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What's New at Metro
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Richard White Happy Friday. Yesterday we had a peer review panel from the American Public Transportation Association share with us its recommendations on how to improve the Metrobus system. We asked them to tell us, and they did. In doing so, they said that we had the potential for being one of the premier bus systems in the nation. Reaching that plateau will take time as well as a strong commitment from the region, including a commitment to funding.

A summary of the report’s recommendations is on our web site at
http://www.wmata.com/about/MET_NEWS/PressReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=838.

I also want you to know that we’ve been able to locate the problem with the circuit at Rosslyn. We’ll be fixing it this weekend and expect to be back to normal service by Monday. For more details on that situation, visit http://www.wmata.com/about/met_news/story.cfm?ID=308.

The questions are coming in, so let’s get started.
Speeding
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BrianfromMarylan... I have seen some geese getting killed by drivers who are going too fast coming from the ramp where they get off the freeway or getting on the ramp to the freeway. I saw some drivers did not drive carefully when there were some geese walking around. This proves to me that they don't care about them and that's their right, but it cost the metro a lot of time and money to clean the mess. What is the best way to avoid from all of this happening? I recommend a speeding camera with lights to catch the drivers. I know many drivers don't like it, but the metro station is a small area so we can't afford to see everyone going too fast in a small area. It's not safe. I think installing several speeding cameras will help the Metro to earn a lot of revenue from tickets rather than increasing parking fees. If metro riders do not want to see their parking fees going up then I see speeding camera is the only way to go. Or the metro should have a police car parking on the side of the street to make sure nobody is going too fast. What do you think? What is your idea to resolve the problem with speeding? I want everyone including you and me to enjoy our experience going to the metro station for our needs, not causing problems.
Richard White Hi. Thank you for contacting me regarding your observations. I agree that speeding near our Metro stations is undesirable. I will discuss your issues with the District Commanders for resolution.
Last Night
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Silver Spring- R... Last Night (Thursday), I was at Gallery Place-Chinatown trying to take the last train home to SS. Everone was herded over to the Glenmont side of the platform and told single tracking was going on. Then the Glenmont train came on the Shady Grove Side of the platform so we all had to hurrry over. What was going on, and why wasn't it better communicated. The poor Station Manager on the platform looked stumped as to why the train was on the wrong side. What was going on- why the unannounced single tracking? Why the delays?J
Silver Spring
Red Line / J Bus rider for 3
Richard White Last night a customer who appeared to be highly intoxicated made contact with the train at Dupont Circle. As is policy, the train held while a preliminary investigation was conducted and the operational systems on the train were checked. Fortunately the individual was not injured. He was, however, taken to a local hospital for what appeared to be intoxication and an examination. Our station announcements are exactly how we communicate when there is an incident, to alert customers to the delay and tell them how we’re providing service. As you pointed out, announcements were made in the system to alert customers that there was a delay and that trains would be single-tracking. The incident took place at approximately 11:45 p.m.
Metro Manager Salaries
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SmartGrowther Mr. White, how can you justify making 8 times more than I and lots of other riders make? And more than the chief executives of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia? And the fact that roughly 350 Metro employees earn $100,000 per year or more? Is that why we've had TWO regressive fare increases? Why did Metro renew its contract with Verizon in 2001 with no changes, when other agencies are making $800,000 and $1 million per year from them? I can think of all KINDS of service improvements that could and SHOULD be made if only we had that kind of money available!
Richard White Thanks, SmartGrowther. You've asked a lot of good questions. I'll do my best to answer a few of them. First of all, my salary is established as part of my employment agreement with the Board of Directors. Like most other transit systems, the wage scale for the General Manager is tied to the national marketplace. Currently I am the sixth highest paid General Manager, while Metro is the fourth largest transit system in the country. As for the number of WMATA employees earning $100,000 or more, the percent of the total work force earning over $100,000 is comparable with the larger local governments in our region, namely Montgomery and Fairfax counties, as well as the District of Columbia. Finally, as to our miscellaneous non-passenger revenue, such as the Verizon contract, we have one of the most robust non-passenger revenue programs of any transit system. Between 1996 and 2004, we generated $800 million in that type of revenue! When the full and complete story is told, we have a lot to be proud of.
SmartGrowther But the Post reported that Metro renewed the Verizon contract with no negotiation for a higher fee. Why is that? It sounds like WMATA could have gotten hundreds of thousands more dollars from Verizon--and that company SHOULD pay given its monopoly on cell phone service in the tunnels!
Richard White SmartGrowther, can you hear me now? (Sorry, I couldn't help myself!) On a more serious note, going back more than a decade, the local fire and police departments approached us and asked us to put an emergency radio communications system in our tunnels. Unfortunately, we did not have the financial resources to put that kind of system in our tunnel network. We entered into the agreement in the early 1990's with then Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) so the local fire and police agencies would get the emergency radio communications system they needed that we never could have afforded ourselves. So we actually received the benefit of a $20 million network, and while the annual revenue isn't great, we have generated $800 million in this and other types of non-passenger revenue between 1998 and 2004 - which is one of the most robust non-passenger revenue programs of any transit system in the U.S.
Suicides / Dead Body
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Silver Spring- R... Is there anything that METRO can do to decrease the number of suicides the occur- the shutdowns- Minnestota Avenue, Brookland are a real inconvenience. How do other transit systems deal with that issue?

Also what was the deal with the dead body at SS yesterday morning?J
Silver Spring
Red Line / J Bus rider for 3
Richard White When a person dies, we have a legal responsibility to conduct a thorough and complete investigation. The family members of the deceased deserve that much as well. Basically it is an issue that infrequently impacts our commitment to provide safe, efficient, and reliable transportation. The Metro Transit Police have developed an expertise in these types of investigations. In coordination with jurisdictional agencies we move to minimize the disruption as best we can.

We also are training first responders in the region in responding to incidents such as these.

We issued a news release about both incidents that took place this week. You can read them on our press release page at:
http://www.wmata.com/about/MET_NEWS/dailyrelease.cfm. Those news releases were posted on our homepage while both incidents were still ongoing. Specifically related to the discovery of the individual near the Silver Spring station yesterday morning, that remains under investigation, although I can tell you that there is no preliminary indication of foul play.
Bus-Rail Parity
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SmartGrowther Metrobus has long been an afterthought stepchild compared to Metrorail. Real time vehicle information, line managers, system maps (where are THESE by the way??) and SmarTrip technology all came to the trains years before the buses. How can you justify this when bus service is less reliable, less predictable, and serves lower income riders than the rail network--including the majority of transit trips in the District!

This past Saturday I waited over 20 minutes to take the 96 bus to RFK for the Nats game, and had NO information about how late the bus was or why. When I called 637.7000, the only information they could give me was that the bus was late--DUH! They couldn't tell me when I could expect the next bus to arrive, nor why the westbound 96 that had just passed me never turned around at Ellington Bridge to head back to RFK! I had to take a 42 to Farragut West and pay an extra $1.35 to take the train. This is ridiculous if you're promoting Metro use to RFK, and I deserve a refund on my rail fare!

But the larger issue is that Metro needs to adopt a strong and clear principle of bus-rail parity. Will you commit to this? If not, please explain.
Richard White We agree that Metrobus has been sort of a "step-child" to Metrorail, and we are sincerely sorry for the lack of service you received last Saturday. Metro has technology improvements in progress that will assist us with better management of service, and will provide service updates and real time information to our customers. An Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system has been installed in all buses. A new scheduling system will be completely installed by this fall. Integration of those two systems will be completed by early 2006. At that time, better management tools will exist, and we can then begin implementing better customer service systems.
Orange / Blue Line Delays
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Silver Spring- R... Why did it take METRO so long to tell the general public what was going on between Rosslyn and GWU? It seems like we saw the "old" (7 months ago) METRO back in action with the delay.J
Silver Spring
Red Line / J Bus rider for 3
Richard White We made station announcements about the delays on the Orange and Blue Line when the circuit problem impacted service. Last Friday we sent out e-alerts. We also kept customers informed about when the next train would be arriving in the stations with the Passenger Information Display signs on the platforms—which showed the next train and how many cars the train would have. As we have been using 8-car trains, customers knew that as well, so they could spread across the full length of the platform.

We also issued two news releases about the track circuit problem at Rosslyn. On Tuesday we issued a news release informing customers as to what we were doing to move people through the affected area. That news release is posted at
http://www.wmata.com/about/MET_NEWS/PressReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=827.
And yesterday we issued a release explaining that we identified the problem, how we plan to fix it, and when we expect it to be fixed. That news release is posted at http://www.wmata.com/about/met_news/story.cfm?ID=308.
Bob McSnagget It's also ironic that the riding public was not informed for a week about the delays, while the Washington Post was simultaneously writing stories about how WMATA is not sufficiently audited or monitored (and Metro was handing out rebuttal flyers). . . well, ironic and infuriating.
Richard White We apologize if you did not get all of the information related to the delays to the Orange and Blue lines. We are continuously working towards improving communication with our customers, and you should see further improvements coming after July 1, in the new fiscal year.
Committment to Metrobus
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Silver Spring- R... How committed is METRO to its Metrobus service?
It seems like Metro treats its Metrobus riders are second class transit consumers with old buses to put up with. Also, why doesn't METRO do more to integrate the passes with the smartcard. Why can't one pay a transfer fee on the smart card and present a paper transfer?

I do think that METRO's new FedExField policy is unfair because it punishes the pass users- because its predicated on use of the smart card and will not accept paper transfers. Is there something- anything METRO can do in the meantime such as tracking the transfers as compensation? Given how high the parking rate is going up at those stations, it doesn't seem fair to make ordinary folks who have nothing to do with football pay the big bucks because they're trying to save some money using passes.

It seems like this wasn't well thought out and rather unfair if you woun't accept Smart Trip payment for transfer when you alls charge the weird amount of $.35 for bus transfer and the exorbitant amount of $25 for parking at Largo and won't accept your own paper transfers.
J
Silver Spring
Red Line / J Bus rider for 3
Richard White Metro is committed to Metrobus. The oldest buses you mention are being replaced. Between August and March 2006, 250 new buses will be received and placed into service. These buses will replace 250 of the oldest buses (1986-1990's). The Board of Directors has authorized the procurement of an additional 217 buses. We hope to see the first of these buses in the next six to nine months. Through the approved Metro Matters program, larger numbers of new buses and additional buses are budgeted over the next five years.
money wasters
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melatar Now that I've read more in the Post, the project of changing station names and signage is even more of a waste. Do not change any more station names. New buildings will be built, that's a given. Station names are not supposed to be a directory of all locations and residents in the area. Real estate hype like "Penn Quarter" is particularly egregious. The elegant "Opera" seems to work in Paris even for those not going to the Opera.
Richard White If a jurisdiction where a station is located wants to change the name of that station, it has the prerogative to do so. The cost of changing a station name is not paid from the Metro budget. It comes from the jurisdiction that requests the change. The only exception to that policy was when the Federal government mandated that we change the name of National Airport Metrorail station to the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Metrorail station. We picked up the tab for that one.
Metro Chat Censorship
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SmartGrowther Why do these "chats" have to be so heavy-handedly moderated?? Why can't you at least let everyone's submissions be posted so readers can see ALL the questions being asked, and just answer the ones you select? I for one would like to see what questions are NOT being answered.
Richard White These chats are not moderated in any kind of heavy-handed way, SmartGrowther. We've already answered two or three of your questions today already! The way these chats appear is very similar to the chats that you see on the Washington Post and other web sites that have chats. With those, you don't see every question submitted; you just see the questions the moderators choose to reply to. Given the volume of questions we receive, we try to answer those that have the broadest appeal to the largest audience. We try to get to as many questions as we possibly can in 60 minutes.
Metrobus Improvements
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SH What types of improvements do you think you can make to the Metrobus system that don't cost a lot of money?
Richard White Hi. Cost is relative, but:

In FY 2006, Metro buses will receive a good cleaning every week rather than every two weeks at a cost of less than $700,000 per year.

250 new buses will arrive and replace 250 buses that are 16 to 20 years old. This is a major expense, but already has been approved. These new buses will provide improved services and allow the older buses to be retired. Even though the majority of these new buses go to Virginia, all areas of the service will be improved by reallocation of buses and the retirement of the oldest buses.

125 buses within the current fleet will receive security cameras by the end of 2005. These cameras assist in deterring crime on buses and assist in recording incidents that do occur. The 250 new buses will also have cameras.

Procedures for current street supervisory staff will be analyzed and more time will be allocated to managing the service on the street. Additional staff is needed, but no cost changes with current staff should assist in producing improved service.

As new technology systems are completed, staff will be better able to monitor and manage service. There is no cost to the changed procedures, and the systems were funded in earlier years.
Improving Metrobus
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SH What improvements have you implemented in the past year that you think are improving bus service? What's in store for the year ahead?
Richard White Hi. We have made several improvements to the bus system in the last year. They include:

The installation of a new radio and AVL system, which was completed. This provides us the ability to better communicate information to bus operators and allows our radio control room to know the location of the buses.

The SmarTrip farebox installation was completed on all Metro buses. Over 13.5 percent of all Metrobus fare transactions are now on SmarTrip that allows quicker boarding and ease of payment for customers.

Improved bus inspection programs have increased the reliability of the bus fleet by 13 percent over last year at the same time as the fleet is getting older and is now at an average of 9.91 years.

In the next fiscal year (starting July 1) we plan to make the following improvements:

Installation of a new scheduling system will be completed and then integrated with the AVL system which was installed in the last year. This integration will allow us to know when buses are running early or late and automated messages will go to operators to inform them. Supervisory staff will be better able to track service and adjust service with this technology. Planners will also be better able to monitor service and plan for future service adjustments.

Bus cleaning will improve. Currently we sweep the bus daily, do a more thorough cleaning every two weeks and a complete cleaning monthly. By the end of 2005 we will have moved the cleaning cycle from once every two weeks to weekly.

Additional service is budgeted for March 2006 to assist in relieving overcrowding and travel time problems.
Station Concerns
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PLB Mr. White, thank you in advance for responding to my question. I would like to know why stations near predominately African American populations are less physically appealing than those with predominately Caucasian riders? For example, it really does seem as though the Stadum Armory Station didn't get more lighting and better station coverings (a mini makeover of sorts)until Caucasians started riding there to see the Nationals. Haven't the changes to Staduim Armory been made to make Caucasians feel like it's a "safe" place to be. Shouldn't people of color be able to have the feeling "safe" as well?
Richard White The Stadium-Armory station was a station that, in 2002 (long before the Washington Nationals were ever in the picture), was placed on a list of stations designated to have a canopy put up over the escalators. We put up canopies to help extend the lifecycle of our escalators by helping protect them from the inclement weather.

Contingent upon issuance of construction permits, the following locations are due to have (or already have) canopies erected by the end of the year: Benning Road, Brookland-CUA, Capitol Heights (work on this one begins next week), Cleveland Park east and west, College Park west, Crystal City, Dupont Circle South, Friendship Heights, Grosvenor-Strathmore, L’Enfant Plaza, Medical Center, Navy Yard east, Pentagon City east and west, Shaw north and south, Smithsonian north, U Street east and west, Van Ness east and west, Virginia Square-GMU, Waterfront, White Flint west and Woodley Park.
Concerns about Metro Police
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PLB I was recently on the Orange Line with my sister and when we reached our destination, my sistem realized that she had left her farecard on the Train. The station manager lectured her about why she can't misplace her farecard or if she does, she will be locked up and led away in handcuffs by the metro police. He then goes on to tell her (to my utter dismay) that the Metro police have led many people away in cuff for misplacing their farecard and that those people were mainly people of color. Is it illegal to lose your farecard and even if it is, why should those people be handled so viciously? Innapropriate behavior of the Police (whom we should respect for their authority)is unnaceptable. After all, you have to give respect to get it. Thank you.
Richard White Hi. It sounds to me like perhaps you encountered a station manager who wasn’t as helpful as he should have been in addressing your problem of losing a card. In the future, if you encounter someone who is not helpful in getting your problem resolved, please take note of the time, location and if possible, the individual’s name, and let us know at 202-637-1328. It is not against the law to unknowingly loose anything, and so our Transit Police do not lock up people for losing things.
Extending Metrorail
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dpete47 Like Metrorial, the HOV lanes terminated at Franconia/Springfield. They've been extended to Prince William County. METRO should consinder extending to Woodbridge. Lot of us live south of Franconia/Springfield now. While we have VRE, metrorail would be convient. METRO could be build parallel to the CSX tracks.
Richard White There are many Metrorail extensions that have been proposed, suggested, or advocated around this region. The ultimate decisions about which extensions are approved and funded are made by the jurisdictions that make up the Metro system and not by Metro (us). Extensions are very costly and, accordingly, these decisions are often very difficult to make and reach consensus on. We understand people want Metro to go farther than where we currently go, and we're happy about that.
Bus Inspections
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SmartGrowther Mr. White, in your last chat I asked about bus drivers inspecting their buses and reporting problems with them, and indicated that I detected a problem with a lack of accountability for making sure this is being done. You simply replied that drivers were given a form to fill out at the beginning of each shift, but did not address the issues of accountability or whether most or all drivers were actually doing this as required by Metro policy and FEDERAL LAW. Now not only the Washington Post, but the APTA peer review has confirmed that Metro has a real problem with bus operators not inspecting their buses and reporting problems as required. How will you improve accountability, oversight, and enforcement so drivers actually do what they are supposed to? I hope you are taking this concern more seriously now that what I have been saying for months has been confirmed by the Washington Post and APTA -- which I believe you chair this year.
Richard White Our Safety Department recently pointed out the laxness of our operators in following our policy and Federal law. Generally, our operators were only filling out the forms when a defect was found. Since that time we have revised the forms and combined them with other essential materials that are picked up and returned daily by operators. Each day office staff review the forms and forward bus problems to maintenance. All safety defects are repaired before the bus returns to service and other defects are scheduled for repair as quickly as possible.

As was reported at yesterday’s meeting, our last report showed over 70 percent of the operators are now complying and I expect the next report to show even better results. Operators who are not complying are being interviewed and disciplined.
Red Line To Shady Grove
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angry in Rockvil... I take the red line every day and am very upset with the service. it takes 2 hours most days to go from Bethesda to Montrose Road in Rockville. At least 3 empty trains towards DC and 2 half empty trains that stop at Grosvner pass through Bethesda Station before 1 packed train to Shady Grove comes. I have to wait for 3 trains sometimes before finding a place to squeeze in missing my connecting bus at White Flint. Why don't all the trains run to Shady Grove and are there any plans to extend the Red line up to Frederick?
Richard White Hi. In order to provide the highest level of service and capacity, we need to turn trains at Grosvenor. This allows us to run at a high frequency and is the best use of our rail cars.

No, there are not any current plans to extend to Frederick. Any recommendation for expansion to Frederick would have to come from the State of Maryland.
speed of metorail trains
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dpete47 Why can't metrotrail trains go up to 70MPH insted of 59MPH?
Richard White Speeds on Metrorail are controlled based on the configuration and curve of the track, station spacing distances, and the capabilities of the railcars' acceleration and deacceleration rates. Generally, our rail system is operating at the maximum allowed speed. There are some speed restrictions in place at specific locations in our system, and we're currently working on corrective actions on those specific locations so we can lift these speed restrictions.
Litter, Buses, and Smartrip
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George Newbury I have several questions:

1. Who is in charge of the bus bay areas at metro stations. I am specifically thinking about Franconia-Springfield, because out by the bus bays there are hundreds upon hundred of cigarette butt and it would be nice if you guys put out some sort of disposal contatiner for them.

2. With the buses, until the rest of the regional systems deploy the smartrip readers, would it be possible to have a bus transfer machine hooked up to a smartrip reader so that you could pay for the transfer with your Smartrip card? Basically could you take a smartrip machine from a bus and put in the metro station?

3. Can credit cards and cell phones demagnitize the Smartrip cards?

Thanks



Richard White Hi. I'll notify our Plant Maintenance department of the need to clean up the bus bays at Franconia-Springfield.

When the SmarTrip readers have been installed on all regional buses, paper transfers will be eliminated and the transfer handled electronically. AThe regional bus systems are gearing up to implement SmarTrip, beginning this fall at the earliest.

No, a SmarTrip card is not magnetized, so a credit card or cell phone cannot demagnetize it.
W McGee Woah... bus transfers will be elimated? That's a bad idea from all get go. $5 is still a steep price for a number of people: poor working class folk, occassional bus riders, etc. I honestly think you need to reconsider this.
Richard White Bus transfers are not being eliminated! The paper transfer is being replaced by the SmarTrip card!
Old Railcars
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dpete47 You are replacing your old buses, but why not the old rail cars? You have railcars over 20 years old, too old to use, yet you don't use 20 year old buses. Get rid of the series 1000 Rohr cars - they are too old.
Richard White You're correct in your observation that our Rohr railcars are the oldest in our fleet. We also have an aggressive rehabilitation program underway for the 2000 and 3000 series Breda railcars. This rehabilitation program will enhance the life of these cars by at least 20 more years. In addition to the rehabilitation of the 2000 and 3000 series cars, we are also rehabbing the Rohr fleet systems and sub-systems to get additional life and use of these cars. And more good news: we'll begin to take delivery of some brand new railcars (the 6000 series) later this calendar year.
Teen cited for fare evasion at Pentagon City
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whiteoakmd Dear Mr. White,

I am very disturbed by what I see as a constant trend of over-aggresive, in-your-face enforcement by the Metro police. I am specifically referring to the teenage girl who I feel was falsely cited for fare evasion at Pentagon City. All she did was use the employee gate to get a baby carriage through. She then went back to re-enter the system via a faregate, but not until Metro Police cornered her and cited her for fare evasion! Granted she should have approached a metro employee concerning the baby carriage, but I still think that the police overreacted. If they even took a second to listen to her explanation instead of handing her a citation, a lot of misunderstanding could have been avoided, and the Metro police would not have to be dealing with another public-relations nightmare.
Richard White Hi. The channel 7 story failed to include salient information and chose instead to sensationalize a police responsibility to correct inappropriate behavior and enforce the laws and minor violations. We do not selectively enforce the law. Our officers approach everyone who they see violating the law. In this instance, our officers were in casual clothes, and so were not spotted by the girls until after they entererd without paying their fare at which time the officers identified themselves and were stopped at the platform. Clearly, they were not just at the faregate as they claimed.

Our Transait Police Chief had a pleasant conversation with the young lady's mother. The Chief requested information necessary to conduct a review of the incident, however to date, that information has not been received.

Ensuring that customers pay the fare is important to those we serve and who finance our service.
Bus shelters
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PublicTransUser1... Do you know who decides where the Metrobus shelters are built and who should I contact in order to get one built in my area? PTU1980
Richard White Metro is responsible for the current 800+ shelters in the bus system. New shelters should be requested through your local jurisdiction. I hope that helps!
L'Enfant Plaza Metro Station has improved
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PublicTransUser1... Mr. White, I want to thank you and Metro employees for taking the time to address my concerns regarding the L'Enfant Plaza Metro Station. It has greatly improved since I posted that last chat. PTU1980
Richard White You're welcome. Please keep us posted on your other observations as well.
Stand Right/Walk Left & Quiet Cars
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Tom Everyone knows that for regular metro commuters know that the custom is to stand right and walk left on the escalators. Why doesn't Metro it as a policy to encourage this congestion relieving practice by posting signs at the escalators which say "Stand Right - Walk Left"? As it is, tourists using the metro unknowingly block the traffic flow and are treated to rude "move over" and "excuse me" remarks by annoyed regulars. If tourists knew the custom, everyone would be happier. Post some signs.

And while you are considering signs, how about posting some "Quiet Car" signs on the middle cars of the trains? Can't we move cellphone users to the first and last cars so we all don't have to listen to their conversations? Or even better, restrict cellphone use to the platforms. What is the difference between a customer shouting into a cellphone and a customer playing a radio with no headphones? They are both annoying to the peaceful wellbeing of other passengers.
Richard White Hi. As you pointed out, it is common custom to stand to the right. We encourage people to do so. We do not have a good place to post the signage that you request. We want to avoid having people stop in front of escalators to read signs because that can cause back-ups and blocks people from stepping onto escalators. The safest way to use an escalator is to stand on a step, hold on, and let the escalator do the work.

As it relates to cell phone usage, we have tried to encourage customers to keep their phone conversations at a low volume and we even created some posters to that end.
Required use of Smarttrip cards for parking areas
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metrognome Metro now requires a smarttrip card to get out of the parking lots in addition to having sufficient amount of money for the fee. This new procedure causes problems at the exit gate. For example 2 days ago at the Vienna metro there was a 20-30 car backup to get out because someone didn't have enough of a balance on their card and probably didn't realize it. They couldn't back out of the gate area until enough people realized that they had to back up and let him out. It isn't necessary to require that riders have the full amount on their card because you're going to get that money when they recharge their card. They aren't going to throw the card out because they had to pay $5.00 just to get it. If you're going to insist that riders have the full amount on their card to get their car out, then you need to install machines at the gates to allow people to charge their cards right there. If you expect people to pay for something then it is unfair to not have them available or have someone there who can take money. People have to go all the way back to the station just to charge their cards. And if they don't have the card they have to have the correct combination of paper dollars (no coins and no 20's!!) to buy a new one. I think your current (new) policy is very bad.MG
Richard White Hi. We are looking for weather-durable and theft-resistant machines to place near parking exits. At this time, however, we have a lot of signage and station attendants reminding patrons of the need to have enough value on their cards. I agree that the situation is not as convenient as we would like it to be.
Still concerned by the 5A
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W McGee Last week or so, when you and Dana Kauffman were here to chat, he noted that while you all are aware of the crowding issues on the 5A, you won't be able to do anything about it until December. This is troubling, as the number of times, I've ridden the route, it has always been standing room crowded (several times the bus is so full, passengers can't move in beyond the farebox), with luggage everywhere. This is a route that runs mostly down expressway. Standing room crowding on a 45minute to 1 hour bus ride with half of the route running at expressway speed can not be safe. Is there any discussions with DC, Arlington, Fairfax and the airport to get more frequent service fast-tracked on this route. (Plus it can't help the schedule that I-66 traffic is so unpredictable, causing the schedule to be remarkably unreliable).

Also, are there any plans to have buses similar to either MD's B30 to BWI, or a Greyhound like coach on this line to help with the luggage issue.
Richard White The level of service on the 5A is currently under review and a decision on adding service will be made before the end of the year. There are no current plans to modify our current buses, or purchase new style buses, for this service.
Thanks, chatters!
Author Message
Richard White Thanks again for your interest in Metro. As usual, we had many great questions. I hope you are finding this communication tool to be useful and responsive. For our rail riders, please be on the lookout for our notices on weekend trackwork that will be done during several occasions this summer that will result in extensive single tracking. For our bus riders, be on the lookout for the arrival of 250 new CNG buses, which will occur later this summer. Have a great weekend everyone, and for all of the other fathers out there, have a Happy Father's Day!

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