Metro in more of a mess, no one is surprised

So the news keeps on getting worse for Metro. There have been two YouTube "incidents" this week, with video evidence of an operator texting as well as another operator apparently falling asleep. Both of these videos were made before the fatal crash, back when trains were still running on automatic mode.

A lot of bad press for WMATA, these latest incidents have been all over the national media. Sadly, the phrase "Metro Fail" has apparently become OK usage in national media headlines.

Metro has taken one positive step, finally making it a fireable offense to use a cell phone while operating a train or bus. According to General Manager John Catoe, "One strike and you're out. It's plain, simple and strong. Is it a tough policy? Absolutely. That's what I want."

Correction, John. That's what you want now that people are paying attention to WMATA, and it's becoming evident that operators aren't always paying attention. Why wasn't it what you wanted six months ago? A year ago? What about after the crash in Boston or the 25 dead in Los Angeles--both due to texting? Those weren't enough of a wake-up call? Oh, that's right, Metro doesn't pay attention to other transit systems.

This all at the same time as the District pulls the plug on $50 million in funding for Metro. So much for that dedicated funding stream. Of course the DC budget is in shambles, but by stopping the $50 million, $150 million in federal government matching funds would be lost. Well, except for the fact that the $150 million, while authorized, were not included in President Obama's budget.

Keeps getting better and better.


  1. AnonymousJuly 09, 2009

    The next step is to actually enforce the no texting law for WMATA employees and for drivers in DC. I can't tell you how many times I've nearly met my end wile biking due to texting drivers. And I've seen texting pedestrians almost get killed as well. It's a broad problem. - Jimbo

  2. Adrian Fenty is an asshole. Or stupid. Or both.

    This is possibly the most appallingly stupid, insensitive, and politically idiotic thing the current administration has pulled as yet. Take the one thing that EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the entire region has been talking about, at the peak of our emotional response to this terrible tragedy, and give us the finger.

    Oh well, at least that 50 mil bought some fur coats and shit for OTR employees.

  3. AnonymousJuly 10, 2009

    So according to dave, not only is Catoe responsible for managing metro, but Catoe also has to monitor every other mass transit system in the country for every problem, glitch, or issue that occurs in those systems.

    by the way dave, i still don't understand why you have the catoe watch posted when you don't have a single shred of evidence documenting that any direct action or inaction by catoe caused the crash on metro.

  4. My opinion has always been that the buck should stop with the general manager. It's not Catoe's "personal" responsibility to know the ins-and-outs of other systems... however it's always a GOOD THING to have someone on your staff who keeps up to date with things such as two dozen people dying in a transit accident. And I wouldn't call high profile crashes involving texting "a glitch or issue."

    The transit system is a total mess, and no one is taking responsibility for it. It's ridiculous that the Series 1000 cars were moved to the center of trains only after the crash, and it's ridiculous that a "one strike" policy for cell phone usage was instituted only after some bad press.

  5. AnonymousJuly 10, 2009

    your opinion doesn't make sense. A supervisor failed to notify catoe (or anyone else) that there were sensor problems on the stretch of red line track that caused the crash. how is that situation catoe's fault?

  6. It happened on his watch. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

  7. "A supervisor failed to notify catoe (or anyone else) that there were sensor problems on the stretch of red line track that caused the crash. how is that situation catoe's fault?"

    Replace "Catoe" with "Bush" and "Metro" with "Federal Government 2000-2008" and you'll see Dave's point.