Alerts & Stone Cold Comfort

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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 [MetroAlerts@enews.lists-wmata.com]     Wed 2/17/2010 9:04 AM
Subject: Metro Green-Yellow Lines alertMETRO Alerts [MetroAlerts@enews.lists-wmata.com]
 
(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….

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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.    
 
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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 greatergreaterwashington.org,  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
02/01/10…..70,243…..559,029
02/02/10…..71,530…..557,590
02/03/10…..85,147…..641,731
02/04/10…..78,826…..558,642
02/05/10…..99,926…..751,805
02/06/10…..83,708…..681,323
02/07/10…..181,502…..1,222,549
02/08/10…..255,807…..1,834,107
02/09/10…..186,548…..1,695,591
02/10/10…..146,935…..1,064,230
02/11/10…..239,940…..1,779,510
02/12/10…..266,263…..2,054,035

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 .

 
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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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Taking the 3:10 home…

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Riding the train home, I was sitting on a seat by myself when I was tapped on the shoulder from behind: 

"I just got home from jail…."    at this point I stopped listening as my brain asked me, over & over "did he really say "jail "?

He didn't seem threatening – he was actually not that badly dressed though he did have odd shoes on.  I asked him to repeat what he said and then I still couldn't get past "jail"  – I think he was asking for money.  I was so confused I just shook my head when his mouth stopped moving.

I watched him walk forward in the carriage and noted that he only approached people on their own – he did not discriminate between black or white, male or female.  No-one gave him anything or entered into further conversation.   Perhaps he hoped the word "jail"  would work as an intimidation tactic though, from what I could see, it was not successful.  

Maybe we are so jaded that we assume anyone approaching us on the metro is going to beg so we are preparing the no in our heads before they open their mouths – no matter what they ultimately say.   

I wonder if he really was just released….

Here comes the train:

  There goes the train:

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Obviously ……

`
On my commute home tonight:

Metro driver:   "You know, if y'all spread out along the platform you wouldn't have to stand next to each other on the train!"

A quieter time on the metro  – photos taken in November 2005:   We must have had a day trip because there are 2 different stations represented on the same day.    I think this was the time we were doing "death marches"  on the weekends;  getting up at 5am and walking 8 or 9 miles.    Then my left foot started to wear out!  – we would walk until we got hungry,  stop for breakfast and then catch the metro home. 

Which is the 3rd rail?? 

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