How many hyphens and slashes are enough?

Mr. T in DC

The Green Line likes long names.

DCist discusses local groups (like ANCs and BIDs) who would like to add even MORE words to our already cluttered, hyphenated Metro stops:

This isn’t a new debate. Metro station names have gotten somewhat out of hand over the last 15 years, especially on the Green Line. (Excuse me while I hop on at U Street / Cardozo / African-American Civil War Memorial, roll through Mount Vernon Square-7th Street / Convention Center, and then exit at Archives / Navy Memorial / Penn Quarter.) It’s station name creep, plain and simple, and especially galling when you think about how, at the genesis of the Metrorail system, station names had a limit of 15 characters.

Poor Information, Poor Planning, Poor WMATA

Ah, the continuing saga of SmarTrip and WMATA. Will they discount the $5 cards and make them more affordable to strapped commuters who are already smarting from a fare increase? Will they allow riders to exit the station with a negative balance? Will scofflaws abuse the system? Who cares, the situation is even worse than we thought. An “embarrassment”, even! Via WTOP:

Metro says it has no idea when — or even if — it will be able to put a SmarTrip discount in place.

During a tense board meeting Thursday, Metro Board members talked about the issue, but could not find a solution.

“This is an embarrassment,” said Board Member Jim Graham, who represents D.C. “I think we should move off this agenda item. With every passing minute, this looks worse.”

I’m concerned about Metro Board considering changes when they are on the receiving end of “bad information”: Continue reading

Take Metro? Step Away from the Door, Hide your iPhone.


Well, that's one way to keep your iPod safe.

WTOP reports that Metro Transit Police are concerned about the rise in robberies of phones and mp3 players:

From Jan. 1 to June 30, 2010, there were 540 robberies on trains and buses, according to Metro statistics. (See Slide 14) That’s about 160 more compared to the same point last year, and almost double compared to 2008.

Many robberies involve smartphones or iPods that are simply snatched right off riders.

Much like real estate, location is everything: Continue reading

Maybe SmarTrip Won’t be Discounted, After All


This SmarTrip card is in the red...thanks to a sharpie.

Last week, I posted about having your say regarding Metro’s proposal to no longer allow negative balances on SmarTrip cards. The whole reason Metro considered changing the current system, which allows riders to exit even if they don’t have enough money on their card to cover metro fare was because of a proposal to lower the cost of a SmarTrip card from $5 to $2.50, in order to make the plastic fare card more accessible and affordable. Laudable goal, right?

Well, yes, but officials at Metro then theorized that people could abuse the system by purchasing a card and taking a ride which cost more than $2.50. That’s why they considered eliminating negative balances. What they didn’t consider was how complicated this would all become. For example, there were no plans to change the Exit Fare machines to accept credit cards– they are cash only. That was one of the reasons why negative balances were allowed in the first place; the machines for adding value to SmarTrip cards are beyond the fare gates. Continue reading

Is Metro Parking Under-priced? For Whom?


East Falls Church Metro

There’s a thought-provoking post up over at Greater Greater Washington about how VDOT wants to retain all the parking (if not increase it, in the future) which currently exists near the East Falls Church Metro stop.

VDOT cites the early fill time for the parking lot as justification for considering more parking than already exists. The lot regularly fills before 7:30 am, and data obtained from Metro cites the lot as one of the region’s most crowded.

The author of the post, Michael Perkins, thinks that the lot fills regularly because it is under-priced. Continue reading

Speak up for SmarTrip negativity on GGW!

Mr. T in DC

Mr. T in DC's SmarTrip Card

Greater Greater Washington‘s founder, David Alpert, (who, incidentally, is the subject of a cover story on “Smart Growth” for the latest edition of the City Paper) is calling on readers to go over six possible alternatives to WMATA’s plan to no longer allow SmarTrip cards to have a negative balance.

WMATA raised the hackles of many riders when it announced SmarTrips would no longer go negative. Responding to the outcry, CFO Carol Kissal and her team developed six alternatives for handing the issue, which they presented to the Riders’ Advisory Council last night.

Continue reading

A Seizure on the Green Line

Metro train


What would you do if a passenger on the train got sick?

Quick– if someone collapsed on the Metro, would you know what to do?

When I first saw a post about sick passengers riding Metro, I assumed it was about people with colds or the flu. I was wrong. The Unsuck DC Metro blog was discussing something else entirely– one reader’s frustration with her morning commute on the Green Line, after it had been complicated by what initially seemed like an emergency:

A man collapsed from his seat into the aisle. Passengers jumped up to see what was going on. Someone hit the red button at the end of the car to notify the train driver. We gathered around the man, moved his heavy bag out the way and checked his medical bracelet. He has epilepsy.

Of course, the train stopped moving at that point. But read what happened next:

Continue reading

Top up your SmarTrip Card, ASAP

Remember: on Monday, Metro rides will become more expensive. Instead of two tiers of prices, there will be three, with a peak-of-the-peak surcharge added to the morning rush hour(s). From WTOP:

Metro will charge Metrorail riders an extra 20 cents on weekdays between 7:30 and 9 a.m.

A 20-cent charge between 4:30 and 6 p.m. was put into place earlier this month.