How D.C. Public Transportation Ruined My Day

16 12 2010

This morning was a fine example of why I will never trust D.C.’s public transportation ever again. I have been known to say in the past that I have a “like/hate relationship” with the Metro Rail system but I’m going to have to change that to a “tolerate/despise relationship.” Next time I say something approving of the public transportation in this city, someone please remind me about the time I waited an hour and a half  for a train/bus/taxi. Yes, that time was this morning, and this is my story.

When I got down to the Metro platform, I saw an unusually large amount of people waiting. My first thought was that maybe the train that had just left the station had offloaded. Not a good sign. I head an announcement saying that not only were there delays on the Orange Line, but that there were also delays on the Red Line (my line). At the next stop in the direction I was going, there was a problem with the tracks and trains were single tracking between my station and the next three stops. Great.

So I waited. And waited. Eventually after maybe 20 minutes a few trains in both directions came by. And every one of them was packed full. While a few gutsy people tried to squeeze their way onto the train, I remained on the platform, hopeful that perhaps a less jammed train would come.

Then it seemed that there was another issue with the Metro. After those first few trains had come and gone, there was another major lapse in service. No trains in either direction and people’s patiences were dwindling. I didn’t want to leave the subway system since I already paid, so I decided to wait it out some more. It got to be about an hour of waiting with no sign of a non-packed train at the least. I was going to be so late to work, even though I had already called my boss to let him know about the major issues at hand.

After waiting a few more minutes, I gave up and left the underground system. I ended up paying $2.15 just to wait for an hour going nowhere, and though I thought about asking a Metro employee for my money back, I didn’t pursue it since I figured the Metro could do no good.  I went to the street level. I had two options: take a bus for around the same price as the Metro, or maybe even cheaper, although risk many stops and a long ride. Or I could hail a taxi, hope for a quicker route either to a further Metro station or all the way to work, and while it would be more expensive, it would also be more direct.

Mr. T would not stand for this!

I came to a bus stop. There were already a number of people who had been waiting with no bus in sight. It wasn’t really the bus I needed, but it would at least take me somewhere in the right direction. I walked down the street to a bus terminal where I knew I could find the bus I needed to get me pretty close to my work. Apparently the bus doesn’t really run after the morning rush, and it being after 9AM, I assumed that I had missed that choice. There were a number of other people in the same situation as I, who had been waiting for the Metro and couldn’t find a bus. I walked to a few other bus stops nearby, and with each stop, I found impatient people who had opted out of the Metro Rail debacle, like me. I tried to get a cab, but like everyone else, we were turned down by cabs who were already occupied.

 

There were also plenty of busses not in service.

There was no hope. I was stuck in my neighborhood without any way of getting to work. I don’t own any type of vehicle, not even a bicycle or a skateboard, and with my only means of transportation being my feet, the furthest I could feasibly get in a timely manner, would be to the next Metro stop which was the stop with the problems. I debated not even going in to work. I do have paid vacation time to use and thought about that idea, but today was a holiday party for my office, including a free meal, and plus I didn’t want to be a quitter.

Since there was no hope with street transportation, and I had been waiting in the cold for about a half hour, I decided to try my luck with the Metro Rail once more. Maybe all the time I had spent outside was enough for the Metro to get it’s act “together.” A train was coming in my direction and I decided to take the risk and bolt for it. When I got down to the platform, it was almost empty, and very few people were there. The train was almost empty as I walked on board.

That should be the end to my story. The rest should be that the train took me to work in a timely fashion. But who am I kidding? It’s still the faulty Metro system. The ride was fairly smooth, however, why on earth did the train still need to be held at a station or two for a few minutes?!?! Ugh. It’s like the Metro can never do anything right! You fail, Metro Rail. You fail, Metro Busses. You fail, D.C. public transportation.  Thanks for nothing.

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