Metro Happenings this week….


The other morning I sat on the platform next to a little boy and his father.  The boy's nose was running & dripping nasty yellow stuff which he proceeded to wipe down his arm and across his face – accompanied by big slurping noises.  

Now, I'm the type of person who carries a mini medicine cabinet in my handbag so it stands to reason I would also have 500 spare tissues.  I said (in the most maternal voice I could dredge up) -  "Would you like one of my tissues – I have plenty?"

The father looked up from his newspaper and stared at me as though I'd just asked the boy to expose himself.  After a couple of moments he said:   "No, he would not !!

Boy continues to wipe sloppy disgusting snot everywhere.  

On the other hand  (pun intended)……..
This morning I sat waiting for a train next to a guy around 40.  I watched him struggling mightily to do up the band of his watch.  Reminded of the tissue incident I was reluctant to say anything but after a few more futile attempts on his part I asked   "would you like help doing that up?"  -  "oh God, yes.  Thank you so much".

I laughed as I said: This is why I have one of these elastic stretchy bands.


Then something that gave commuters a good laugh the other afternoon….    There were more people waiting on the platform than were going to fit on the train.  As we surged forward the driver announced "People, you are not all going to fit on this train – there is another train coming.   Look to your right and you will see the headlights of that train".

Mmmmmmmm – the only problem – if the lights were coming from the right they were coming head-on!

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Alerts & Stone Cold Comfort


I get metro alerts delivered to my work email.  This way I know before I leave the office if I'm going to be in for a rough commute home. It also means that everytime anything happens on the two lines I travel on, I get an alert.

This morning I got this one:  
METRO Alerts []     Wed 2/17/2010 9:04 AM
Subject: Metro Green-Yellow Lines alertMETRO Alerts []
(ID 66225) Disruption at Fort Totten in both directions. Unauthorized person on track bed at Fort Totten. Delays in both directions.

All day I've been wondering who that was and what happened to them….


Yesterday on my way home from work the train driver reminded us it was "unlawful" to eat or drink on the trains and that it was "punishable by fine and/or jail".    I wonder how big a meal one would have to consume to warrant a jail sentence.    
Last week, during all the snow madness, Metro posted press releases on their website to announce their operations, closings, failings etc. Then alerts were emailed out with a hyperlink rather than containing any useful information. 
A few times their servers crashed as more people than ever suddenly got interested in looking at the metro pages.    
Responding on,  to complaints that the alert system should have some information and not just a link,  Ron Holzer of WMATA, on Feb 16, 2010 4:58 pm wrote: 

Feb. 12th had the most page views to our web site in our history. As you can see from the list below, we typically get in the neighborhood of 600,000 page views a day. We more than tripled that, which slowed the ability for people to get onto the site. You can even see that on Friday, Feb. 5 that web traffic picked up due to the weather.
Date………Visitors…Page Views

Yes – I was one of those people trying to find out how often my trains were running – but I'm  quite surprised by the  number of page views on a normal day .


These were the seats that were freezing my arse last week.  
The stations that have a platform on the outer side of their tracks have this prison cell style model:

Those stations with a platform in the middle of two tracks has this much fancier model: 

Even with newspaper spread under one's bottom they are both bloody cold!


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Metro Wit

Sometimes my metro train drivers relieve the commuting boredom by making strange or witty announcements…

This morning one of the doors on the 6 car train would not shut and if one door refuses to shut, then the train does not move.  After re-opening and attempting to close the doors half a dozen times (complete with the annoying chime and electronic voice warning).  The driver said in an exasperated tone:  "Come on people,  if you see a door open push it closed".

It reminded me of a couple of other incidences which amused me:

One morning the train infront of mine broke down leaving a full train load of people standing on the platform expecting to squash into my train.  As we crawled along the side of the platform the driver said " That's a lotta people out there folks. Grab your seats now, because there won't be breathing space soon".

Another morning the train stopped in a tunnel and the driver announced that there was a red light signal ahead but that we would be moving momentarily. (Momentarily is like a word of the day to drivers who use it for every delay from 1 minute to fifteen).   After about 5 minutes – which seemed much longer because we were trapped in the tunnel, -  the driver announced that the signal was jammed on red and he had been instructed to get out of the train and repair it!  We were told to remain in our seats and not attempt to use the emergency exits.

At the end of each rail car there is an emergency call button connecting to the driver.   Occasionally the driver will remind us that it is there.  One driver told us to make ourselves familiar with it –    "but don't y'all go jumping up now to test the button because I'm busy driving". 

And, also, every now and then, drivers remind us to be on the lookout for unattended bags and to read the safety evacuation notices posted in the train.  They finish by saying: Be Prepared,  Not Scared

It makes me laugh every time I hear it! 

Two of the stations that I visit twice every work day: 


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