Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Transit

I'm a big fan of the Metro here in DC. It's cheaper than driving and parking in the city, it's clean, usually pretty fast, and an all-around world-class mass transit system. According to the ever-trustworthy Wikipedia, WMATA has the 10th largest system in the world by mileage, and about 564,000 riders per day. But it isn't perfect. Recently, there's been a spate of fatal accidents involving Metrobuses and pedestrians. And there is a lot of infighting going on involving the expansion out to Dulles Airport.

I enjoy riding Metro, and it's incredibly convenient for me - I have a short bus ride to my local station, and the DC office is literally across the street from the Navy Yard station. But the other day, my ride home was a bit of a trial. I left later than usual, so I think I rode home with most of that 564,000 on my train. By the time I had transferred over to the Yellow Line, it was very crowded. But the unusual thing was something was clearly wrong with our train. That is odd in my experience - Metro seems to be pretty good about the mechanical aspect of their rolling stock. But the operator was having trouble stopping at the correct position in the stations, and we seemed to have to stop and 're-boot' after each station before we could get up to speed. We crawled at a walking pace from the Crystal City stop to National Airport. Luckily, that is one of the shortest sections in the whole system, but it was still frustrating. Especially compared to the usual seamless operation.

But I have Mass Transit Karma. It all balanced out this morning, when all my buses and trains showed up as soon as I was at the stops and stations. No crowds, no waiting. AND there was a gentleman sitting across from me on the Yellow Line wearing a kick-ass black velour tracksuit. This guy was traveling in style, and he knew it.

I didn't have much experience riding subways or buses before DC. I had been on the T in Boston a few times. I never rode the Blacksburg Transit at Virginia Tech. So maybe I'd be less of a fan of Metro if I had been on the NYC Subway, which goes everywhere, apparently. I did like the Tokyo subway when I visited a few years ago, but that may be because each station has its own theme song that plays when the train arrives. How's the transit in your town?

2 comments:

Christopher said...

There's a train station two minutes from our building, so I can't complain. During peak hours a train leaves the station every two minutes (and we live in the burbs).

Another bright spot is the fact that the trains are never late. That is, of course, not counting instances when someone chooses to step in front of one that is moving.

The only downside is that many train lines (including ours) stop operations before 1 a.m.

Kelly said...

I enjoyed the DC Metro much better than the NYC subway. The subway wasn't as clean, and it seemed as if there were more rules to follow, the unwritten kind. However, I do have more experience with the DC Metro and I really liked it.

However, I do believe you should be out buying yourself a velour tracksuit, black of course!! How can you live with out one? Seriously now, you saw how good they look!! :) And if you wear it to the bars, all eyes will be one you, can't beat that!

THE MIND IS NOT A VESSEL TO BE FILLED BUT A FIRE TO BE KINDLED