Sunday, January 22, 2017

Still Life with Robin: The Trains Kept A-comin'

DCist: Photo by Alex Edelman
by Peggy Robin

I’m going to do something I’m sure I’ve never done in this column before: I am going to praise the running of the Metro. Yesterday, for the Women’s March, the Metro system experienced its second highest ridership in its long history, more than a million trips taken over 19 hours -- second only to 1.1 million trips taken on the day of the Obama inauguration in 2009 (see: – and the system actually worked reasonably well the whole time. Congratulations and thanks are due to the managers and employees of Metro who opened early, put on extra trains, helped people to board and disembark under difficult conditions, and went the extra distance to help visitors and the confused. I know, because I witnessed examples of all of the above during the four Metro trips I took between 8 AM and 6 PM.

The downtown stations were packed all day long, and trains just kept on coming; even when a completely full train came through, too crowded to take on more passengers, there was never a long wait for the next one. The best thing was that train operators were keeping the doors open long enough to let people try to squeeze in. In the dozens of stops made during my travels on the Metro yesterday, I did not see a single incident of the doors being closed on people actively trying to board.

I know I’ve dwelt on stories of bad metro practices in the past (as in these three examples:;; and After years of complaining about unreliable service, broken escalators, garbled announcements, poor maintenance, poor safety, lack of interest in passenger comfort, and so on and on….it’s feels strange to find myself feeling so positive about the system. But I could get used to this new sensation!

DCist posted some nice photos that show smiling riders, despite the crush: Let’s hope this is the beginning of a whole new relationship between the Metro and its riders. That might make the next four years a little easier on us here in DC.


Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland ParkListserv on Saturdays, and sometimes, like today, on Sundays.

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