All Articles Tagged "metro"
(Washington Examiner) — Metro has fired 20 bus drivers in the past five months after new cameras filmed them using cell phones while behind the wheel. The Metrobus cameras have caught bus drivers misbehaving 1,173 times in that period, prompting 222 suspensions for various infractions as well as the 20 firings. Aimed at the driver’s seat, the cameras are intended to help train Metro’s bus operators how to better navigate the region’s traffic-filled streets. But they also are catching drivers speeding, driving without seat belts and chatting on forbidden cell phones. The most common violation has been running red lights.
(Washington Informer) — Two years after the worst crash in the history of Metrorail, its customers are standing by the transit agency despite ongoing problems with delays and high fares. ”I have a great deal of confidence in Metro,” said George Whitfield, a commuter from Arlington, Va., who takes the train into downtown Washington to his job. “I have taken Metro for a number of years, both the rail and the bus and it seems to work most of the time fairly well.” Whitfield, 53, said that he doesn’t own a car and like hundreds of thousands of District residents and suburbanites use Metro exclusively for travel. Metro is the second-busiest rapid transit service in the country, after New York City’s and has a weekday ridership of 771,055, according to the agency’s April 2011 statistics.
(Washington Post) — Two years after a crash on Metro’s Red Line killed nine people, the transit authority is still working to replace aging rail cars, install new equipment and make other changes that a federal agency said are necessary to ensure passenger safety. Metro has made progress, but senior executives, congressional leaders and oversight groups say the transit agency has a lot of work ahead. “The good news is Metro did pay attention,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. “They listened and they’re committed to taking action to address the deficiencies. They’ve done what we asked for, and they’re still making progress.”
(Washington Examiner) — D.C. Councilman Michael Brown plans to step down from Metro’s board of directors, the latest change to hit the transit agency that has experienced record amounts of turnover. Brown, who has been an alternate on the transit agency board since January 2009, said he hopes someone with a transit background will fill the seat, arguing the agency needs more expertise. His departure was first reported by the Washington Post.
(Washington Examiner) — A Metro construction inspector made $32,089.52 in overtime in the first two months of this year, according to Metro figures, working the equivalent of 16 hours every single day, including weekends and holidays. The inspector, who makes an annual base salary of $75,368, worked twice as much overtime as he logged in regular hours during that time. He was just one of several Metro employees racking up five-figure overtime payouts in January and February, even as the transit agency struggled to close a huge budget gap.
(Wall Street Journal) — Commuters, perhaps you’d better hit the hand sanitizer: There’s more dirt riding New York’s subways, according to a just-released study of the system’s cleanliness. The Straphangers Campaign, a rider advocacy group, rode the rails last fall for its annual “subway shmutz” study. The results of that study, released today: 47% of cars were schmutz-free–down from 51% in 2009. The group defines heavily dirty cars as ones with spilled food, sticky patches on the floor, “malodorous conditions”, seats rendered useless because of spills and dirt.
(Washington Examiner) — Metrobus riders in one of the poorest parts of the District could lose a special 50-cent discount enjoyed for nearly 20 years as the city looks to close its share of Metro’s budget gap. The District also is mulling cuts to four bus routes, new options added Thursday as the transit agency tries to fill a $72 million hole in the proposed $1.46 billion operating budget that starts in July. Metro General Manager Richard Sarles had proposed the budget without any service cuts, instead asking the jurisdictions served by the transit agency to pony up $72 million more in subsidies. But board members balked at paying a total of $693 million as their own communities suffer under budget cutbacks. Metro’s board of directors narrowed their alternatives Thursday, walking away from any bus cuts in Maryland and Virginia and avoiding most cuts to rail service. Arlington County representative Mary Hynes said her county was even prepared to pay its entire share of the extra subsidy.
(Washington Examiner) — Metro has opened its doors to its first outside business after years of efforts, bringing retail to riders and revenues to the transit agency. Old Town Trolley Tours started selling tickets to its sightseeing tours out of the Smithsonian Metro station on Friday — just in time for the influx of visitors coming to see the region’s blooming cherry trees. doesn’t have ticket booths yet but its hawkers are allowed to sell tickets inside both entrances, unlike the people selling flowers, umbrellas and other knickknacks around the system. It’s the agency’s first foray into adding retail to its stations, but officials say more is on the way. This summer Metro riders will be able to rent DVDs from vending machines at 10 stations.
(Washington Examiner) — Metro’s board is considering cutting back bus and train service instead of asking local governments to pony up $72 million to cover the entire budget gap next year. Nearly $47 million of the $72 million gap in the proposed $1.46 billion operating budget comes from the pain the directors postponed from last year, while the rest comes from less-than-expected revenues. Now those decisions are jeopardizing service for riders. The service cuts the board is considering are similar to those the agency considered last year, according to Chief Financial Officer Carol Dillon Kissal: rerouting buses with low ridership, closing station entrances, increasing the times between trains.
(Washington Examiner) — One of the 14 seats on Metro’s board of directors’ dais will remain empty when the board meets Thursday. The spot for the Prince George’s County alternate has been vacant since December, when the county terminated the contract of Marcell Solomon. Howard University administrator Artis Hampshire-Cowan has been nominated to fill the role but isn’t slated to be confirmed by the Maryland Senate until Friday. The Metro board has undergone extensive turnover in the past few months, with half of the members changing guard through resignations, voluntary and involuntary. But Solomon was the only member barred from returning. He missed nearly two-thirds of Metro’s board of directors meetings in 2010, according to a Washington Examiner analysis of the meeting minutes. He attended 21 of 57 committee meetings and full board meetings all year.