Metro operators union: "At least you're alive"

The Metro Red Line continues to suffer from overcrowded trains and stations, sixteen days after the fatal accident outside of Fort Totten Station. As a daily Red Line rider, I can say I need to add around 15-20 minutes extra to my commute. Each rush hour is similar to what I would expect for a baseball game or other special event, completely packed cars and completely full platforms. It's a mess, and it does test my patience a bit.

The Examiner reports today about the growing frustrations felt by Red Line riders. It's the typical "commuters are upset" piece we've seen elsewhere, but it does have an interesting quote from Jackie Jeter, the head of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, which represents Metro train operators.
"I understand that you want to get to work a little sooner," she said, but "everybody should back off that. ... At least you're alive."
Well yes, I am glad that I am alive, and I am saddened by the loss of 8 passengers and the train operator. I also believe that safety has to be the number one priority of any transit system. However, there's got to be a better way to get your message across.

Perhaps a statement that says, "We understand the customers' frustrations, and we hope that management works to resolve this situation as soon as possible." Or if you want to be a little edgier than how about "Customers who are frustrated with the situation should urge their state and Federal governments to provide more funding for Metro. If funding is not secured, these delays and service interruptions will be permanent." That has a nice ring to it, much better than something that sounds a bit like "hush up because you could die any moment on the Red Line."

In other Metro-related news:
  • A Metrorail operator was suspended for a week without pay after a rider recorded him operating a cell phone.
  • Metro should take some time to research similar transit systems, especially BART in San Francisco. The failure John Catoe called a "freak occurrence" was well known to those running the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. From the WaPo: Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said that every transit system is unique and that it is difficult to know the "intricacies of everybody else's system and how they compare to ours." I'm sorry, shouldn't that be someone's job at Metro? There aren't that many transit systems in the United States, and there aren't that many that are so similar to Metro.
  • The proprietor of Unsuck DC Metro, a site that frequently comments on WMATA, admits to having never ridden on a Metrobus.


  1. I think the next article should be about the fact that DC sucks so much that the RW cast, that has only been here a week, has already spent 1 night partying in Rockville and another night at a fundraiser in Clarendon.

  2. The comment "at least you're alive" has no bearing on the situation at hand. What does me being alive have to do with the Metro?

    I stubbed my toe this morning...at least I'm alive
    I lost a million dollars in the stock market...at least I'm alive
    My sister was deported to planet Venus...at least I'm alive

    Talk about a typical lame cop out argument.