Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Going Green (line)

A combination of NBC imploring us to go Green and my wife's refusal to get a new car despite her car being as dead as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the All-Star break caused me to take the Metro to work today. Taking the Metro from Alexandria to Silver Spring is not ideal for me due to the high cost and the hassel of going into and out of town. The cost of taking the Metro is very expensive for commuters (and I am not even considering the increase in fares which will take effect in January). Why is this so? Metro needs to re-focus its business model. Who are the two largest users of the Metro? Commuters and tourists. Metro management continues to raise fares for people coming from suburban areas but only minimally increases the fares for people staying in DC. This seems backwards. A tourist who comes in town relies on the Metro to get from Smithsonian to the Capitol to National Airport. Why not increase fares for these users? The only option for these people are taxicabs. Instead of charging tourists $1.50 for staying in DC, Metro should increase this fare to $2.00. This rate would be in line with rates in New York City and several other metropolitan areas. However, Metro instead asks commuters to bear the brunt of the Metro budget deficit. Many commuters have an option as to how they will get to work: their vehicles. Public transportation is critical to keeping cars off of the road. Commuters don't NEED Metro's services but prefer staying out of bumper-to-bumper traffic on the roads. People should be encouraged to take public transportation by providing them with an efficient, low-cost alternative. Metro is not fulfilling this need.
While kvetching about Metro management I feel I need to complain about why there are always 2 or 3 elevators and escalators out of service? I know it is because Metro chooses the lowest bidder to complete the work. When the elevator contract is re-bid, there should be a clause that states that payment to the maintenance company is inversely related to the number of outages. The more escalators out of service, the less Metro pays the company to keep them maintained. Let these things be fixed once and for all. It's not a rocket ship, its a belt that just goes round and round.

Speaking of transportation issues, I saw a tow truck abandoned on the side of the highway with a flat tire. I thought it was kind of ironic. Who does that guy call?

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