong side.
Now if only it were a matter of train operators "forgetting" a policy regarding 8-car trains. Rather, just as the case was in 2008, it's train operators forgetting they are driving an 8-car train. That's right.
Virtually all improper door incidents occur because operators forget they are in an eight-car train, officials said, and don't pull the trains all the way to the front of the platform. Instead, they are berthing them as if they were six cars long, with the end cars no longer abutting the platform.
So far, there have not been any injuries resulting from someone walking out of an open door of a car that's still in the tunnel. However, it will happen eventually. Someone won't be paying attention, or god-forbid someone who is blind will walk right out and fall onto the tracks.
What does Metro do with these careless operators? Well, they get three strikes before they are fired, but generally they end up getting demoted to being a bus driver. That's right, if you're too careless to even know how long your train is, you can still drive a bus.
Obviously there are a whole lot of things wrong with this whole situation. The fact that Metro still can't figure out how to train their operators after more than a year of running 8-car trains is troubling enough. Additionally, since this poses a safety hazard, why don't they just implement the common-sense solution of having all trains stop in the same place (all the way at the front of the platform) no matter if it's six or eight cars.
Or you know, you could just stop hiring dumbasses who can't even manage to say, put a post-it on the dashboard that says "8-car train, stupid."