Archive for the ‘Metro’ Category

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Metro riders to watch out for

October 28, 2009

After getting stuck sitting next to an asshole who wouldn’t move over for the second day in a row, I’ve decided to create a top 5 enemies list of whom to avoid sitting next to on the metro.  Here we go:

5.  Fat guys.  Even if they want to move over they just can’t.

4.  Guys with large bags on their laps.  Apparently if your bag is large enough it actually counts as a rider.  (Hey, there’s an idea to reduce Metro’s deficit – charge for bags!) The other day I saw a guy who put his big bag on the inside seat and then sat on the outside seat so he could lean over his bag, read his paper, and piss off everyone who saw him.

3.  Guys who look like they just leapt off the pages of GQ.  Anyone who spends that much time making themselves pretty is too self absorbed to even think about sharing the seat.

2.  Anyone reading the ‘Examiner.’  These self-proclaimed bastions of independent (i.e. conservative) thought will be so caught up reading about realist theory that they will see it as their patriotic duty to make you work for that extra space.  Don’t even bother trying to argue with them, all these guys respect is force.  Unless you’re prepared to get into a pretty heated shoving contest, look somewhere else.

1.  Anyone wearing an Air Force uniform.  Aside from being the poodles of the military doghouse, these guys just suck.  Between the flight suits they wear (even if they’ve never stepped foot in an airplane) and the tiger stripe camouflage (great for jungle incursions into Cambodia, less useful for Crystal City) these guys’ self-confidence is so low that they will take affront to any perceived attempt to further emasculate them.  If you’re looking to share a seat with an Air force guy (or gal, they suck too!), I guarantee they will not budge one inch. 

There it is, my own personal metro enemies list.  I guarantee if you keep these people in mind you’ll save yourself a lot of unnecessary back pain as you try to fold yourself into a seat.  Up next, top 5 metro suckers!

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Metro Shuttle

September 14, 2009

The other day the driver of the shuttle that runs from my condo to the metro announced that his boss had informed him that people were complaining he was being too courteous to the riders by waiting for them at the shuttle stops.  As one can imagine, these ‘complaints’ were most likely the results of a handful of typical condo people with nothing better to do, and who feel that there time is so important that they can’t afford to spare 30 seconds to help make someone elses day just a little bit better.  Apparently, sanity prevailed, because enough normal people called in that day to the shuttle guy’s company to tell them that the shuttle guy is great and to leave him alone.  Hazah for normal people!  That said, I think the shuttle guy needs to learn to control his new found ‘bulletproofness.’  Today he picked everyone up at the last stop, started to drive away, and then, at the very last minute he caught out of the corner of his eye someone who was two blocks away, rounding a corner.  Not only did the driver stop, but he actually backed up, then waited for about one minute while the guy ran two blocks to catch the shuttle.  The guy even looked surprised, as if he was planning on catching the next one and then realized the driver was waiting for him so he had to run to catch up.  I applaud being courteous to others and waiting for someone who might be running a little late, but backing up the shuttle for guy who planned on catching the next shuttle in the first place?  Seems excessive. 

Don’t worry though, everything worked out because the driver ran the red light to make up time.

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Problems on the Blue Line

May 28, 2009

It was bound to happen sooner or later, and the week after Memorial Day is as logical a time as any:  The start of the Summer Traffic Nightmare has officially begun!  As I was waiting on the Van Dorn Metro Station platform I knew I was screwed when the train stopped just before it entered the station and waited there for five minutes.  I could see the train, so close yet so far away, mocking me, taunting me by waiting just out of reach…then, when it finally came into the station I saw that every single car was packed to capacity.  I, along with a thousand others, shuffled onboard in that awkward way that says, “I’m trying to be courteous but please move your fat ass so I can get on!”  I staked my claim (near the center I might add!) and waited for the doors to close…and waited…and waited…until…nothing happened.  No word from the conductor, no explanation, we simply sat there.  For five minutes.  Waiting.  Finally, the doors closed and we slowly lurched out of the station.  And then stopped.  And then lurched some more.  And then stopped.  This continued on for another…oh, let me see…hell, it’s probably still going on!  What normally takes me 15 minutes took 45, but that wasn’t the worst.  The worst were the two early twentyish people in my car who COULDN’T SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!  The entire friggin’ time he was standing there, cracking jokes about his workplace to this girl who apparently works with him, and while his jokes were irritating enough, her incessant giggling made it even worse!  That guy was either the funniest son-of-a-bitch on the planet, or she’s a moron who laughs at everything.  Everyone in the car was getting agitated, and I really wanted to shout out, “Dude!  Get laid on your own time!”  Finally, mercifully, we pulled into the Crystal City Station and the shuffle began again, except that no one seemed to be making any progress.  The car and the platform were both so filled with people that there was no place to move!  Sure enough, the next thing I hear is “Doors closing,” followed shortly by, “Stand back to allow the doors to close,” followed by, “Get the hell out of the way so I can close the damn doors!”  By this point I had managed to get out of the car.  Granted, it involved pushing some children out of the way, going around a fat guy, and knocking down a a paralyzed midget, but I got out.  (Thanks George Carlin for the tip!)  On my way out of the station I slammed my smart card against the card reader as a way of expressing my displeasure.  I think the reader enjoyed it.

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Courtesy on the Metro

May 27, 2009

In the Washington Post Express there was an article about the lack of courtesy metro riders show towards people with disabilities by not offering them their seats.  The picture they used to make their point was of a blind woman and her seeing eye dog standing in the aisle holding onto one of the support poles.  All I could think of was, ‘Do her legs not work either?’

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Let’s go to the Metro

March 18, 2009
Final Update:  U-turns are authorized!  Hazzah!
Further Update:  Supposedly there was a meeting between the Metro people and the shuttle people on Monday to try and figure out a solution to the problem of too many shuttles at the Metro stops.  The solution currently being implemented is that any shuttle under 27 ft can enter the kiss and ride but any shuttle longer than 27 ft has to pick up and drop off on Eisenhower Ave.  It remains to be seen whether or not U turns will be authorized. 
Another update:  Dr. Gridlock has responded to my query!  His response courtesy of Metro:  We love shuttle riders but there are too many of you, so until we figure out how to deal with you, you’re screwed.
Update:  Apparently an interim decision has been made that allows the shuttle drivers to drop off and pick up passengers at the Kiss and Ride – the catch is that the shuttles cannot loiter, meaning that you either time boarding the shuttle just right or you wait 15 minutes for the shuttle to return so that you can then reattempt a running leap onto the shuttle while it is still moving in order to prevent any loitering from occurring. 
Today was one of those days that really taxes your faith in humanity and unfortunately, it all took place while riding the Metro.  It started when the shuttle I take in the morning was forced to drop us off on the street near the metro stop, since WMATA has decided that shuttles can no longer pickup/drop off passengers on metro property.  This all started a few months ago when Metro made the decision that all shuttles had to drop off and pick up passengers on the bus loading side, instead of the Kiss and Ride side as they had been doing for years prior. I didn’t consider this a big deal and all seemed to be going fine until yesterday when it was announced that shuttles can no longer enter the Van Dorn metro property and instead must pick up and drop off passengers on Eisenhower Ave.  Again, not the end of the world, but it was beginning to become irritating. 

It finally came to a head last night when one of our shuttle drivers got a ticket while attempting to follow his instructions to pick people up at the Kiss and Ride, which he had been told was now allowed by WMATA.  As more and more disgruntled passengers embarked onboard the shuttle from the Eisenhower Ave spot (since they had not been notified to do otherwise), more and more people began to voice their unsolicited opinions regarding the reasons behind WMATA’s decision, new policies, emails that had been sent out, and the normal things people complain about when their routine has been upset.  All of these rumblings convinced the driver that he should go back to the Kiss and Ride to pick up the passengers who were under the impression that the Kiss and Ride was now, once again, the designated, WMATA approved, pickup/drop off spot.  As the shuttle driver entered the lot, he was immediately pulled over by a cop who promptly had him turn off the shuttle and issued the driver a ticket.  My entire role in this process was passive, as I was quietly sitting there on the shuttle, enjoying my post-work, pre-gym meditation session, until it occurred to me that the shuttle wasn’t going anywhere for a long time.  Without interrupting my peace of mind, I simply stood up, walked off the shuttle, and walked home.  Problem solved, or so I thought.  This morning I learned that the shuttles were still restricted from entering the Van Dorn Metro lots but would also not even be allowed to use the bus loading area to make a U-turn, forcing them to go down Eisenhower Ave in search of a place to make a U-turn, effectively adding an additional 10-15 minutes to the total trip time.  We have now officially entered the land of the ludicrous, and WMATA is its reigning monarch.

Old vs. New routes

Old vs. New routes

My question is, “Given Metro’s financial troubles and desire to attract more riders, why is it making it so difficult for their riders to get to the station? Is it because the bus drivers and taxi cab drivers have more clout than the shuttle drivers or is it part of Metro’s plan to force shuttle riders to use Metro buses to get to the stations, effectively placing more money in Metro’s pockets?”  Either way, it’s quite irritating and does nothing but display the inept leadership that Metro riders are continually forced to endure.  And to make it worse, I really like Metro!  I’m not one of those people that finds fault with every decision WMATA makes, in fact, I think the system works rather well!  But this decision I simply can’t understand and can only hope the people will rise up and restore logic and reason to the land of Metro. 

 

Anyways, to wrap up why today destroyed my faith in humanity, or at least the portion that rides and operates Metro, once I got on the train, there were no seats because an Army guy decided that he didn’t need to move his bag off the seat to make room for people to sit down.  Way to go, jackass.  Then, once a seat did open up, the fat ass sitting there refused to honor the sacred space between the two seat cushions, effectively crushing my small frame against the armrest.  In dire need of commuting therapy, I sought out the sage consul of Dr. Gridlock from the Washington Post and am anxiously awaiting his prognosis.
Location of the different pickup/drop off points. All in all, not that big a deal, until the decision was made to not allow the shuttles to use the lots to make a U-turn. See next pic for the consequences of this decision.

Location of the different pickup/drop off points. All in all, not that big a deal, until the decision was made to not allow the shuttles to use the lots to make a U-turn. See next pic for the consequences of this decision.